Funding received for affordable and supported housing at former Poli restaurant site in Squirrel Hill
On July 14, 2016, Jewish Residential Services (JRS) and nonprofit real estate developer ACTION-Housing, Inc., received notification that ACTION-Housing was awarded affordable housing tax credit financing by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. The project will receive tax credits of $1,117,171 for each of ten years. This funding will pave the way for construction of the Seymoure and Corinne Krause Commons, a seven- story, multi-purpose building at the one-time site of Poli restaurant located near Murray and Forward Avenues in Squirrel Hill. The total cost of the project is estimated at $14-$16 million dollars.
The first floor of the building will become the new home of the Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse, a psychiatric rehabilitation program operated by JRS where people whose lives have been disrupted by mental illness come together to discover their strengths and abilities, build self-confidence, and gain valuable social and vocational skills that prepare them for more productive, rewarding, and meaningful lives.
The second floor will house the administrative and Supportive Living Program offices of JRS. The JRS residential program provides training, community inclusion opportunities and ongoing assistance to people who need support in their everyday lives because of psychiatric or intellectual disabilities.
The upper five floors will include 33 apartment units, half of which will be designated specifically for people living with disabilities.
Read the full JRS Press Release
JRS is in the midst of a highly successful capital/endowment campaign. More than $3 million dollars has been raised to date specifically earmarked to cover a substantial portion of the funding required for the first two floors of the building. The Tax-Credit award is earmarked for the residential part of the structure. ACTION-Housing and JRS have already partnered on two well-regarded and effective residential facilities, Jason Kramer Hall and Charles Morris Hall, both located in the heart of Squirrel Hill. The project at the Poli site will be their largest and most ambitious collaboration.
“This is an exciting moment for JRS and the population we serve,” remarked Harold Love, new Executive Director of JRS. “This project has been many years in the making.” E.J. Strassburger, who chairs the ongoing Capital Campaign and has been involved with the project for more than four years, points out “This venture should benefit Squirrel Hill in two important ways. First, increasing diversity by embracing rather than marginalizing people with disabilities enriches not only their lives but also the lives of everyone in the community. And, not insignificantly, this project also promises to jump-start redevelopment of the long-time blighted entrance to Squirrel Hill.”
Recently retired JRS Executive Director, Deborah Friedman remarked, “JRS and ACTION-Housing have worked diligently over the past several years to solicit community input and garner community support for this project. State Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, Mayor Bill Peduto, and State Representative Dan Frankel worked to secure the State funding. In addition, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, along with the Urban Redevelopment Authority and City Council Members Corey O’Connor and Dan Gilman contributed to the success of this project.
Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh collaborated with JRS and ACTION-Housing to garner the necessary support to secure State funding. Jeff Finkelstein, President and CEO of Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, said, “Promoting the JRS project has been one of Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s most important efforts in our government relations this past year. The building will bring welcome long-term relief for Pittsburgh residents with serious health needs as well as helping to revitalize part of the Squirrel Hill neighborhood.”
The planning and construction of this project is projected to take about two years.
Jewish Residential Services is a non-profit social services agency that supports individuals with psychiatric or intellectual disabilities, helping them to live, learn, work and socialize as valued members of the community. Established in 1993, JRS has a variety of programs—residential, educational, rehabilitative and social—all based upon Jewish values, culture and practices, but welcoming to people of all religions and backgrounds. For more information, visit www.jrspgh.org.
ACTION-Housing, Inc. is a non-profit social service agency that empowers people to build more secure and self-sufficient lives through the provision of decent, affordable housing, essential supportive services, asset building programs, and educational and employment opportunities. Since 1985, ACTION-Housing has developed or assisted in the development of over 4,500 units of housing, both single family and multifamily, for the elderly, people with disabilities, the homeless, veterans, young people who have aged out of foster care and families and individuals with low incomes. For more information, visit www.actionhousing.
Featured Photo – Credit: Post-Gazette/ Darrel Sapp