Joint Statement Regarding Holy Family Site

June 20, 2018

Joint Statement Regarding Holy Family Site

Lawrenceville United and Lawrenceville Corporation are pleased that 44th and Summit Development LLC has voluntarily withdrawn the demolition permit application for the Holy Family church, filed on May 29, 2018. Completed in 1940 to serve the growing Polish immigrant population in the Lawrenceville area, the church is a contributing building to Lawrenceville’s current nomination to the National Registry of Historic Places and one of the neighborhood’s most iconic buildings.

Lawrenceville United’s (LU) mission is to improve and protect the quality of life for all Lawrenceville residents. Lawrenceville Corporation (LC) serves as the catalyst and conduit for responsible growth and reinvestment in the Lawrenceville community. Together, LU and LC steward development in the neighborhood, ensuring that individual projects comport with neighborhood plans and values, and contribute to the authenticity of the neighborhood. As a part of this effort, our organizations created a community process that provides a forum where new development projects can be discussed, vetted, and measured against community plans and priorities.

Several years ago, LU and LC worked with the property owners on a robust community process for their proposed redevelopment of the former Holy Family Church and School for residential housing. This community process included large community meetings as well as smaller focus-group sessions with residents from different impact areas. Hundreds of residents participated in the process. In response to articulated concerns, the owners revised their plans to reduce the overall unit count while increasing the parking. Notably, the adaptive re-use of the historic church structure was central to the plans. LU and LC publicly supported these revised plans. Documents from this community process are available on LU’s website at www.LUnited.org.

Our organizations were hit unexpectedly with the recent demolition permit application without advance notice, and we viewed the proposed demolition as a serious deviation from the agreements and commitments made by the property owner. In response, the LC and LU co-submitted a nomination to the City’s Historic Review Commission for historic listing of the Holy Family Church.  Prepared by Preservation Pittsburgh with support from the Lawrenceville Historic Society, the nomination ensures that—for the near term—any and all proposed exterior alterations of the church must be reviewed and approved by the Historic Review Commission before they take place.

44th and Summit Development LLC withdrew their demolition application on Friday, June 16th and released a statement indicating that they are committed to working with the community to formulate a new path forward. LU and LC appreciate this orientation and remain fully supportive of responsible redevelopment on the property that aligns with community priorities.  The continued dilapidation of a vacant and blighted 1.5-acre site in the heart of Central Lawrenceville is not beneficial to neighbors or the community at-large. We look forward to working in good faith and in earnest with 44th and Summit Development and other partners on a community-supported plan for redevelopment of the site that includes the preservation of the sanctuary.

We thank Mayor William Peduto, Councilwoman Deb Gross, Preservation Pittsburgh, Lawrenceville Historical Society, and Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation for their support in preserving this historic church.

Update on Burglary Uptick

Lawrenceville has seen a recent uptick in burglaries of both residences and businesses from April 2018 to present, particularly concentrated in Lower Lawrenceville and along Butler Street.

 

Police seeking help identifying suspects

Camera footage of suspects has been collected (see below) and residents are encouraged to call 911 with any information on the identity of these suspects, or if residents see these individuals.

Photo 1: Suspect from Industry burglary, picture shared by Zone 2 Police.

 

Video 1: Camera footage of individual seen taking (and later returning) item from private property on 4/29/2017, the same night as a number of burglaries across Lower Lawrenceville.

 

Video 2: Camera footage of individual appearing to “case” homes in Lawrencville on 5/23/2018, the same night that various burglaries occurred on this block and across Lower Lawrenceville.

 

Preventive Measures

Zone 2 Police encourage all residents to review this document on preventive measures to avoid burglaries and prevent being an “easy target.”

 

Have a camera? Add your location to our database.

LU shares this database with Zone 2 Police so that they can reach out if seeking footage for a nearby incident. You can voluntarily add your location through this Google Form, calling us at 412-802-7220, or emailing us at info@LUnited.org.

 

Putting these burglaries in context

While these burglaries are cause for concern and should be taken seriously, crime in Lawrenceville has been on a steep downward trend for years. For instance: between 2010 and 2017, all Part 1 crimes decreased by 41% and burglaries decreased by 68% in Lawrenceville; between 2016 and 2017, Lawrenceville saw a 16% decrease in Part 1 violent crimes, a 7% decrease in Part 1 property crimes, and an 8% decrease in Part 2 crimes; with a total crime rate of 55 per 1,000 residents, Lawrenceville is the safest neighborhood in Zone 2 Police and has a significantly lower rate of total crime per 1,000 residents than the City of Pittsburgh overall.

 

Final Report from Just Collaboration on Diversity & Inclusion Work

In the first half of 2018, Lawrenceville United contracted with Just Collaboration to work with our organization on goals related to our Diversity & Inclusion and Equity organizational values. As part of this process, Just Collaboration offered multiple trainings to the staff and Board of Lawrenceville United, and also did an external survey of Lawrenceville residents to understand how welcoming and inclusive the neighborhood is. Thank you to all who participated in this survey.

As the last part of her work with Lawrenceville United, Mary C. Parker of Just Collaboration presented a final report on the results of the contract and the survey to Lawrenceville United members at the Spring 2018 membership meeting. To view this report, please click HERE.

Interested in being part of LU’s ongoing efforts around diversity, inclusion, and equity? Join our Committee or give us feedback by emailing info@LUnited.org or calling us at 412-802-7220.

Inclusionary Zoning Explained

As Lawrenceville’s housing market has exploded, one of Lawrenceville United’s top priorities for the neighborhood is preserving affordable housing. One tool LU has advocated for is Inclusionary Zoning (IZ). For more information on Inclusionary Zoning, please see the brief on IZ below. To download as a printable document, please click here.

 

Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) Explained

 

What is Inclusionary Zoning? The simplest explanation for inclusionary zoning programs is that they either incentivize or mandate developers to include affordable units as part of new housing developments of a certain size. For instance, if a developer were to build a housing project of 250 units, under IZ the developer might be required to sell or rent 15% of those units (37 units) to lower-income residents.

  • 886 jurisdictions have inclusionary housing programs across the U.S., reporting over 170,000 units created.
  • IZ programs are highly customizable to fit the particular needs of different communities. Some programs are required, some are voluntary. Some focus on creating low-income housing, others focus on more middle-income housing. Other key considerations include what unit size IZ becomes triggered, what percentage of affordable units are required, the duration of affordability, whether it’s applied to rental housing or for sale, and how to offset the cost of creating affordable units to developers so that new housing developments are still feasible.

 

What are the benefits? Inclusionary zoning is a proven tool for creating new affordable housing at a time when many communities desperately need it and public funding for housing has been declining for decades. By leveraging the private market, IZ is one of the few ways to create new housing for low-income families without significant public subsidy. It can also help prevent or mitigate gentrification and displacement when housing prices and land values increase in a community. Studies have also shown that it is an effective tool for locating affordable housing in higher-income neighborhoods and areas with better performing schools.

  • In Montgomery County, MD and Southern CA, half of all affordable housing production is created by IZ.

 

Why is it needed? In Lawrenceville, over 600 housing units have been created in the past couple years, yet almost none of them have been for the working class families that have been the roots of Lawrenceville for generations. At the same time, the appreciation of housing costs has led to displacement of low-income families. With large parcels still developable, IZ has the potential to harness development in the neighborhood to ensure that housing options are available for all income levels and so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of a neighborhood that residents have worked to make safer and less blighted, with improving schools and better access to transportation and local jobs.

  • Over half of Lawrenceville’s Housing Choice Voucher units (120 low-income families) were lost between 2011 and 2016.
  • An IZ policy would have created 84 new units of affordable housing with Lawrenceville’s recent development.

 

What’s being done about IZ locally? In May 2016, the Affordable Housing Task Force identified IZ as one of its key recommendations to address the gap of over 17,000 affordable units in Pittsburgh. Mayor Peduto issued an Executive Order in February 2017 to create an Exploratory Committee that would further assess the feasibility and structure of an IZ program. Specific recommendations were released in November 2017 to City Council and the Mayor, and suggested mandatory inclusion of 10% affordable units city-wide in projects over 20 unit, with a by-right tax abatement offered. Councilwoman Gross sponsored amendments to the zoning text for Urban Industrial in December 2017 that requires 30% affordability in projects over 20 units. LU is currently about to launch a community process in Lawrenceville to pilot IZ that could serve as a model for other neighborhoods or a city-wide policy.

 

 

Additional Resources

2018 Board Elections

Want to make a difference in your neighborhood? Consider running for an open at-large position on Lawrenceville United’s Board of Directors!

 

What does the Board do?

The Board governs the organization and is ultimately responsible for LU’s conduct. The Board is responsible for setting LU’s goals in pursuit of its mission to improve and protect quality of life for all Lawrenceville residents, overseeing the Executive Director, monitoring the financial health of the organization, and making key decisions on matters affecting the community. To learn more and get to know our existing Board, please join us at the Board Meet & Greet on Thursday, April 26th from 6-8 p.m. at Hambone’s.

 

What’s the commitment like?

Board members are expected to serve at least one full term (2 years), attend monthly Board meetings, participate in at least one Board Committee (which usually meet once per month), participate in the annual Board training, and make a personally meaningful donation to the organization.

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

Our by-laws state that you must have be a Lawrenceville resident and be an LU member in good standing for at least 6 months in order to run for the Board. To run, please fill out this application form and plan to attend the spring membership meeting on the evening of June 5th.

 

Timeline

  • 4/20 – Board application released
  • 4/26 – Board Meet & Greet, 6-8 p.m. at Hambone’s
  • 5/10 – Deadline to submit Board application
  • 5/22 – Board slate is sent to membership
  • 6/5 – Spring membership meeting
  • 6/18 – Deadline for LU membership to vote
  • 6/22 – New Board orientation & dinner

Lawrenceville United is committed to building a more diverse and inclusive Board of Directors and organization, and we especially encourage residents from underrepresented populations to apply: people of color, renters, parents of young children, immigrants, women, older adults, people with disabilities, and people with low income.

Survey to understand how welcoming and inclusive Lawrenceville is

Lawrenceville United has recently contracted with Just Collaboration to help us develop goals and hold us accountable to our values of diversity, inclusion, and equity. Please read our purpose statement for why we’re doing this work here. As the first part of this multi-year effort, we’re engaging our membership and the larger Lawrenceville community through a survey to understand how welcoming and inclusive the neighborhood is. If you are a resident, we invite you to complete the brief survey below about your experiences living in Lawrenceville by April 12, 2018. You can also follow a link here. Paper copies of the survey will also be available at our office (inside Goodwill of Southwestern PA’s Workforce Development Center at 118 52nd Street), at Block Watches in March, and at the following locations: 52nd Street Market, Lawrenceville Family Care Connection, Espresso a Mano, Stephen Foster Community Center, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Lawrenceville branch).

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LU Statement on Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

Lawrenceville United has recently contracted with Just Collaboration to help us develop goals and hold us accountable to our values of diversity, inclusion, and equity. As the first part of this multi-year effort, we are engaging our membership and the larger Lawrenceville community and collecting feedback through a survey. Please read our purpose statement for why we’re doing this work below:

 

As an inclusive, non-profit organization whose mission is to improve and protect quality of life for all Lawrenceville residents, Lawrenceville United must face the many ways that our city, our community, and our organization have failed to build opportunities for all.

 

We acknowledge that while Lawrenceville receives accolades as one of the “coolest neighborhoods in America” and a “poster child for urban renewal,” many residents have not benefited from reinvestment in Lawrenceville. Many residents have been displaced, disproportionately affecting residents of color. Poverty continues to affect our neighborhood residents and we must address these disparities if we are to make our community a more equitable place.

 

 We acknowledge the history of institutional racism within our country and our community, and its continued existence today.

 

We recognize that Lawrenceville has been, and continues to be, a neighborhood of residents with diverse cultural, economic, and racial backgrounds that are integral to our community and have contributed much to its well-being, often without proper recognition and attention.

 

We face the fact that our organization has not been adequately representative or inclusive of this diversity in its Board, staff, and membership, especially residents of color. We further acknowledge that historically Lawrenceville United has perpetuated and failed to address racial disparities and discrimination.

 

Consistent with our newly adopted organizational values, we commit to working intentionally to eliminate these disparities and to actively build a more inclusive organization and neighborhood, where all residents are welcome, valued, and have access to opportunity. We commit to beginning this work with a specific focus on racial inequity, for the reasons described above; we recognize that there are many different forms of discrimination that affect Lawrenceville residents and we approach this work as part of our larger commitment to remove barriers to opportunity in all their many forms. Over the next two years we are undertaking a multi-year initiative to build a more diverse and inclusive organization. We ask that you join us in this work, support us in these efforts, and continue to hold us accountable.

Update on Lawrenceville Nomination to the National Registry of Historic Places

Representatives from Michael Baker International, the City of Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office attended the 10th Ward Block Watch on 2/13/2018 to provide an update on efforts to nominate Lawrenceville to the National Registry of Historic Places through the National Park Service. For more information, please see the presentation below. Presentations will also be provided at the 9th Ward Block Watch on 2/20/2018 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Lyceum, and at the 6th Ward Block Watch on 2/26/2018 at 7 p.m. at St. Augustine’s Church, Lower Room.

Notes from 12/07/2017 Community Meeting on Washington VoTech Building

Lawrenceville United facilitated a community meeting on Thursday 12/7/2017 with Josh Aderholt of Century Equities to provide an update on construction at the former Washington VoTech. Please see below for meeting notes and an updated site plan/renderings:

This community meeting was focused on construction and its potential impacts on the residential community. In 2015, a community process was held about this project in advance of their zoning process. More information on this process is available at www.lunited.org/programs/community-planning-development/development-in-lawrenceville or below:

 

Now hiring: Community Organizer for PEP Rally

Announcement of Open Position

Community Organizer

 

Lawrenceville United is seeking a highly passionate, productive, strategic individual to join our team of dedicated community advocates and professionals to staff the PEP Rally program, which works with families and community partners to strengthen and support Lawrenceville’s neighborhood public schools.

 

About Lawrenceville United

Lawrenceville United (LU) is an inclusive, resident-driven community-based non-profit organization that works to improve and protect the quality of life of all Lawrenceville residents and stakeholders. LU envisions a safe, clean, green, healthy and diverse community where residents work together to shape the neighborhood’s future, while honoring Lawrenceville’s past. For more information on LU, please visit www.LUnited.org.

Summary of Position

The community organizer position is responsible for leading all aspects of the PEP Rally program, which began in 2013 as a pilot program and has since grown to be a key program of Lawrenceville United, in collaboration with school leaders and other community partners. PEP Rally aims to support and strengthen target neighborhood public schools by engaging parents as agents of positive change within the schools and community, and by facilitating partnerships to fuel community-supported initiatives that address student, school, family, and community needs. Goals of the program include:

  1. Build meaningful parent engagement at target schools.
  2. Create conditions within schools and the community to retain and attract families by fostering community-supported initiatives.
  3. Educate families on the school choices and resources available, guiding parents through the navigation process, and building collective trust in the neighborhood schools.
  4. Develop leadership of families to share in decision making and affect positive change in Pittsburgh Public Schools and in the community.

This position requires a learning mindset, outstanding relationship-building abilities, and a strong generalist skill set. The ideal candidate has high energy, time management skills, patience, listening skills, and experience working with diverse communities and managing partnerships. To achieve program outcomes, the community organizer works closely with LU staff, school staff, community organizations and partners, and families.

 

Reporting Relationship

The community organizer reports to and is evaluated by the Executive Director of Lawrenceville United.

 

Essential Functions

Community Organizing:

  • Building and managing an engaged base of parent and community stakeholders and  members by building relationships with individuals in the community, engaging and recruiting parents and community members to serve as leaders, and to participate in events, projects, and campaigns.
  • Initiating and leading project: strategic thinking and planning, issue identification, coalition building, building mobilization plan with community contacts and leaders, mobilizing parents and community members, identifying recommendations for moving forward

 

Community Engagement:

  • Delivering information to the community that is accurate, grounded in data, and easy to understand
  • Being familiar and able to discuss current community and educational issues
  • Recruiting community members to participate in projects in meaningful ways
  • Facilitating conversations with, and presenting to, community groups and families
  • Developing and maintaining community relationships and partnerships to achieve outcomes
  • Engaging with school staff and administrators to build meaningful engagement with the community and supporting school initiatives

 

Administrative:

  • Completing monthly reports and timesheets
  • Updating contacts and records regularly in LU database
  • Participating in the development and execution of other complimentary community programs
  • Managing budgets
  • Reporting on outcomes and completing grant updates
  • Other duties as required to support LU’s mission

 

Supervisory:

  • Managing and coaching three part-time parents to lead campaign focused on improving school climate and educational equity
  • Program management of specific projects (e.g. after school and community programs)
  • Overseeing interns and volunteers

 

Qualifications

  • A bachelor’s degree or at least three years of relevant experience
  • Track record of leadership
  • Experience working with diverse populations and underserved groups
  • A passion for educational equity and social justice
  • Successful experience working with groups through processes such as facilitation and consensus building
  • A comfort level with being in the spotlight, but not having the spotlight be about them; rather it being about the larger education issues and relevant concerns
  • A respect for and comfort level with rigorous and healthy debate about issues
  • A desire to continually learn, and an ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to work flexible schedule

 

Skills

  • Demonstrated organizational skills with project management
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to build relationships with diverse populations
  • Analysis and synthesis skills, including the ability to collect information, determine key objectives, and act strategically and decisively
  • Excellent communication skills, including verbal, written and public speaking
  • Coalition building skills, including the ability to motivate, negotiate, and persuade stakeholders into a course of action
  • Demonstrated skills in community organizing such as identifying actionable issues within a larger problem, building the leadership of others, mobilizing groups of people and choosing when to follow
  • Experience working with (or ability to learn) Microsoft Office suite, social media, SalesForce, Google Drive.
  • Foreign language skills and knowledge of Pittsburgh educational landscape preferred

 

A starting salary of $40,000-45,000 (commensurate with experience) and full benefits package will be provided. LU is an equal opportunity employer, committed to hiring and supporting a diverse workforce. Qualified individuals who bring diverse perspectives and represent marginalized communities are especially encouraged to apply.

 

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to Dave Breingan at HR@LUnited.org by December 29, 2017. Please use your cover letter to describe what aspects of the job interest you most.