Community Meeting for Renters

Are you facing challenges making rent due to COVID-19? Need support to stay in your home? Come learn about local resources that can help!
Speakers will discuss applying for the PA CARES rent relief program, current status of the eviction moratorium, and accessing emergency services.

Three ways to join:
Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/99886205261
Phone: 312-626-6799 Meeting ID: 998 8620 5261
or Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/LawrencevilleUnited/

To RSVP or with questions please email info@lunited.org or call 412-802-7220.

This is the first of three virtual workshops focused on housing issues in Lawrenceville and beyond. The second meeting will focus on resources for homeowners and the third will focus on resources for landlords to preserve and expand affordable housing stock.

 

Fall 2020 LU Membership Meeting

Join us for LU’s fall membership meeting on Wednesday, October 7th, at 6:30 p.m. There are three ways to participate (no RSVP or password necessary!):

We’ll share some questions (and invite your own!) on how we can plan together to address the longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the meeting we’ll be breaking out into smaller discussion groups based on your main topics of interest, which could include things like food access, transportation, housing, small business support, development, equity, care for our elder wisdom keepers, etc. We invite your ideas! Please send us your suggestions for breakout room discussion topics to info@lunited.org!

We will also be discussing how we as Lawrenceville residents and LU members can most effectively participate in Pittsburgh’s city-wide planning process, now being carried out through online processes and platforms such as EngagePGH – we want to make sure our neighborhood’s voice is heard.

Please let us know if you need any accommodations to help make participating easier by contacting us at 412-802-7220 or info@lunited.org!

R1A Zoning Text Amendments go to City Council

In March, Mayor Peduto introduced zoning text amendments with a goal of “improving pedestrian safety, enhancing neighborhood walkability, and promoting non-vehicular mobility.” Under this proposed legislation, minimum parking requirements would be reduced from 1 to 0 in R1A (residential, single-family attached AKA rowhouse) neighborhoods like Lawrenceville. Maximum parking requirements would remain the same (4). For more information, check out this City Paper article from Ryan Deto.

Planning Commission hearing was held on 6/30/2020 on this proposed legislation. Read LU’s submitted testimony HERE. The Planning Commission recommended that Council pass the zoning text amendments and also pursue fact finding around stronger measures to limit curb cuts across the City.

The legislation then proceeded to City Council, where another public hearing was held on 9/30/2020 at 2 p.m. LU joined with 11 other community organizations in issuing a joint letter calling for City Council to immediately amend the legislation to include the curb cut design standards for the RIV (riverfront zoning) in R1A (single-family attached residential zoning, i.e. row house neighborhoods).

For any input or to get involved, please contact LU at 412-802-7220 or info@LUnited.org.

2020 Back 2 School Bash

You’re invited to our annual Back 2 School Bash! This free #sociallydistant supply giveaway will be held on August 29th 2020 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Goodwill of SWPA (118 52nd Street Pgh PA 15201) located in #Lawrenceville. Our team of staff and volunteers will be distributing 10lb produces boxes from 412 Food Rescue and book bags filled with school supplies, craft kits, and essential items.
Our Back 2 School Bash will happen at the Goodwill of SWPA parking lot, closest to the flagpole. All attendees must wear masks to the event. The Back 2 School Bash will distribute supplies in a drive-thru manner. Attendees arriving in vehicles are instructed to enter the Goodwill Parking lot and drive to the flagpole to receive supplies. The Back 2 School Bash team will load attendees trunk or back seat with items. The event can accommodate “walk-ups” through a socially distanced exchange. All “walk-up” attendees must be prepared to carry 15-20lbs of items.
This FREE family event is supported by Enterprise, Bloomfield Garfield Corporation, Reading is Fundametal, ASSEMBLE, Local 412, and BOOM Concepts. 100 backpacks and 100 produce boxes will be distributed during the event.

 

Neighbors in Need Crisis Fund

 

With support from the Pittsburgh Foundation, Lawrenceville United and Lawrenceville Corporation are offering emergency grants up to $500 to Lawrenceville residents and small businesses to meet urgent, essential needs.

 

RESIDENT APPLICATION

 

SMALL BUSINESS APPLICATION

 

Any questions, please contact info@LUnited.org or 412-802-7220 for residents, and 412-621-1616 for businesses.

If you’d like to support the fund, you can make a donation. Make sure to email info@LUnited.org to let us know you want your donation to go to the Neighbors in Need fund.

 

Update: off-street parking requirements for rowhouse neighborhoods

In March, Mayor Peduto introduced zoning text amendments with a goal of “improving pedestrian safety, enhancing neighborhood walkability, and promoting non-vehicular mobility.” Under this proposed legislation, minimum parking requirements would be reduced from 1 to 0 in R1A (residential, single-family attached AKA rowhouse) neighborhoods like Lawrenceville. Maximum parking requirements would remain the same (4). For more information, check out this City Paper article from Ryan Deto.

A Planning Commission hearing was held on 6/30/2020 on this proposed legislation. LU, along with Lawrenceville Corporation and members of Lawrenceville Stakeholders, all provided testimony in support of the goals of the legislation and encouraging the City of Pittsburgh to go further by providing additional tools to communities to restrict integral garages and curb cuts on primary streets. As LU has heard repeatedly through the Lawrenceville Community Process, the continued creation of curb cuts, driveways, and front-facing off-street parking has a number of detrimental impacts to the neighborhood: removing precious public on-street parking for a single user, reducing the walkability and accessibility of our sidewalks, driving up housing prices, permanently preventing the ability to plant street trees, and demoting neighborly interaction at the street level. For all these reasons, LU is encouraging the City of Pittsburgh to restrict off-street parking for single-family homes to be accommodated from rear alleyways and not primary streets — or else make front-facing off-street parking require a variance or special exception at the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Read LU’s submitted testimony HERE.

After the hearing, the Planning Commission passed two motions: one motion recommended the proposed zoning text amendments in 2020-0198, and the second motion recommended that City Planning conduct exploratory research on additional legislation to further reduce the preponderance of curb cuts across the City.

The legislation will now move forward to City Council, where another public hearing will be scheduled. LU will keep the community informed as this gets scheduled!

For any input or to get involved, please contact LU at 412-802-7220 or info@LUnited.org.

Picture shows integral garages at corner of 52nd and Keystone Streets in Upper Lawrenceville
Photo credit: Ryan Deto, City Paper

 

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program voucher applications open!

2020 Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

 

The annual Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) is available to eligible residents of Allegheny County. Eligible individuals may receive one set of checks worth $24 to be spent at participating farmers markets.

 

The 2020 Senior Farmers Market Program will look different this year due to COVID-19. The distribution of checks will not occur at senior centers. Instead, checks will be distributed by mail to eligible Allegheny County residents that complete an application. Applications may be downloaded from the website: https://www.alleghenycounty.us/Human-Services/Programs-Services/Basic-Needs/Senior-Farmers-Market-Nutrition-Program.aspx. Applications may also be requested by emailing AAA-SFMNP@alleghenycounty.us or by calling (412) 350-4219. Only completed applications received by September 24, 2020 will be processed.

 

Completed applications may be emailed to:  AAA-SFMNP@alleghenycounty.us

 

Mail completed paper applications to:         Area Agency on Aging

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

2100 Wharton Street, 2nd Floor

Pittsburgh, PA 15203

 

Check distribution begins on Tuesday, June 16th. Checks are distributed on a first come, first served basis, no exceptions.

 

The checks may be used through November 30th to purchase produce that is grown in Pennsylvania or purchased directly from a Pennsylvania farmer. Examples of Pennsylvania produce are apples, beans, berries, carrots, grapes, melons, spinach and tomatoes. Consumers must spend the entire $6.00 check; change will not be given. Lost or stolen checks will not be replaced.

 

Eligibility:

  • Allegheny County resident
  • 60 years of age or older (by December 31, 2020)
  • Meet the income guidelines (self-reported):
    • One-person household: At or below $23,606
    • Two-person household: At or below $31,894*

*Married couples may each receive one set of checks

  • Older adults living in a residential facility that provides meals are not eligible to receive checks

 

CLICK HERE FOR THE APPLICATION

2020 Board Elections + Spring Membership Meeting

 

Please join us for our annual Spring Membership Meeting & Board Elections on Thursday, June 11th at 6 p.m. The agenda will include:

  1. Board Elections: Each of the 14 candidates for the Board will share a few words about who they are and why they want to be on the Board.
  2. Open Q&A/comments: LU staff will respond to any questions, comments, and input from the community.
  3. Membership mixer: People participating by Zoom or by phone will break out into smaller groups to get to know each other and enjoy some neighborly company. BYOB, if you so choose!

 

More information about the meeting:

  • How to participate by Zoom: Due to COVID-19, we will continue to host our meetings virtually until further notice. We encourage you to participate by Zoom via computer or phone, as that will allow us the most amount of two-way dialogue. All LU active members will receive an invitation with instructions on how to participate by computer and how to call in by phone.
  • How to become a member, or renew your membership: If you need to renew your membership, or have never been a member of LU, you can renew/become a member online here, do it over the phone by calling 412-802-7220, or request to have a membership application mailed to you. Given COVID-19 and the economic uncertainty of so many, we are waiving membership fees this year for anyone who needs it. Any questions, please let us know.
  • How to participate by Facebook: We’ll also broadcast the meeting via Facebook Live, which you can access on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LawrencevilleUnited/). Please note that if you join by Facebook, you’ll only be able to use the comments box to participate, and we do plan on having some break-out groups later, so you won’t be able to participate in that portion.
  • How to view later if you’re unavailable: We’ll record the first two portions of the agenda and share them on our website and e-newsletter for folks who missed the meeting. UPDATE: View the Zoom recording here, or the Facebook Live video here.
  • How to vote in the Board elections: If your membership is current, you can vote for candidates for the Board of Directors by: (1) returning a ballot by mail to 118 52nd Street, Suite 2026, Pittsburgh, PA 15201; or (2) voting online via THIS FORM. The deadline to vote is Wednesday, June 17th. No votes received after June 17th will be accepted.

 

Slate of Candidates for LU Board of Directors Click on any candidate’s name to review their bio. Asterisks*** next to the name signify that this candidate is a current Board member running for re-election. Please note that two candidates on the paper ballot have asked to be removed from the ballot: Jen Bohland-Anhalt and Heather Mallak.

 

FAQs:

  • What is the Board? The Board of Directors is the governing body of LU. These volunteers set the strategic direction of the organization, evaluate the performance of the Executive Director, and make decisions about key positions.
  • How is the Board elected? LU’s Board of Directors are elected through a democratic process. Each year, all eligible candidates are put on a slate and elected by our membership.
  • Who is eligible to be an LU member? Anyone who resides in Lawrenceville, or has resided in Lawrenceville for more than 365 days in the last 15 years.
  • What Board positions are available: There are two kinds of Board positions: by-ward seats (which are based on each neighborhood to ensure geographic diversity of the Board) and at-large seats (which are open to any eligible member). Each Board member serves a 2-year term and elections are staggered, so roughly half of our Board seats are up for election each year. Nine (9) at-large seats are up for election in 2020. Additionally, there are currently two (2) vacancies in the by-ward seats: one for the 6th Ward (Lower Lawrenceville) and one for the 10th Ward (Upper Lawrenceville). There are 14 candidates (including 6 current Board members running for re-election) in the current slate.

 

Joint Statement from LU and LC

Lawrenceville United and Lawrenceville Corporation stand in solidarity with protests calling for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others, and demanding change to the continued realities of structural racism, oppression, and violence against Black Americans across  our nation and in our backyard. 

 

Right here in Lawrenceville, we see these disparities reflected in our neighborhood’s legacy as a redlined neighborhood and through ongoing displacement that disproportionately affects our Black neighbors. We see racial disparities in our public schools, where the large opportunity gap results in an achievement gap that persists at over 30 points, and where Black girls are referred to police more often than 99% of similar cities. We see it in our criminal justice system, where nearly 84% of youth who are arrested are Black, despite only accounting for 25% of the City’s population.  

 

Our local economy is riddled with these same racial disparities. While Black men in Pittsburgh attain higher levels of education than those in 60% of comparable cities, the concentration of Black men in lower paying jobs is higher in Pittsburgh than 99% of other cities. Given the gap between White and Black employment rates, Pittsburgh’s low Black employment is not due to the local economy, but the failure and refusal of local employers to hire Black workers seeking jobs. The Pittsburgh Metro Area has one of the lowest rates of black homeownership in the country, evidence of Black applicants for all types of loans being rejected at more than double the rate of White applicants. And most recently, it was estimated that 90% of businesses of color stood no chance at all of receiving funds from the Small Business Administration to support business operations in the wake of COVID-19.  

 

We can’t call ourselves an inclusive or safe neighborhood while these realities persist for our Black and Brown neighbors. 

 

These inequities are systemic, and we all have responsibility in addressing them. At LU, we’ll continue to strive to live up to our mission of improving quality of life for all, while championing equity and inclusion as core values of our organization and our community. Some of the ways we’re continuing to address these issues include: advocating for housing and education justice, working to address disparities in public safety by co-facilitating implicit bias and bystander intervention trainings, providing full scholarships to vendors representing Black and other underrepresented identities at the Lawrenceville Farmers Market, budgeting funds in 2020 for anti-racism and anti-oppression trainings for our organization and the community, and recently changing our by-laws to allow former residents–including those who have been displaced–to be able to vote and run for our Board of Directors. At LC, we are also investing in training for our organization and working to build organizational leadership and committees that are more inclusive and diverse, while also developing new programs focused on protecting and supporting minority and women owned businesses and entrepreneurs.  We are committed to advancing fairness, justice, and equity through our work and will demand dignity, respect, and opportunity for all from all community planning and development projects.  

 

We recognize there is more work to do, and as ever, we invite your input on how we’re doing and how we can do better. 

 

In a spirit of unity and urgency, we’re encouraging residents and other stakeholders who are able to make a contribution to local Black-led organizations that are on the front lines of racial justice in Pittsburgh. This week, we’re encouraging our neighbors to give to 1Hood Media, “a collective of socially conscious artists and activists who utilize art to raise awareness about social justice matters,” providing platforms for youth to tell their own stories and inspiring the activists of tomorrow. You can donate to their organization here, or by stopping by the “Info Booth” at Opening Day at the Lawrenceville Farmers Market (Tuesday, June 2nd from 4-7 p.m. at Arsenal Park).