PITTSBURGH, PA (July 7, 2020) Mayor William Peduto announced today that the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh’s (URA) Housing Opportunity Fund (HOF) and Wells Fargo’s NeighborhoodLIFT program have worked together in support of a citywide Roof-a-Thon. A total of 24 homes throughout the City of Pittsburgh will receive between $30,000-$35,000 worth of home repairs and a new roof.
"We are grateful to the URA and Wells Fargo for their partnership on affordable housing projects in Pittsburgh. Homeownership is a big financial commitment, and we want to be sure our residents have resources to help them afford to stay in their homes and communities,” Mayor William Peduto said. “Thanks to the Housing Opportunity Fund and its first Roof-A-Thon, we have 24 neighbors whose houses and roofs are safer and more secure."
Through the HOF, the URA operates a Homeowner Assistance Program (HAP) that provides up to $30,000 in financial assistance to help income-eligible, owner-occupied households with necessary home repairs (code issue remediation, roofing, weatherization, accessibility improvements, etc.).
“Roofing repair is one of the largest home repair needs among the households who applied to the HAP program,” said URA Director of Housing Initiatives Jessica Smith Perry. “Back in February 2019, there were so many applicants needing repairs and replacements that URA staff started discussions on how to get as many roofs done at once and as quickly as possible, and that’s how the concept of the Roof-a-Thon was born.”
Homeowners receiving new roofs and repairs were chosen based on greatest need.
Total cost of the Roof-a-Thon is $733,028. Wells Fargo Foundation provided $125,000, from which the URA allocated $5,000 per household; HOF provided $608,028.
The Allegheny County NeighborhoodLIFT program local initiative grants are part of a $3.3 million commitment by Wells Fargo to boost local homeownership and revitalize neighborhoods. A collaboration with NeighborWorks® America, and its network members NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania and Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Greater Berks, the NeighborhoodLIFT program has created more than 175 Pittsburgh area homeowners by offering homebuyer education plus down payment assistance grants.
“Having a safe, healthy and affordable place to call home is essential to help lay the foundation for wellness, dignity, and economic opportunity,” said Tiffany Tavarez, vice president of community relations with Wells Fargo. “The Roof-a-Thon initiative is making a meaningful difference in the lives of City of Pittsburgh residents. With the funding from the NeighborhoodLIFT program, we believe in the importance of helping keep Pittsburgh homeowners safely housed with this effort led by the URA’s Housing Opportunity Fund.”
Originally slated to start in April 2020, the Roof-a-Thon was delayed because of COVID-19. Now that Pittsburgh is in the green phase, URA contractors were able to begin construction the first week of June. The URA utilized its existing contractors: McMeekin Contracting; Spanbauer Construction, Concrete Rose Construction (MWBE); and Low Country Building Solutions (MWBE).
One of the Roof-a-Thon recipients is Monique Jackson of Sheraden who learned about the HAP through the internet. Her home not only needed critical roof repair, but other repairs as well. In addition to a new roof, work was done to her bathroom on the 2nd floor, new windows were installed throughout, and the basement toilet was replaced, to name a few.
Work started on her home on June 15 and was completed on July 1. Low Country Building Solutions was the contractor.
“Working with the URA has been a wonderful experience,” said Jackson. “The program has helped me in many ways and without the HAP it probably would take years to complete on my own. I definitely would recommend these programs to others.”
Jackson says her next goal is to have a fence put up around her house so that her small children can play freely. See photos of Monique’s roof during construction, when the roof was finished and before and after photos.
Jacqueline Cheatham is a life-long resident of Hazelwood. She and her mother moved into their current home 20 years ago after their previous home caught fire.
She heard about the HAP program from her neighbors and was eager to participate in the Roof-a-Thon.
In addition to a new roof, she had work done to her front porch, new windows installed, new front storm door, and significant mold remediation in her bedroom.
Work started on her home on June 4th and was completed on June 15. Spanbauer Construction was the contractor.
“Everybody at the URA was nice, professional, polite and just right, said Cheatham. “If it wasn’t for the HAP, I would be penny pinching and not get anywhere close to what I got done here. I just couldn’t afford it. I recommend it to friends, family, neighbors, everybody. It's such a blessing.”
Cheatham hopes to get the walkway widened for a wheelchair next and would like to get the kitchen updated. The URA is looking into potential grant funding for these projects. See roof before and after photos here.
As of today, 12 roofs have been completed. The Roof-a-Thon is scheduled to wrap up by early-to-mid July.
The URA is hoping to have a Roof-a-Thon in the second quarter of every year going forward.
“We’re excited to finally see the Roof-a-Thon happen and want to thank Wells Fargo for being such a great partner,” said Smith Perry. “We hope to be able to help even more homeowners next time.”
To see a map of the Roof-a-Thon homes, click here.
To find out more about the HAP and other HOF programs, click here.