ACTION-Housing has finished the renovation of the former McKeesport YMCA at 523 Sinclair Street in McKeesport preserving both a historic building and 84 units of homeless housing.  The building has been renamed “McKeesport Downtown Housing.”

To mark the occasion, ACTION-Housing held a ribbon cutting in the Herman Rosner Community Room on Tuesday, July 8th at Noon. In addition to remarks and refreshments, ACTION-Housing’s development team led tours of the historic building, showcasing its updated features and amenities.

“This building has been an icon in McKeesport since it was built in 1922,” said Lawrence Swanson, ACTION-Housing’s executive director. “We’re proud, with our partners, to have helped preserve this piece of McKeesport history, as well as the housing.”

ACTION-Housing has managed the property since 2010 when the McKeesport YMCA merged with the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, and moved to their current location on Evans Avenue. The building was set to be demolished. The 84 units of housing for at risk individuals and a cold weather shelter were in danger of being lost.

“When the YMCA moved, 84 people faced the prospect of losing their homes,” said Patrick Fenton, ACTION-Housing’s deputy executive director. “The Allegheny County Department of Human Services was concerned that this important housing asset would be lost.”

DHS asked ACTION-Housing to step in and find a way to stabilize and then redevelop the building to preserve the housing. Using an allocation of Low Income Housing Tax Credits as well as philanthropic and public support, ACTION-Housing was able to completely rehabilitate the building using advanced energy efficiency building techniques and materials. 

By thoroughly insulating the building envelope, eliminating thermal bridges, and installing 22 wells for a geothermal system, ACTION-Housing is able to drastically reduce energy use, lessening the building’s impact on the environment and ensuring low operating costs for the foreseeable future. 

PNC Bank is the equity investor and Allegheny County and The Pittsburgh Foundation provided gap financing.  Early stabilization funding from the Richard King Mellon Foundation was provided through Allegheny County. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency allocated the Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and HUD and the McKeesport Housing Authority are administering operating support. Design team members include Repal Construction, Thoughtful Balance Architects, and Iams Consulting.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 4:16 a.m.

ACTION-Housing revealed its finished McKeesport Downtown Housing facility Tuesday in the former YMCA along Sinclair Street, preserving 84 units of homeless and transitional housing in an historic structure.

“This building has been an icon in McKeesport since it was built in 1922,” ACTION-Housing executive director Lawrence Swanson said, as he welcomed government and social service workers from across Allegheny County to the facility's Herman Rossner Community Room. “We're proud, with our partners, to have helped preserve this piece of McKeesport history as well as the housing.”

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Since our inception in 1957, ACTION-Housing has gathered for an annual meeting to reflect, plan, and celebrate a year of achievements. 

This year, we were joined by the Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Ronald D. Castille, a Marine, who spoke on the importance of serving our veterans as they return home from service. But he also took time to discuss ACTION-Housing's organizational mission: to help individuals build self-sufficient lives. 

Earlier in the program, ACTION-Housing recognized two MyPlace clients, Kayla and Kalynn for outstanding achievement while in MyPlace. The twin sisters are both college graduates, and have both started working at full time jobs. They are poised to not just survive outside of the program, but thrive. 

And their story impressed the Chief Justice so much that he took the time to praise the two during his keynote address, and meet with them after the program. 

Bringing together our clients, our supporters, and our staff every year allows us to celebrate moments like these. Since 1957, ACTION-Housing has helped individuals like Kayla and Kalynn build better lives, and our annual meeting is our chance to reflect on those successes.  

ACTION-Housing's clients, Kayla and Kalynn, pose for a photo with Chief Justice Castille 

Kayla and Kalynn pose with Chief Justice Castille. 

By Megan Guza

Federal tax credits could help convert the former Wright's Seafood Inn in Heidelberg into housing for both low-income residents and individuals with autism.

ACTION Housing and the Autism Housing Development Corporation of Pittsburgh plan to turn the commercial property at 1837 Washington St. into the 42-unit Heidelberg Apartments, with half of the units dedicated to individuals with autism and half as dedicated low-income housing.

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There are about 1,200 veterans in Allegheny County who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Over the last year or so there has been an increase in the number of women and women with children who are in need of emergency housing.

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