412-586-5807

Hilltop-Wide Programs

What's going on in the Hilltop?

 

Hilltop Blight Fight Programs

In researching the history of abandoned, dilapidated, and tax delinquent properties in our neighborhoods, we found that many such properties fell into a state of disrepair after the owners of record passed away without having the legal framework in place to transfer ownership to a defined heir. Similarly, residents have voiced their desires to gain control of poorly maintained, tax delinquent vacant lots adjacent to their homes, many of which share a similar fate to those properties without a clearly defined heir.

Thanks to the generosity of PNC Foundation, Hilltop Alliance will be able to assist Hilltop residents to put an end to this cycle of blight through a Free Personal Wills Program and a Side Yard Grant Program.

The Free Personal Wills Program will connect qualifying homeowners, 50 years of age or older, with a partnering attorney to provide them with a Last Will and Testament at no cost to ensure their homes have a defined heir in the future. These heirs will then more easily be able to gain control of the properties and possibly receive financial assistance for home improvements after their loved ones have passed.

The Side Yard Grant Program will partially reimburse qualifying property owners for the costs associated with the acquisition of eligible vacant lots adjacent to their properties via the City of Pittsburgh Side Yard Sales Program, administered through the City of Pittsburgh Real Estate Sales Division.

You may download applications for the Free Personal Wills Program and Side Yard Grant Program online, or call Tim Dolan at 412-586-5807 for more information.

 

Property Stabilization Program

Since mid-2012, a Property Stabilization Committee has been meeting monthly to learn about what other neighborhoods are doing and how to strengthen partnerships with City officials to monitor properties, report violations, and hold land and building owners accountable.

Modeled after Cleveland’s “Code Enforcement Partnership” with 19 CDCs, the objective is to be proactive in preventing further decline, instead of reactive in responding to complaints (which are often received and acted upon only when the situation is of imminent danger).  On the Hilltop, neglect and abandonment of properties is commonplace. Code enforcement, while only a regulatory tool, is just half of the solution to motivate property owners to lawfully maintain their properties. The other half is communicating with and assisting the property owner with home repair options. Realistically, owner-occupied properties may require different tactics than rental properties.  Nonetheless, responsible property maintenance will do more for neighborhood stability than only a development and rehab strategy, and at a lower cost to all stakeholders.

Our Property Stabilization Program's Purpose Is:
- Code violation remediation and/or property renovation coordination with City, URA, and other community partners;
- To convene the Hilltop Property Stabilization Committee members to meet monthly to establish top-priority list of nuisance and blighted properties;
- To establish communication with property owners and provide technical assistance and information referral services;
- Maintenance of and updates to database of problematic properties with all relevant information and photos;
- To walk through neighborhoods to see problematic properties first-hand, take updated photos, and track progress being made;
- Implementation of Allentown/Beltzhoover Housing Market Restoration Strategy.

If you have any friends or neighbors who may benefit from our assistance in resolving code violations or other property nuisances in Hilltop neighborhoods, please have them contact Tim Dolan at 412-586-5807, and they can then be added to the email list for those Committee meetings. They should try to have as much of the following information available, as it will help expedite the process of taking action and working with our City partners:
- Address of property
- Property owner (if known)
- Any property owner contact info (if known)
- Problem description
- Date noticed
- Reporter's initials
- Photos

Media Coverage

You can read more about the successes of the Property Stabilization Program by checking out this article by Diana Nelson Jones in her "Walkabout" column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  We were also featured in this article in the South Pittsburgh Reporter.  Thinking about making smaller improvements to your home, but have limited resources?  Check out this article by Emily Yarrison on Pop City to learn about nine DIY fixes to spruce up your block on a shoestring budget!

 

"Fresh Fridays on the Hilltop" Fresh Produce Distribution

Fresh Fridays

Hilltop Alliance, in partnership with other Hilltop organizations, started Fresh Fridays on the Hilltop to increase the availability of and access to fresh produce in the Hilltop. This project has operated since October 2012 and serves approximately 200 families from the 15203, 15210, and 15211 Hilltop zip codes per event.  The event occurs every second Friday of the month at St. John Vianney Parish (823 Climax Street) in Allentown.

Our next and final monthly free fresh produce distribution for 2017 will start at 3:30pm on Friday, November 10, 2017! Feel free to share this event flyer with other interested friends, family, and community members.  Distributions are also regularly advertised in the free, weekly-distributed South Pittsburgh Reporter.

In the fall of 2012, Hilltop Alliance was approached by member groups and community residents about the need for access to fresh produce, and subsequently our Board agreed to “make something happen”. To that end, the Alliance has worked with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (GPCFB), St. John Vianney Food Pantry, and the Brashear Association to make this event the success that it is.

Qualified households must meet GPCFB criteria of having a household income equal to or less than 150% of the poverty level (updated chart to be available closer to April 2017) in order to get free produce - approximately 40 lbs. per family. We also welcome those receiving unemployment compensation, food stamps, cash assistance or medical assistance, SSI, Social Security Disability, and those who are experiencing a crisis situation, as well as Produce to People and food pantry users.  Additional items such as bread, meat, and dairy products are distributed when they are available from the Food Bank.  This effort is staffed by volunteers from all partner organizations.

Fresh Fridays on the Hilltop seeks to fill a most immediate gap in access to fresh produce. Hilltop Alliance is also looking at food insecurity (hunger) in the Hilltop with the GPCFB and evaluating the need for additional farm stands and markets, including tying this effort to our Green ToolBox Assessment and the need for community gardens.

Income Guidelines

Household Size Annual Monthly Weekly
1 $17,820 $1,450 $343
2 $24,030 $2,003 $462
3 $30,240 $2,520 $582
4 $36,450 $3,038 $701
Each Additional Person Add: $6,240 $520 $120

 

Annual Hilltop Summit

On November 15, 2016, consistent with our Mission "to preserve and create assets in the Hilltop community through collaboration and coordination of resources", we invited community members, funders, elected officials, and community partners to come together at the third annual Hilltop Summit.  There, representatives from the Hilltop Alliance, Allentown Community Development Corporation, Beltzhoover Civic Association, Carrick Community Council, Hilltop Economic Development Corporation, Knoxville Community Council, Mount Oliver City / Saint Clair Community Group, Mount Washington Community Development Corporation, and South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association each shared their organizational acheivements in the communities they serve.

We would especially like to thank our event sponsors State Representative Harry Readshaw, City Council President Bruce Kraus, BNY Mellon, and Sitko Bruno