Calling all Polish Hill parents!

Calling all polish hill Families

Anyone who lives in Polish Hill has probably noticed that there are a lot more kids around these days. If you have school aged children, you probably know that our neighborhood feeds into the following public schools:
— Woolslair K-5,
— Arsenal PreK-5,
— Arsenal 6-8, and
— Milliones 6-12 (also known as University Prep)

Student achievement at all of these schools is in the lowest 15% of Pennsylvania’s public schools.

A group of Polish Hill parents hope to create a network of families in the neighborhood who know one another, want to enhance Polish Hill’s amenities for children, and who are interested in demanding better learning environments for our children in the public schools.

Join them for a brainstorming session about what this could look like on Tuesday, October 28 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at 3029 Pulawski Way. Children are welcome. RSVP if possible to rainandgran@gmail.com.

Towards a more tolerant neighborhood: the new Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Golden-Rule_web

The PHCA has created a new committee – the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, with a kick-off meeting on Tuesday September 23 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the PHCA office at 3060 Brereton Street.

The goal of the committee is to encourage our increasingly diverse neighborhood to work well together — respecting, appreciating and valuing our differences in background, ethnicity, lifestyle and culture. The need for this became clear after some unfortunate harassment incidents that seemed to be fueled by intolerance for cultural and lifestyle differences. between residents.

The committee is being established to not only raise awareness about the benefits of inclusion and diversity and remind folks to get along, but also to put our stake in the sand as to what kind of neighborhood that we all want Polish Hill to be!

At this kick-off meeting, we’ll discuss this topic and start brainstorming what we want to do.  Possible projects could include an event, an art project, or a marketing campaign. If these issues are of particular interest, if you believe civility and respect to the others who live around you is essential, your participation is welcome. Come help us to explore the possibilities of how to make Polish Hill a more accepting, respectful neighborhood. If you have any questions, or if you are not able to attend but wish to be involved with these issues, please get in touch. Email phca@phcapgh.org, or call us at 412.681.1950.

(Above:  The Golden Rule (1961) by Norman Rockwell.  From the Norman Rockwell Museum website)

Announcing the 2014 Polish Hill Pivotal Streets Façade Renovation Grant Program

PHCA_1027Herron_before_after

The Polish Hill Pivotal Streets Façade Renovation Grant Program debuted in 2013, and the response was overwhelming.  Seven projects were awarded funding (we reported about those projects in the Fall-Winter 2013 Polish Hill Voice).

We’re excited to announce that funding has been secured to offer the program again in 2014.  Polish Hill property owners are eligible to apply for a matching grant of up to $5,000 per property for residential façade (street-facing) renovations.  Improvements could include:

✒ Replacing gutters, siding, windows and doors
✒ Painting trim or porches
✒ Planting permanent landscaping
✒ Repairing or replacing sidewalks, steps or retaining walls

Stuck on what to do?  Select renovation ideas from the Pivotal Streets Design Guide.  Or, sign up to meet with an architect on Feb. 12 for a free 15-minute consultation about your project.  Call 412.681.1950 by Feb. 5 to secure a spot.

Applications are due by March 14, 2014.  An independent committee will review applications and award funds.  Grants are competitive and funds are limited.  Awards will be announced on April 5, 2014.  Reimbursement checks are issued when work is completed.

The program application, guidelines, and design guide are available on our website or at the PHCA office.  For more information, call 412.681.1950 or email us.

No water service for Melwood residents on Wednesday evening

Residents on Melwood Street in Polish Hill will have no water from 6 p.m. to midnight Wednesday.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority will replace two water valves on Melwood during that time. Most other residents in Polish Hill will experience low water pressure and possible interruption of service.

In the event of a water or sewer emergency, residents should call PWSA at 412-255-2429 or 412-255-2409.

 

PLANPGH looking for residents to interview about the neighborhood they live in

TALKPGH is part of ARTPGH and DESIGNPGH, the public art and urban design components of the City’s first Comprehensive Plan called PLANPGH collectively.  PLANPGH is an inclusive public initiative to create a comprehensive plan for the city’s growth over the next 25 years.  TALKPGH is Pittsburgh’s first mobile talk show; it will be filmed in a transparent truck that will travel to each of the city’s 90 neighborhoods.  The purpose of the show is to collect opinions and stories from Pittsburgh residents about the neighborhoods they live in.  The footage will be aired as a web TV show, and the contribution of residents will be honored during a series of public screenings.

TALKPGH has contacted the PHCA to help find three people from Polish Hill to be interviewed on Friday, April 19 from 4-5 p.m.  Their goal is to find three interviewees who are as different from each other as possible (in age, gender, race, profession, personality, how long they’ve lived in the neighborhood, etc).

It often seems as if the same few people step forward to speak for the neighborhood.  Polish Hill has such a wonderfully varied population; it would be great if some new faces volunteered to share their stories.  If you’re interested, or know someone who might be, please call us at 412.681.1950 or email.

Announcing the Polish Hill Pivotal Streets Façade Renovation Grant Program

The PHCA is delighted to announce the Polish Hill Pivotal Streets Façade Renovation Grant Program.  Each residential property owner in Polish Hill is eligible to apply for a 1-to-1 matching grant of up to $5,000 to renovate the façade (street-facing side) of their property.  Awardees must contribute the project match amount and all amounts over the maximum $5,000 match.  Grant amounts less than $250 will not be considered, meaning the façade renovation project must cost at least $500.  Grant funds are reimbursed after the work is completed — in other words, the awardee must pay for the renovations upfront before receiving the grant money.

Renovation possibilities include:

✒ Replace gutters, siding, windows and doors
✒ Paint trim or porches
✒ Plant permanent landscaping
✒ Repair or replace sidewalks, steps or retaining walls
✒ Receive a bonus for energy efficiency improvements

Stuck on what to do? Select renovation ideas from the Pivotal Streets Design Guide.

Eligibility: Polish Hill residential property owners — owner-occupied and rental — who are ready to begin their projects!  Applications are due by March 30, 2013, awards will be announced by April 30, 2013  Reimbursement checks are issued when work is completed.

An independent committee of volunteer professionals will review applications and award funds. Grants are competitive and funds are limited.  Program funded by the PNC Foundation and Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development.

Here are the program guidelines, and here is the application.
Questions?  Contact us at 412.681.1950 or email us.

(Above:  Illustration courtesy of Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects, from the Pivotal Streets Design Guide)

Assisting Older Neighbors During Severe Weather

Allegheny County Emergency Services, Human Services and Health Department have put out some information about dealing with the extreme cold.  One item particularly seems relevant to Polish Hill —  the County encourages residents to look out for our elderly neighbors.

Assisting Older Neighbors During Severe Weather

The Department of Human Services (DHS) encourages all county residents to check on older neighbors to make sure they are safe during periods of severe weather. Here are some tips and guidelines:

·         Make sure seniors have a list of emergency telephone numbers that includes neighbors and family members who can help, if needed.

·         Check to see the furnace is working if the house feels cold. Become alert to dangerous methods of heating a room, such as open flames or ovens.

·         Ensure that walkways and steps leading to their homes are cleared and that there is food and water in the house.

·         Go back later or the next day, if at all possible, to make sure everything is still alright. Remove your coat and stay at least 15 minutes. This is a great chance to share a cup of coffee, verify the pipes are not frozen, and check on pets.

·         Be particularly mindful of older neighbors during a power outage. Lack of electrical power not only presents dangers associated with lack of heat, but also risks associated with non-functioning vital medical equipment, such as oxygen systems, emergency lighting, stair glides and medication timers. If you cannot contact someone you believe is in the house, contact your local police or emergency services.

When weather circumstances dictate, the DHS Area Agency on Aging and its contracted providers contact frail, isolated and high-risk consumers who are registered for care management. Care managers visit those at highest risk and ensure each home is well-heated and has enough food, water and medication to last for several days. Care managers also respond to emergency needs as they arise.

The Area Agency on Aging has already provided more than 2,400 “Snowy Weather Boxes” to at-risk older adults who are registered with the agency and often live alone. The boxes include toilet paper, non-skid slipper socks, hand sanitizer, flashlight and batteries, peanut butter, crackers, tuna, fruit, juice, bottled water, and other shelf-stable meals and drinks.

Information about programs and services for older adults is available by calling SeniorLine at 412-350-5460 (TDD/TTY 412-350-2727), sending an email to SeniorLine@alleghenycounty.us, or visiting the DHS Older Adults website at www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/olderadults.aspx.

(Photo of Brereton Street buildings in winter by Mark Knobil)

More time to apply for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program

For those who are eligible for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program but have yet to apply, there’s some good news:  the deadline has been extended until the end of the year.

More than 600,000 older Pennsylvanians and residents with disabilities are expected to benefit from the program, which provides rebates on property taxes and rent paid in 2011.  The program benefits income-eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older; widows and widowers 50 or older; and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 for renters.

All forms of income must be counted, but half of Social Security, Supplemental Security or federal Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits are excluded from the total.  The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates automatically calculated by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue for senior homeowners with lower incomes can boost the property tax rebate to $975.

Seniors and others who received a rebate last year on their 2010 property taxes or rent should have received an application for the 2011 tax year in the mail.  Applications and free help completing the form are available at the offices of your state representatives, including Senator Jim Ferlo (3519 Butler Street, or call 412.621.3006) and Adam Ravenstahl (3689 California Ave, or call 412.321.5523.

It’s been reported that a firm has been soliciting Pennsylvania residents, offering to complete the form for a fee.  In fact, there is no need to pay to have this form completed.

You can also obtain a Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim form online, by calling, toll free, 1-888-222-9190, or at local area agencies on aging and senior centers, or at the PHCA office

Those who have already applied for a rebate can check the status of their claim online at www.revenue.state.pa.us or by calling, toll free, 1-888-PATAXES. The state will begin sending rebate checks to people who’ve already applied after July 1. Claims for people who apply after that will be processed as they are received.