Ribbon Cutting: Susquehanna Homes
Ribbon Cutting: Susquehanna Homes

Susquehanna Homes adds 36 Units of Housing to Homewood

On September 20, Oxford along with partners S&A Homes, PHFA, the URA, BNY Mellon, and Stratford Capital cut the ribbon at Susquehanna Homes, a 36-unit scattered site housing development in the Homewood neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh.

Kimberly Patterson Burley lived on Susquehanna Street for 36 years before moving out of the neighborhood. She always knew she wanted to return to Homewood, and prayed she would get the chance to move back to her childhood home. Susquehanna Homes provided that opportunity for Kimberly and not only is she back in Homewood, but her duplex is across the street from the home where she grew up.

Susquehanna Homes provides housing units as a combination of duplex and single-family homes located along sections of Susquehanna and Tioga streets. Households at or below 60 percent of the area median income can qualify to lease a home. After 15 years, the homes will be available for purchase by residents at a subsidized price.

Kimberly with child

Kimberly Patterson Burley

Kimberly reflected on how it felt like she never left the street, talking to neighbors who were still there from when she was a child. Kimberly believes these homes are great for families, and help not just with an affordable lease but also by being efficiently built so utility costs stay manageable.

Low Income Housing Tax Credits provided by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) funded the project along with $700,000 in gap financing from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh.

“One of the criteria we look for is if there is a strong committed engagement in the community. The residents of Homewood are the lifeblood of the neighborhood and they are integral to ensure that the vision of a revitalized Homewood remains a reality,” said Ali Tomich, director, western region, PHFA.

That vision is one created by the residents through the efforts of Operation Better Block who has the mission to ensure that all neighbors thrive in Homewood. The project employed a number of neighborhood residents through a partnership of Community Empowerment Association, and the joint venture of Mistick Construction and Ma’at Construction. The overall MWBE participation rate was 47 percent, one of the highest minority participation rates to date in the City.

Senator Jay Costa, Representative Ed Gainey, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto all remarked on the importance of quality housing and the necessity of strong partnerships to be successful.

“In order to grow a city, a county, a region, a state or the USA, it’s all about partners coming together to make it happen and this is a micro example of exactly what I’m talking about.”  – PA Representative Ed Gainey (D), District 24

This ethos drives us every day, on every project. From complex large-scale projects like this one to smaller scale renovations, Oxford’s focus is to create strong partnerships for transformation.

Read more from the Trib’s Bob Bauder