Summer Lee Holds Panel Discussion with Local Orgs on how the $10.7 Million she Secured for Local Projects in the FY2024 Budget Will Fight Hunger, Homelessness and Blite; Provide Job Training, Trauma Care and Wraparound Services, Fix Infrastructure, and Educate Against Antisemitism

**For Immediate Release**

Contact: Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov

It Takes a Village – and a Fully Funded Budget – to Meet Western Pennsylvanians’ Needs 

Summer Lee Holds Panel Discussion with Local Orgs on how the $10.7 Million she Secured for Local Projects in the FY2024 Budget Will Fight Hunger, Homelessness and Blite; Provide Job Training, Trauma Care and Wraparound Services, Fix Infrastructure, and Educate Against Antisemitism

**Click here to download full HD video**

(Pittsburgh, PA) –Today, Congresswoman Summer Lee (PA-12) hosted a zoom press call with local organizations for whom she secured $10.7 million in community project funding (CPFs, formerly known as earmarks) as part of the FY2024 budget which she is fighting to get passed into law. 

Over the course of the past eight months, Congresswoman Summer Lee has worked closely with local community partners and stakeholders to secure $10.7 million in funding for 15 project proposals (CPFs) that support a wide range of initiatives from food insecurity and affordable housing to infrastructure, transportation, trauma care, and educating against antisemitism. As a result of Lee’s tireless advocacy, all 15 these projects were included in bills passed by the House Appropriations Committee and have been moved forward where they await a vote by the full House and Senate before heading to the President’s desk and becoming law. House Republican Leadership’s failure to pass a budget on time remains the only barrier to Western Pennsylvania receiving this desperately needed funding.  

Please find descriptions of each of the projects and quotes from Congresswoman Lee and receiving organizations below. 

Colleen Young, from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank joined to talk about the impact that the $1,000,000 grant Summer got passed through Committee to distribute more than 33 million pounds of food annually to 400,000 individuals in need of food assistance

  • Young said, “In the last year, the food bank supported an average of more than 32,000 households in Allegheny County each month, a 28% increase from 2022. With a million dollar federal investment, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank would be able to purchase four new refrigerated trucks that will save the organization nearly $220,000 annually – funds that can instead be invested in supporting food purchases and programs to ensure that more food reaches people in need. Right now, one in 10 individuals in the region live with food insecurity. So this funding is going to be an essential support for those we serve and we really appreciate Representative Lee’s support in this effort.
  • Lee said, “We are so close to delivering $1,000,000 to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to deploy food trucks that will distribute more than 33 million pounds of food annually to 400,000 individuals in need across our communities. As someone who depended on food assistance when times were tough growing up, I know how crucial this funding will be to combat food insecurity and ensure no person in Western PA goes to bed hungry.” 

Carolyn Grady, Executive Director of Pittsburgh YMCA joined to discuss how the $1,000,000 CFP grant Summer secured will allow the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh will provide a desperately needed renovation to the North Side YMCA to provide accessibility for seniors and disabled folks, instal air conditioning and fix crumbling infrastructure, and allow them to continue to serve as a vital center for health, wellness, and community services in the Northside

Grady said, “Right now with all of the stairs and no elevator, we can’t host a lot of senior programming. If you have any kind of mobility issues. It’s almost impossible to get into the building. The residents who live on the top three floors, we have a chair on each landing so they can sit down and catch their breath as they are carrying their groceries up to their room. There is no air conditioning in that building right now. And if you can imagine everybody remembers what last summer was like with those air quality days. And so we are deeply grateful for the support from your office, Congresswoman Lee for delivering the funding for this renovation to bring accessibility, updated plumbing, air conditioning, and an affordable childcare center to our resident’s and Pittsburgh’s north side.”

  • Lee said, “Like so much of the Northside, the Allegheny YMCA on North Avenue hasn’t been upgraded for decades and is in desperate need of investment and rehabilitation. I’m honored to be on the verge of delivering $1,000,000 to enhance accessibility, improve infrastructure, and allow them to continue to serve as a vital center for health, wellness, and community services in the Northside–from childcare and teen outreach to senior activities.”

Donte Green, Executive Director of the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh to talk about how the  $450,000 Summer is fighting to deliver for the institute’s Social Enterprise Pilot Program will provide temporary employment at a living wage and ensure graduates are able to keep working and build their skills while pursuing gainful outside employment

  • Green said, “These funds will allow us to create a transitional jobs program that will allow us to hire our students and keep them employed while we train them until they can overcome whatever barrier is keeping them from long term employment. I think it’d be a game changer for our students and the companies they go on to work for. We graduated about 90 students a year. And this investment will allow us to grow our program and help our success rate going forward helping the most vulnerable in our community. So again, Congressman Congresswoman Lee, thank you so much for your leadership and for helping us get through this process.”
  • Lee said, “At my recent visit to the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh I learned about their social enterprise job training program to provide temporary employment at a living wage. I’m excited to be on the verge of delivering $450,000 in funding to launch this pilot program and ensure graduates are able to keep working and build their skills while pursuing gainful outside employment. By creating opportunities for those who face challenges in finding work and opening doors to a brighter future, we are empowering their contribution to the growth and prosperity of our entire community.”

Jeanne Clark – Director Of Governmental Affairs – ALCOSAN joined to discuss how the $959,757 grant Summer is working to deliver for the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority Storm Sewer Project in Homestead will transform the local elementary school’s play area into e recess environment for young students and promote a healthier, more engaging learning environment so that children in our region can thrive

  • Clark said, “The Homestead Transforming 12th Avenue Project brings together ALCOSAN, Homestead Borough and Steel Valley School District to significantly clean up the local waterways by reducing sewage mixed with stormwater from our rivers and streams. Together, these partners will also create green infrastructure and landscaped areas, provide a safer place for students at the Barrett Elementary School to play, improve the parking area for teachers and staff, and help both the Borough and ALCOSAN meet regulatory requirements. This cooperative visionary plan – in a low-income area – can only be implemented with the funding Congresswoman Summer Lee has championed. ALCOSAN and our partners are very grateful for her leadership and commitment to making the vision a reality.”
  • Lee said, “I am delighted to be closer than ever to delivering $959,757 funding for the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority Storm Sewer Project, funding that transforms the local elementary school’s play area into a landscaped, green space, providing a safe and enjoyable recess environment for young students. This renovation will enhance the school experience and promote a healthier, more engaging learning environment so that children in our region can thrive.” 

An Lewis, Executive Director of the Tri-COG Land Bank joined to talk about how Summer’s $500,000 CPF will revitalize disinvested, abandoned land in McKeesport by building sustainable and permanently affordable homeownership opportunities. 

  • Lewis said, “Some of you may know the area median income of Allegheny County, as a whole is $66,650 per year per household, Pennsylvania, it’s just under 69,000. McKeesport’s median income in this census is $25,001. These are communities where without these resources, these projects would not be able to happen.This project will construct energy efficient, quality, permanently affordable housing homes for families to live in. So these are real resources affecting real people.”
  • Lee said, “We are so close to delivering $500,000 to revitalize disinvested, abandoned land in McKeesport by building sustainable and permanently affordable homeownership opportunities. This project will not only improve the physical landscape but also uplift the spirit of the entire community and make an important step on the path towards righting the wrongs of racial redlining and disinvestment in our Black and and marginalized communities left behind.”

Mark Latterner, Executive Director of Jubilee Kitchen joined to talk about how the $461,197 Summer secured for Jubilee Kitchen will fund a renovation project that will expand their incredible work providing nutritious food, clothing, counseling, childcare, and homelessness prevention services to the most vulnerable members of our community at a time of increased need.

  • Latterner said, “At Jubilee, we serve meals and we give out coats and gloves and hats and blankets and hand warmers not just for homeless people, but people who are living in poverty can’t afford to buy these things for themselves. We give out showers and personal hygiene items and we help people get ID cards and sign up for benefits and find housing and employment. We have programs where we help people with rent and utility assistance because not only do we serve homeless neighbors, but we try and prevent our other neighbors from becoming homeless. But we cannot do that without renovating this building. If we don’t get this renovation completed, I don’t think we can operate in the long term out of that building. So it’s critical that we get this done. So I’m very appreciative that we got included in the bill and I’m very appreciative for the support you and your office have given us.”
  • Lee said, “With housing and food insecurity still a reality for many in my district, I’ve spent my first term fighting to deliver $461,197 to Jubilee Kitchen’s to fund a renovation project that will expand their incredible work providing nutritious food, clothing, counseling, childcare, and homelessness prevention services to the most vulnerable members of our community–which I had the opportunity to see firsthand during a visit my first month in Congress. By providing folks with access to such services, we are offering them.”

David Geiger, Executive Director of Urban Redevelopment Authority joined to talk about two projects Summer is on the verge of delivering funding for: 

  • $500,000 funding to combat hunger and re-invest in a left behind community by repurposing the vacant and former Larimer School building into a vibrant hub with a full-service community kitchen, event space, and a small business food incubator.
  • $500,000 funding – Ground Floor Commercial Activation in Affordable Housing: to build affordable ground floor or street-level housing and commercial in mixed-use Low Income Housing Tax Credits-financed projects across the City of Pittsburgh. This project will address housing affordability, support entrepreneurship and small business, as well as attract and retain businesses. This project would also provide critical funding towards mixed-use developments with affordable housing and neighborhood-serving commercial components that will otherwise experience significant funding gaps.
  • Lee said, “I am excited to be so close to delivering $500,000 funding to Larimer Food Incubator & Community Kitchen to repurpose the vacant and former Larimer School building into a vibrant hub with a full-service community kitchen, event space, and a small business food incubator. I’m also excited to deliver another $500,000 for URA to build affordable housing and commercial space so families and small businesses in lower income communities can thrive. Both projects will bring bring new life into our neighborhoods and help right the wrongs of disinvestment and economic redlining.”
  •  

Maggie Feinstein, Director of 10.27 Healing Partnership said of the more than $500,000 Summer secured for trauma services in the wake of the horrific Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting, “Healing is a journey that takes time, and we are committed to support individuals and their loved ones impacted by the October 2018 synagogue shooting as they heal. Federal funding has allowed us to provide counseling and programming, including during the recent trial, and each year at the Commemoration Ceremony. We are grateful. The proposed new appropriation would allow us to continue to serve the victims of the attack and see through the work towards leaving our community more resilient than it was before.”

Lee has also secured community project funding for the following projects as part of the FY2024 budget awaiting final passage: 

  • $1,000,000 Granted for Tree of Life Educational Space Rebuild: to create a community gathering and education space to teach about antisemitism and identity-based hate in the new Tree of Life building. This project will be a critical space to educate on antisemitism, revitalize a community hub that has sat empty for 5 years since the antisemitic attack, and will create a positive economic impact in the community by attracting visitors, students, and educators from around the world. Disclosure Letter: HERE

Lee said, “When I toured the site of the attack in February and met with Foundation leadership and family members of those murdered, I was profoundly moved–both by the unimaginable pain of what I saw and the beautiful conversations I had with family members of those who had their lives senselessly taken. I’m honored to be closer than ever to delivering $1,000,000 in funding for the Tree of Life Educational Space Rebuild project to create a vital community gathering space to educate against antisemitism and white supremacy in all its forms–breathing life back into a community hub that has remained dormant following the tragic antisemitic attack.”

  • $963,000 for the City of Pittsburgh Criminal Justice Diversion Program to provide people with substance use disorder and mental and behavioral health challenges with person-centered social services and intense case management to keep our communities safer. Disclosure letter: HERE

Lee said, “We know the best way to improve community safety is to invest in poverty-prevention, mental health, and wraparound services in communities. The in $963,000 funding I’m fighting to deliver for the City of Pittsburgh Criminal Justice Diversion Program will foster positive change, promote community safety, and empower individuals in need by providing person-centered social services and intense case management to individuals facing substance use disorder and mental and behavioral health challenges. This initiative represents a transformative shift in our approach to public safety and will promote and support individual agency, particularly in communities of color.” 

  • $850,000 Granted for the McKeesport Duquesne Bridge Preservation to extend service life and repair the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge and provide a safe and reliable crossing over the Monongahela River and multiple railroads. On the Southern side of the bridge, more than 50% of the households are low-income. On both sides of the river are communities that are made up of 75% minority populations.  Disclosure letter: HERE

Lee said, “Just one year after the collapse of Fern Hollow bridge, I am fighting to deliver $850,000 in funding for the preservation of McKeesport Duquesne Bridge, which provides a vital connection linking several low-income and minority environmental justice communities. On the southern side of the bridge, more than 50% of households are low-income, and both sides of the river consist of communities with 75% minority populations. By preserving this bridge, not only will we ensure the safety and reliability of this critical crossing over the Monongahela River, but we will ensure equitable access, mobility, and economic opportunity for these communities.”

Full List of Projects and Descriptions Below:

$1,000,000 for – Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Truck Package: to distribute more than 33 million pounds of food annually to 400,000 individuals including low- to moderate-income individuals and others in need of food assistance living in areas of high need in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset and Washington counties in Pennsylvania. The program will purchase and build eight mobile food banks that will regularly recover fresh food from regional Pennsylvania farms and retailers and deliver it to a network of over 1,000 community partners. Disclosure Letter: HERE

$1,000,000 Granted for YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh: The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh will use this funding for the Northside community to rehabilitate the Allegheny YMCA building to make it ADA accessible, address unworkable infrastructure, and allow the facility to directly address the needs of the surrounding community through upgraded space to provide childcare, before/after school enrichment, senior supports, and community health and wellness in a low-income community. Additionally, to ensure the Allegheny YMCA is truly available to all, it will continue to provide membership and program subsidies to low-income Northside residents. Disclosure letter: HERE

$450,000 Granted for Trade Institute of Pittsburgh’s Social Enterprise Program: This funding would be used for providing graduates of the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh’s 11-week masonry program for individuals facing barriers to employment with time-limited, paid work experience if they are not yet ready to enter the workforce at the end of the program. This will allow graduates to continue improving their skills to obtain gainful employment. Disclosure Letter: HERE

$959,757 Granted for the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority Storm Sewer Project: ALCOSAN and Homestead Borough are addressing several important issues with this project.  First, the local elementary school does not have a standard play area for their young students to enjoy recess.  The current play area is asphalt surrounded by a chain-link fence. This project will renovate the grounds to a landscaped, green space that can be used by the children. Second, the teacher parking lot will be re-configured and built with permeable pavers to capture rainfall.  Third, under the parking lot, a stormwater storage unit will be constructed to capture stormwater and slowly release the water to the combined sewer system thereby reducing combined sewer overflows to the Monongahela River. This project will help Homestead Borough achieve its regulatory compliance related to combined sewer overflow abatement. Disclosure letter: HERE

$500,000 Granted to Tri-COG Land Bank Recovery and Affordable Housing Project in McKeesport: This project will recover plots of abandoned, blighted and demolition land in the McKeesport Area School District and transform them into sustainable and permanently affordable homeownership opportunities. This funding will improve the McKeesport Area School District community, a distressed community, by remediating seven blighted properties, creating permanently affordable homeownership opportunities, help stabilize property values, and help spur neighborhood revitalization. Disclosure letter: HERE

$500,000 Granted Urban Redevelopment Authority – Ground Floor Commercial Activation in Affordable Housing: to build affordable ground floor or street-level housing and commercial in mixed-use Low Income Housing Tax Credits-financed projects across the City of Pittsburgh. 
This project will address housing affordability, support entrepreneurship and small business, as well as attract and retain businesses. This project would also provide critical funding towards mixed-use developments with affordable housing and neighborhood-serving commercial components that will otherwise experience significant funding gaps. Disclosure letter: HERE

$1,000,000 Granted for Tree of Life Educational Space Rebuild: to create a community gathering and education space to teach about antisemitism and identity-based hate in the new Tree of Life building. This project will be a critical space to educate on antisemitism, revitalize a community hub that has sat empty for 5 years since the antisemitic attack, and will create a positive economic impact in the community by attracting visitors, students, and educators from around the world. Disclosure Letter: HERE

$1,050,000 Granted For Homewood Fields and Community Complex in Pittsburgh (City of Pittsburgh) to construct a state-of-the-art sports and community performance space, which will include a field house, amphitheater, and community gathering space. This project will function as a key anti-violence strategy in Homewood, a neighborhood which consistently experiences high levels of youth violence. More importantly, the new park will provide the foundation for intensive collaboration between the city’s anti-violence initiatives and key Homewood community institutions committed to helping young people invest in their own lives and value the lives of others, through violence interruption, job training, coaching, and interventions with spectators and parents. Disclosure letter: HERE

$500,000 Granted Urban Redevelopment Authority – Ground Floor Commercial Activation in Affordable Housing: to build affordable ground floor or street-level housing and commercial in mixed-use Low Income Housing Tax Credits-financed projects across the City of Pittsburgh. 
This project will address housing affordability, support entrepreneurship and small business, as well as attract and retain businesses. This project would also provide critical funding towards mixed-use developments with affordable housing and neighborhood-serving commercial components that will otherwise experience significant funding gaps. Disclosure letter: HERE

$461,197 Granted for Jubilee Kitchen Facility Expansion and Renovation Project. Jubilee Association, Inc. will renovate a homeless prevention program in a low-income community by expanding and renovating their current facility to address significant safety, accessibility, and space issues. This project will give the facility greater space to meet food, clothing, and counseling needs and improve facility safety to continue providing necessary services preventing homelessness and offering high-quality, affordable childcare for low-income families providing their children pathways to a brighter future. Disclosure letter: HERE

$450,000 Granted for Trade Institute of Pittsburgh’s Social Enterprise Program: This funding would be used for providing graduates of the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh’s 11-week masonry program for individuals facing barriers to employment with time-limited, paid work experience if they are not yet ready to enter the workforce at the end of the program. This will allow graduates to continue improving their skills to obtain gainful employment. Disclosure Letter: HERE

$963,000 Granted For City of Pittsburgh Criminal Justice Diversion Program: The City of Pittsburgh seeks funding to support its Criminal Justice Diversion Program, also known as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), which is a program situated within the Office of Community Health and Safety. The LEAD initiative for the City of Pittsburgh will provide people with substance use disorder and mental and behavioral health challenges with person-centered social services and intense case management. This initiative will help relieve police of a role they feel unsuited for and permit them to focus on violent crime, by preventing unnecessary, and harmful criminal-legal system engagement and instead will promote and support individual agency, particularly in communities of color. Disclosure letter: HERE

$959,757 Granted for the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority Storm Sewer Project: ALCOSAN and Homestead Borough are addressing several important issues with this project.  First, the local elementary school does not have a standard play area for their young students to enjoy recess.  The current play area is asphalt surrounded by a chain-link fence. This project will renovate the grounds to a landscaped, green space that can be used by the children. Second, the teacher parking lot will be re-configured and built with permeable pavers to capture rainfall.  Third, under the parking lot, a stormwater storage unit will be constructed to capture stormwater and slowly release the water to the combined sewer system thereby reducing combined sewer overflows to the Monongahela River. This project will help Homestead Borough achieve its regulatory compliance related to combined sewer overflow abatement. Disclosure letter: HERE

$850,000 Granted for the McKeesport Duquesne Bridge Preservation: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation wishes will perform bridge preservation and maintenance activities on the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge that will extend service life and maintain a safe and reliable crossing over the Monongahela River and multiple railroads. The McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge connects several low-income and minority environmental justice communities on either side of the Monongahela River. On the Southern side of the bridge, more than 50% of the households are low-income. On both sides of the river are communities that are made up of 75% minority populations. PennDOT will cover the required match, which will be App. 581 State highway funds. Disclosure letter: HERE

$547,000 Granted Extended Support for 10.27 Healing Partnership to respond to and address the ongoing trauma from the 2018 Synagogue Mass Shooting in the lead-up to and in the aftermath of the trial. The goal of this project is to deepen the effectiveness of community-based work initiated by the initial investment from the federal government after the attack, focused on victim support, healing, and increasing the capacity of community partners to navigate trauma and resiliency following this horrific mass casualty event and the ongoing threat of antisemitism, white supremacy, and gun violence Disclosure letter: HERE

$500,000 Granted for Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh – Larimer Food Incubator & Community Kitchen. The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh will repurpose the vacant and former Larimer School building to build a full-service community kitchen, event space and small business food incubator. This funding will support commercial development of the neighborhood by transforming 9800 square feet of the former school auditorium. This project will bring the Larimer community up to par with neighboring communities that have seen rapid development in recent years. This will be an economic catalyst for the community through job creation, support for small local businesses, food preparation and safety classes, training programs, and health and wellness programs. Disclosure letter: HERE

$500,000 Granted to Westmoreland County – 4th Street Bridge Improvement in Irwin: Westmoreland County will replace a roadway bridge that runs over the Norfolk Southern Railway in Irwin. This project will reconnect the town with the main road that has been divided by the railroad for over 100 years and closed to traffic since 2014. Funding through this request will expedited project execution by adding to funds previously secured through the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP). Disclosure letter: HERE

$500,000 Granted for SR 2046, Streets Run Road Resurfacing in Whitehall: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will rehabilitate the entire length of S.R. 2046 to combat deteriorating, poor pavement quality that is at an increasing risk of landslide. This road connects commercial, industrial, and residential properties in the municipality of Whitehall. The ongoing Curry Hollow Road expansion will put further demand on this crucial corridor that links the Baldwin Borough to the City of Pittsburgh, as well as Jefferson Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Disclosure letter: HERE


Since taking office in January, Lee, who serves on the House Oversight Committee and Space, Science and Technology Committee, has delivered historic levels of federal investment totaling over $870 million brought back to Western PA, including over $200 million for infrastructure, over $50 million for affordable transit, and over $500 million to keep clean energy manufacturing at home in Pennsylvania. These investments will help improve Western Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and transit, ensure cleaner air and drinking water, lower housing costs, fund research institutions, fuel clean manufacturing, fund STEM innovation and entrepreneurship, boost workforce development, and create thousands of good paying union jobs.  Lee and her team have also delivered casework and constituent services to over 1,380 constituents with issues ranging from helping our seniors and disabled community access Medicare and social security to helping folks secure housing and helping families with immigration support and passports.

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