An e-newsletter published for friends of Mon Valley Initiative | February 2021
Housing Counseling

First house is ‘absolute heaven’
for new homeowner

Madeline Sample was renting throughout the Mon Valley and was tired of paying landlords who kept raising her rent but were unwilling to make repairs.

A few years ago, she decided it was time to buy her first home. Unfortunately, a bank turned her down for a mortgage with little explanation. A friend suggested she ask Mon Valley Initiative for help.

Sample met with Jonathan Weaver, MVI housing counselor, who pulled her credit report, recommended areas that could be improved, and worked with her on ways to improve her financial score.

For more than six months, Sample saved and regularly worked with Weaver. When she finally felt financially secure—and found a home she really loved in Versailles Borough—Weaver helped her get pre-approved for a mortgage and guided her negotiations with a loan officer.

“(Weaver’s) closing statement was always ‘let me know if you need anything,’” Sample says. “He was so encouraging throughout the whole process and he never pushed too hard. The process was overwhelming at times, but you can’t let the overwhelming moments take over.”

Sample was so pleased with MVI’s housing counseling program that she sent her son to Weaver to help him build his credit and start saving for his future. “My new home is absolute heaven—a sanctuary,” she says. “It is so peaceful and I can make it my own.”
  • Do you know someone who could benefit from free, personalized housing counseling? Call Jonathan Weaver at 412-464-4000, ext. 4008, or email
  • In addition, Jonathan is holding a free Homebuyer’s Club at 6 p.m. March 4 to discuss the closing process. The event will be held on Zoom. Call or email Jonathan for login details.
Workforce Development & Financial Coaching

Success Story: John

John (not his real name) successfully completed MVI’s Workforce Development & Financial Coaching program just a few months ago and found a job.

But with the COVID-19 economy being what it is, John found himself laid off again this year, and in need of employment. He wasn’t worried, because he was sure MVI would help him again—and we did.

Staff re-enrolled John in the program and helped him begin his new job search. John had worked on an assembly line before.
So the day he returned to the program, MVI made an inquiry at a large staffing agency that works with manufacturing facilities.

John followed up and was interviewed on the spot. Using techniques he practiced at MVI, John aced the interview and was hired as a full-time production worker.

John thanked MVI staff for helping him find a job so quickly, and he knew that he had come (back) to the right place for help.
Do you know someone who could benefit from our employment and financial coaching process?
East Pittsburgh

Center Street townhomes ready for first residents

Do you know someone who’s looking for a spacious new apartment in Pittsburgh’s east suburbs?

Three new townhomes at 530 Center St., East Pittsburgh, are ready to welcome their first tenants.

These large, four-bedroom, two-bathroom units have been completely remodeled and come with appliances, modern laminate flooring and central HVAC.

Income restrictions apply. For instance, a family of four may qualify if their total annual household income is not greater than $49,800.
Take the survey

What transit investments are important to you?

Grant Cole, MVI community outreach specialist, has been attending stakeholder meetings with Port Authority of Allegheny County as the transit agency develops its 25-year strategic plan, dubbed “NEXTransit.”

“I was encouraged by how much the Mon Valley is being mentioned as part of the long-term planning process,” Cole says.

He says the NEXTransit planners are aware that navigating our region is challenging, because of its geography and the many small municipalities and neighborhoods involved—and, he says, they want the public’s help to overcome those challenges.

In addition, NEXTransit planners are available to set up meetings with municipal officials and community development groups, Cole says.
  • For more information or to take the NEXTransit planning survey, visit Upcoming online meetings are being held at 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. March 2.

Grant program will help hospitality industry recover

The state recently announced a new business grant program for the hospitality industry.

On Feb. 5, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law Senate Bill 109, which allocates $145 million to support the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program.

Under this new program, restaurants, bars and others in the hospitality industry that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for grants up to $50,000.

Grant funds are intended to alleviate revenue losses and pay eligible operating expenses due to the pandemic.

The money will be allocated on a county-by-county basis. Applications will be accepted beginning March 15. For more information in Allegheny County, visit the Economic Development website.

Help wanted: Maintenance technicians

Mon Valley Initiative seeks technicians to help maintain our portfolio of quality affordable apartments.

Skills: Some carpentry, painting, plastering; minor electrical and plumbing; basic maintenance on HVAC, roofs, gutters, windows.

Technicians respond to requests from tenants, perform scheduled and emergency tasks, prepare units for new move-ins.

Must be willing to travel throughout Mon Valley (Homestead to Monessen) and have full-time access to a reliable vehicle. Excellent communications and customer service skills essential.

To apply, send a resume to:

Sarah Altomari
Mon Valley Initiative
305 E. 8th Ave.
Dept. NL
Homestead, PA 15120

Please, no phone calls or Facebook messages.
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