Senator Fontana spoke at a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in Green Tree hosted by Global Links as they opened their new world headquarters on October 4th. Global Links is a non-profit organization that collaborates with U.S. health care institutions and the community to recover hundreds of tons of high-quality surplus medical materials every year that would otherwise be sent to landfills.
Homeless Children’s Awareness Week
Pennsylvania will be celebrating Homeless Children’s Awareness Week October 13th – 19th, bringing attention to the growing problems and issues children experiencing homelessness face throughout the Commonwealth and across the nation. I recently introduced a Resolution, Senate Resolution 221 (SR 221), in the Senate recognizing this special week in hopes that many residents and groups will participate in the activities planned or hold events of their own to raise awareness about the needs and challenges facing these children. Click here to listen.
The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty estimates as many as two million people will experience homelessness this year, and about half of them will include children. In fact, children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. Children are considered homeless if they lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence according to the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
Children of all ages are negatively impacted by homelessness in the areas of physical health, emotional and behavioral development, and academic success. Obstacles like frequent moves disrupt homeless children’s education, often setting them back academically three to six months as well as making these students twice as likely to repeat a grade and 60 percent more likely to drop out of school.
Children experiencing homelessness is a problem in the Commonwealth. During the 2011-12 school year, over 19,000 school age children and youth were reported as experiencing homelessness which made up about 1 percent of the total Pennsylvania public school enrollment population for that year.
For over a decade, the Homeless Children's Education Fund (HCEF) has been working to ensure that children facing homelessness have access to the same educational opportunities as other kids, in an effort to combat these statistics.
This year HCEF will hold its third annual Homeless Children’s Awareness Week in Pittsburgh. Many events will take place including an intimate storytelling event, a performance art installation, and a 5K and 10K run/walk for homeless children in North Park. For more information about the schedule of events, please visit http://www.homelessfund.org/events.html.
I hope you will use this opportunity by joining in the activities planned by HCEF and look for ways you can help children experiencing homelessness in the Commonwealth.
Did You Know…
Did you know that according to a report published in 2009 by the National Coalition for the Homeless, family homelessness is the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in the United States, accounting for 41 percent of the nation’s homeless population?
Uniting Behind the Pirates
||Senator Fontana is joined by Pittsburgh Penguins CEO David Morehouse and Pittsburgh Steelers Executive Director of Stadium Management Jimmie Sacco at a recent Pirate game as all the sports teams in town have supported the Pirates' playoff run. David, along with Senator Fontana, grew up in Pittsburgh's Beechview neighborhood and Jimmie is a native of Brookline, where the Senator currently resides. Good luck to the Pirates tomorrow night. Let's Go Bucs!
Italian-American Heritage Month
October marks Italian-American Heritage Month in Pennsylvania. As a proud Italian-American myself, I introduced a Resolution, Senate Resolution 204 (SR 204), honoring one of our history’s most notable explorers, Christopher Columbus, and all of the contributions both he and other famous Italian-Americans have offered to the Commonwealth over the years. Click here to listen.
Christopher Columbus’ journeys marked the beginning of centuries of trans-Atlantic explorations and colonization on the American continent. His expeditions set in motion the widespread transfer of people, plants, animals, and cultures that greatly affected nearly every society on the planet.
Today we credit Christopher Columbus with Italian immigration to the New World and Pennsylvania. Currently, there are more than 26 million Americans of Italian heritage in the United States, with more than 1.5 million residing in Pennsylvania.
Currently, the Order Sons of Italy in America is the largest and oldest national organization for men and women of Italian heritage in the United States, with many chapters located in Pennsylvania. Furthermore, Americans of Italian decent have become one of the Commonwealth’s most influential ethnic groups and play an influential role in the arts, law, science, government, commerce, manufacturing and finance.
In fact, Mr. Peanut and the Planters Peanut Company were created by Italian immigrants in 1887 in Pennsylvania. I’m also proud to say Italian-American Jim Delligatti, owner of several McDonald’s franchises in the Pittsburgh region, invented one of the world’s most popular sandwiches in the late 1960’s: the Big Mac.
Please join me in celebrating “Italian-American Heritage Month” in Pennsylvania and commend the early immigrants for their important role in our state’s history.
In observance of the Columbus Day Holiday, all Senate offices will be closed on Monday, October 14th. My offices will re-open on Tuesday, October 15th as scheduled.
PHFA Warns of Online Scams
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) is warning consumers about predatory websites offering financial services that claim to be PHFA loans or that give the impression that PHFA endorses their product. The PHFA is advising consumers that the best way to be sure they are getting a PHFA home loan is to receive confirmation from a PHFA customer service representative on the Agency’s Homeownership Hotline at 1-800-822-1174. Staff is available weekdays from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. to answer consumer questions. Spending a few minutes on the phone verifying a PHFA loan can protect people from deceitful scam artists.
Another valuable resource for consumers is the network of housing counselors conveniently located across the Commonwealth. Many of these counseling services are available at no charge. Before signing a home loan contract, a consumer can contact a housing counseling agency for assistance confirming whether a loan actually is a PHFA loan. You may click here to locate PHFA counselors in Allegheny County. You may also click here to find a listing of approved PHFA lenders.
Champions of Older Workers
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging is seeking nominations for their annual Champions of Older Workers Award, which recognizes employers throughout the Commonwealth who employ and value older workers. One employer will be selected to be placed in Pennsylvania’s Hall of Fame of Champions of Older Workers in recognition of its efforts to hire and train older members of the workforce.
Employers who actively recruit older workers (age 55 and over), provide creative programs for retention, phased retirement plans, flexible work arrangements, retraining, mentoring programs, and/or pre-retirement financial planning are able to be nominated. To nominate an employer, please visit the Department of Aging's website to download a nomination form. Nominations must be submitted no later than December 6th. For more information on the award or to submit completed nomination forms, email Rocco Claroni at email@example.com. You may also mail the completed nomination forms to:
PA Department of Aging
555 Walnut Street, 5th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101-1919
SNAP Community Meeting
The SNAP Safe in Our School & Community project is a collaboration between Holy Family Institute and Sto-Rox Elementary School, United Way of Allegheny County, Amachi Pittsburgh, and Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA. SNAP helps children ages 6-11 make better choices and control impulsive and aggressive behaviors. The goal for SNAP school-based is to promote academic achievement, pro-social skills, and support for all children.
Leaders of the SNAP project are hosting a Community Meeting on October 22nd at the Father Ryan Arts Center in McKees Rocks, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Attendees will learn more about the program and its impact on children, parents, faculty, and the community of Sto-Rox Elementary School. There will be a light dinner and a raffle for door prizes. For more information and to RSVP, please call 412-331-2684.
Duquesne’s Free Legal Services Program
Duquesne University's School of Law recently opened the new Tribone Center for Clinical Legal Education. Through the new center, the School of Law provides free legal services to those who need but cannot afford legal representation including veterans, low-income individuals and families, non-profit organizations, and the underserved. Clients are helped with civil rights, appellate court, family law, unemployment compensation, and other specific legal matters.
With significant financial assistance provided from the Commonwealth’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program and Allegheny County’s Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund, the Tribone Center for Clinical Legal Education has moved into a three-story building at 914 Fifth Avenue, across from CONSOL Energy Center. The new center features client-meeting rooms, conference rooms for consultations with judges and attorneys, classrooms and a fully equipped moot courtroom.
For more information on these services, please contact the Clinical Legal Education Program at 412-396-4704 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
7th Annual NAMI Walk
Join the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southwestern Pennsylvania for the 7th Annual NAMI Walk on Sunday, October 13th at SouthSide Works. This family-friendly event features complimentary refreshments, music, activities for children, entertainment, and a 5K walk along the scenic Three Rivers Heritage Trail.
Festivities begin at 9 a.m. and the walk starts promptly at 10 a.m. There is no fee to register but fundraising is encouraged. All funds raised support NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania in its mission to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness through recovery focused support, education, and advocacy. For more information or to register, please visit www.namiwalks.org/SouthwesternPennsylvania or call 412-366-3788.
RADical Days Continues
Many of our region’s treasured cultural assets are opening their doors at no charge to the public as part of the 12th Annual RADical Days sponsored by the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD). RADical Days is underway and runs through November 10th and is designed as a way to thank the public for the sales tax funds that support the region’s parks, libraries, sports and civic facilities, and arts and cultural organizations. This year, there will be 54 free admission events and more than a dozen arts organizations offering music, dance, visual arts and theater experiences. For more information on RADical Days and for a schedule of events, please visit www.radworkshere.org.
Brookline Business Feature
This week’s featured Brookline business is Kelly’s Kollections Boutique, located at 616 Brookline Boulevard. Kelly’s has been open for business for two months and is owned by Kelly Ventrice, formerly Kelly Wallace, a Brookline native. Kellys’ Kollections is a boutique featuring women’s and men’s fashions, clothing, jewelry, sportswear and accessories. They are open seven days a week, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday and 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday. For more information on Kelly’s products visit her at her shop along the Boulevard or call 412-892-8750. Please continue to support local merchants during the Brookline Boulevard Streetscape Project and remember:
Brookline is open for business!
The Pittsburgh Penguins played in their 46th regular season opener on Thursday, defeating the New Jersey Devils 3-0 at CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins played their first regular season game in Pittsburgh, at the Civic Arena, on October 11, 1967 when they lost 2-1 to the Montreal Canadiens. The Penguins have played 3,555 regular season games in the National Hockey League beginning in the 1967-68 season.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
|| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
543 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
524 Pine Hollow Rd
| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216