Legislation to Expand Neighborhood Assistance Program
On March 10, legislation I authored that would increase funding available through the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) was officially introduced. Senate Bill 512 (SB 512) will increase funding available through the popular tax credit program from $18 million to $36 million annually.
NAP, which was created in 1967, aims to improve the lives of low-income individuals in distressed neighborhoods through the creation of an effective partnership between community-based organizations and the business and corporate community. Projects that are categorized as affordable housing programs, community services, crime prevention, education, job training or neighborhood assistance are eligible for NAP funding. The Charitable Food Program, designed to help regional food banks, also falls under NAP.
With ongoing changes in the economic situation of many neighborhoods over the last several years, tax credit programs have become a more attractive resource for organizations and businesses looking to perform community-based improvement programs. NAP in particular has become an attractive tool used in the rebuilding of neighborhoods and the implementation of community-based improvement programs. As we continue to experience an increase in need for the program, the demand to fund beneficial projects is much higher, placing an increased burden on how much the program can meet the need.
While the need has increased, NAP’s allocation over 50 years has remained constant, at $18 million. During the 15-16 fiscal year, more than 200 NAP applications were submitted totaling close to $35 million in requests. Just in the 42nd Senatorial District alone, projects totaling more than $3.3 million were funded while many potentially impactful and deserving projects did not receive funding.
The expansion of this proven program will allow for more neighborhoods in need to receive the assistance that will help make the difference. SB 512 is currently before the Senate Finance Committee.
Pennsylvania Women Work
Pennsylvania Women Work is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women in transition through job readiness, emotional growth, education, training and employment. Pennsylvania Women Work provides free services to thousands of women each year. The organization’s primary emphasis is to provide comprehensive education, job training, and job placement services to single parents, displaced homemakers, low-income heads of households and women in transition through its New Choices program. Additionally, Pennsylvania Women Work provides other services in the form of transportation assistance and job placement assistance.
Pennsylvania Women Work's New Choices program provides free classes for individuals going through a transitional period in their lives. Classes include career development, an introduction to computers, and customer service training. In addition to group sessions, participants receive individual counseling, career coaching and job search assistance tailored to each person’s particular need.
On March 9, I was pleased to be able to visit Pennsylvania Women Work in their offices in downtown Pittsburgh. It was graduation day for 14 women who recently completed the New Choices program. I was honored to have been invited and to have had the opportunity to speak with the staff and new graduates.
The staff at Pennsylvania Women Work in Pittsburgh do a terrific job and should be proud of the work they do in assisting women in transition. Having the opportunity to hear directly from women who had completed the New Choices program was not only informative but also inspirational. Graduates spoke passionately about what brought them to Pennsylvania Women Work, specifically what they wanted to get out of the program, difficulties they had prior to participating in the program, and ultimately the positive outlook they each have moving forward.
I encourage women who may be struggling with any kind of transition to consider contacting Pennsylvania Women Work for assistance. For more information on all their programs, please visit them online at www.pawomenwork.org or call 412-742-4362.
Did You Know…
Did you know that in the past 20 years that it has been operating, the New Choices program has placed individuals in jobs and training programs with a success rate of over 85 percent?
Upcoming Shredding Events
I want to alert everyone about two upcoming shredding events. On Saturday, April 22, together with Representative Dan Deasy and Crafton and Ingram Boroughs, we are hosting a shredding event at Crafton Park from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Then on Saturday, May 13, along with Rep. Deasy and Green Tree Borough, we are hosting a shredding event in Green Tree Park from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Documents at both events will be shredded on-site by a reputable and bonded company. Also, all papers must be loose, no binder clips or paper clips, and documents cannot be in binders.
With consumer fraud and identity theft continuing to be an issue, we are hosting these events to not only to raise awareness and promote prevention, but also to provide individuals with the opportunity to have unneeded, confidential documents destroyed free of charge. You may bring documents that contain personal information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers and bank account numbers.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is accepting applications for the 2016 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. If you filed a paper rebate last year, you should receive an application in the mail. Applications are also available at my district offices, online at www.revenue.pa.gov or by calling 1-888-222-9190. As always, my staff would be happy to assist you in preparing your application.
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Please keep in mind, half of Social Security income is excluded. Some applicants who previously received rebates may continue to qualify despite Social Security cost-of-living adjustments that may have pushed their income past the eligibility limits.
Applications are due to the Department of Revenue by June 30. The program is funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery and revenue from slots gaming.
Grants to Reduce Underage and Dangerous Drinking
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB) is accepting applications from schools, community organizations, municipalities, law enforcement organizations, non-profits, institutions of higher education, and for-profit institutions, for two-year grants aimed at reducing underage and dangerous drinking.
Grants are intended to fund programs that focus on proven strategies to discourage and reduce both underage and dangerous drinking. The grant cycle is for up to two years, from July 2017 through June 2019, with a maximum award of $20,000 per year and $40,000 over two years. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis and are subject to the availability of funds, and grant amounts will be determined by the Bureau of Alcohol Education.
The deadline to apply is quickly approaching. Applications are due by 4 p.m. on March 31 and must be submitted through PLCB+, an online system developed to streamline licensing and alcohol education functions. More information on this system and on the grant is available by clicking on the “Alcohol Education Grants” tab at www.lcb.pa.gov or by clicking here.
The LCB sets aside roughly $2 million per grant cycle, and initiatives funded in previous years include increased police patrols, social norms campaigns, Parents Who Host Lose the Most campaigns, college alcohol assessment surveys, online alcohol education programs, peer training, and more. There is no limit to the number of organizations from a single county or municipality that may apply for grants, but each must be a separate entity and only one grant will be awarded per organization.
Trout Stocking Schedules Available
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) have 2017 adult trout stocking schedules available online and on the PFBC’s “FishBoatPA” mobile app. Anglers can easily search the trout stocking schedules for locations and dates of interest. To view the list, simply go to www.fishandboat.com, click on the link “Fish” in the upper right corner, then select “Trout Stocking Schedules.” From there, select a county and enter start and end dates from the calendars at the top of the page. Then press “Go.”
For anglers with smartphones, an even easier way to view the schedules is through the FishBoatPA app, which is available for free from the Apple App and Google Play stores.
Included in this year’s stocking lists are the Keystone Select Stocked Trout Waters, a program where 14 waters across the state will be stocked with large 14”-20” trout. Approximately 4,500 large trout will be distributed among the 14 waters at a rate of 174 to 225 per mile, which is comparable to the numbers of similarly sized fish in Pennsylvania’s best wild trout waters.
The program was launched last year with eight waters. This year, six new waters are being added. Click here to see the list of waters. The statewide opening day this year for Trout Season is April 15.
Toast of the Rox
The Greater McKees Rocks Area Rotary Club is presenting Toast of the Rox, a Community French Toast Breakfast this Sunday from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. The event is being held at the Kennedy Township Fire Hall, located at 1796 Pine Hollow Road. A ticket includes one all-you-can-eat breakfast and features a cash Mimosa and Bloody Mary bar. Toast of the Rox is sponsored by Olivia’s Banquet Hall, Silver Star Meats, 5 Generation Bakers, Mancini’s Bakery and Rotary International. All proceeds benefit the Greater McKees Rocks Area Rotary community charity organizations. For information on purchasing tickets, please contact Michelle Foster at 412-331-9282 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Greater McKees Rocks Rotary’s Facebook page.
This Sunday marks the 175th anniversary of Sharpsburg being incorporated as a borough. The original charter was filed on March 26, 1842. Sharpsburg was named after James Sharp, who settled there in 1826 and is the second oldest borough in Allegheny County.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
543 Main Capitol |
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Weekdays – 8:30 am – 5 pm
524 Pine Hollow Road
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
|Northside (Mobile Office)
Carnegie Library |
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212