Hill District, Squirrel Hill housing projects first to split $1 million from Pittsburgh’s Housing Opportunity Fund

The Urban Redevelopment Authority board voted Thursday to disburse $1 million in loans from the Housing Opportunity Fund for two rehabilitation projects. The action comes a year after Pittsburgh City Council voted to allocate $10 million for the fund and one day after council began reversing a plan to steeply cut city funding for the authority.

There’s a tool that claims to predict potential for criminal behavior. Should PA judges use it in sentencing?

The Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing is considering a “risk assessment” tool, which, according to social justice activists, would reinforce existing bias in the criminal justice system. But the tool’s designers say it would give judges more data to base sentencing decisions on as opposed to primarily relying on uniform guidelines.

The commission is hearing public feedback about the risk assessment tool on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Allegheny County Courthouse (436 Grant St., Pittsburgh).

Jean Ripepi, 87, listens to plaintiffs speak at a meeting at her home in Monongahela, Pa. on August 9, 2018. (Kat Procyk/PublicSource)

Faith and switch: These congregants feel they were baited into giving money to closing churches.

Jean Ripepi, 87, remembers her first mass at St. Anthony Church. The building had two wings separated by a bell tower and stood atop a hill overlooking downtown Monongahela. She was entering a new faith and a new marriage. Ripepi had been raised in the Polish Catholic Church — a sect not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church — and converted to her husband Angelo’s denomination after they wed.

Munhall Mayor Rick Brennan stands outside the borough's municipal building. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Munhall will pursue plans for public park on the land it put up for sale — for now

The Borough Council of Munhall has given Mayor Rick Brennan tacit approval to develop plans for a public park on land in The Waterfront development, despite entertaining a December bid from a construction company to buy the 7 acres. In his first council meeting as mayor on Wednesday, Brennan noted that several council members had voted to file the eminent domain petition in December 2016, requesting the empty lot be transferred to the town from a nonprofit that wanted to offload the tax burden. The petition also stated the borough’s intent to develop a public park there. However, last fall, the council voted to accept bids from private companies — only after Homestead-based Franjo Construction emailed an offer for much less than the land is worth. PublicSource published a story about the land in question and the controversy surrounding it a week ago.

How housing vouchers and ‘Section 8’ stigma fail Pittsburgh’s neediest households

It was one of the coldest February days when the furnace in Doren Dansby’s building broke. Soon after, the electricity in her Mount Oliver apartment started going offline for daylong spells. The landlord, who spoke little English, couldn’t tell Dansby when either would be fixed. She knew she and her 9-year-old son had to get out. “I kept calling 211,” Dansby, 28, recalls.