South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Beltzhoover residents can get help with wills and side yards


The Hilltop Alliance (HA) will provide assistance to Beltzhoover residents interested in receiving personal wills and acquiring side yards from the City of Pittsburgh.

The Beltzhoover Blight Fight Grants Program, was announced on Thursday, Dec. 3 to attendees of the Beltzhoover Community Forum at the Beulah Baptist Church.

In researching the history of abandoned, dilapidated, and tax delinquent properties in Beltzhoover, Hilltop Alliance staff found many such properties fell into a state of disrepair after the owners of record passed away without a transfer of house ownership to a defined heir. At the same time, neighborhood residents at a Beltzhoover Community Forum meeting earlier this year began voicing their desires to gain control of poorly maintained, tax delinquent vacant lots adjacent to their homes, many of which share a similar fate to those properties without a clearly defined heir.

Through a grant from the PNC Foundation, the Hilltop Alliance will be able to assist Beltzhoover residents to put an end to this cycle of blight through a Free Personal Wills Program and a Side Yard Grant Program.

The Free Personal Wills Program will connect qualifying Beltzhoover homeowners, 50 years of age or older, with a partnering attorney to provide them with a Last Will and Testament - at no cost - to ensure their homes have a defined heir in the future.

The Side Yard Grant Program will reimburse qualifying Beltzhoover property owners for more than half the costs associated with the acquisition of eligible vacant lots adjacent to their properties via the City of Pittsburgh Side Yard Sales Program, administered through the City of Pittsburgh Real Estate Sales Division. The HA through Beltzhoover Community Coordinator LaShawna Russ and in partnership with the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group – will also assist residents throughout these processes, from start to finish.

“These grant offerings are an innovative, low-cost approach to fighting blight while helping people,” said Hilltop Alliance Executive Director Aaron Sukenik at the 2015 Annual Hilltop Summit. “Empowering people with incentives and technical assistance are the key ingredients to reversing decades of housing vacancy and disinvestment.”


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