Ted Melnyk, our director of family, community and social equity, tells us how this partnership came about: 

In early March ELDI was contacted by the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity at the University of Pittsburgh because they were interested in doing something like a neighborhood tree planting project. Trees are great, but as part of ELDI’s Affordable Homeownership program through the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB), we knew we had three vacant houses that needed interior demolition work…and we figured a bunch of frat boys might like to smash some things up while helping us make these projects even more affordable. When offered the chance they thought it was a smashing idea!

For them, the entire week was part of Pi Kappa Alpha’s week of service which focuses on volunteering and fundraising. It began after the tragic loss of one of their fraternity brothers, George Daly, on February 12, 2015. As put by the brothers; “George was smart, driven, a leader, and embodied everything we stand for as a fraternity. When he took his own life, the chapter, his family, and the entire campus community were devastated.” Every year since, Pi Kappa Alpha raises money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

On April 10th, about 25 brothers showed up and worked liked seasoned professionals on three vacant houses, pulling down ceilings and walls, hauling debris to the dumpsters, smashing up cabinets, and of course, eating pizza. It was a great day of service for their cause and for ours. Thank you Pi Kappa Alpha!

Learn more about The Garfield Affordable Homeownership Project:

The Garfield Affordable Homeownership project is a response to the lack of affordable housing and the threat of displacement for residents in Garfield, a rapidly developing neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Garfield’s turn-of-the-century homes require extensive renovations, including the modernization of plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems, making the purchase and repair of these homes out of reach for many residents. This project will result in the rehabilitation and resale of eight homes, four of which will be reserved for homebuyers with disabilities or a history of domestic violence or substance abuse. To enhance the project’s success, East Liberty Development, Inc. will engage Open Hand Ministries, a Garfield-focused general contractor, and Circles Greater Pittsburgh, an organization that identifies qualified low-income families and helps prepare them for homeownership.