Nonprofits Get State Funds To Help Revitalize Communities, Aid Those In Need

December 18, 2018

SCRANTON — Six organizations in Northeast Pennsylvania received state funding to continue their work revitalizing distressed neighborhoods and assisting people in need.

The funding comes from nearly $18 million in Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credits announced Monday by Gov. Tom Wolf for 136 applicants statewide.

The tax credits help businesses and community organizations invest in projects, particularly in low-income areas that need assistance most, Wolf said. Project categories include affordable housing, community services, crime prevention, education, job training, food, blight, special population issues, veterans initiatives and longterm community revitalization.

“Fostering public-private collaboration and encouraging investment are some of the best ways we can revitalize low-income areas,” Wolf said in a statement. “When we lift up our distressed communities, we lift up the entire commonwealth.”

United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania received the largest local amount — $160,000 — for its ongoing activities in the 500 block of Cedar Avenue in South Scranton.

Because the $160,000 grant comes in the form of tax credits to three other organizations donating to UNC, the funding actually will translate into a $200,000 gain for UNC, said Chief Executive Officer Michael Hanley. Peoples Security Bank & Trust Co. is donating $100,000, while PPL and PNC Bank each are giving $50,000; and they each get an 80 percent tax credit, he said.

Through the grant, UNC will continue several projects, including a farmers market, health clinic, English as a second language/citizenship classes, and conversion of the landmark Peoples Security Bank & Trust Co. on Cedar Avenue at Alder Street into a business incubator and offices for UNC.

UNC received the same $160,000 of state tax-credit grant funding in each of 2016 and 2017, under an arrangement that calls for a six-year commitment from the partner donors and the state. In this way, over six years, UNC will have received $1.2 million, Hanley said.

“It gets the local corporations involved and gives them a vehicle to invest right in their neighborhood and communities,” Hanley said of the tax-credit program. “It’s a win-win.”

The other NEPA tax credits included:

n $148,347 to the Commission on Economic Opportunity serving Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties, for assisting that organization’s Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank to distribute nearly 10 million pounds of food annually, as well as for training and building capacity of food-bank members.

n $35,625 to Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, for a pilot program encouraging integration of the Hispanic community by involving high school students in hands-on projects to develop creative, problem-solving, entrepreneurial and artistic skills.

n $19,250 to Treatment Court Advocacy Center of Lackawanna County in Scranton, for veterans education and employment training and support with housing, transitional and transportation needs.

n $18,750 to NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania in Scranton, for workshops on sustainable homeownership, foreclosure prevention and counseling, homebuyer education, loss mitigation and loan modification.

n $7,500 to the Greater Carbondale YMCA for various improvements, including a park with an ADA-accessible trail, playground, splash pad, meditation garden and sports fields.

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