Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

YMCA Opens as Housing Homeless, Low Income to Live There

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

YMCA Opens as Housing Homeless, Low Income to Live There

Article excerpt

The former McKeesport YMCA was rededicated this week as McKeesport Downtown Housing, an 84-unit structure that houses homeless and low-income individuals.

The structure on Sinclair Street, built in 1922, has previously provided housing. When the YMCA of McKeesport merged with the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, the building was set to be demolished, but in 2010 ACTION-Housing Inc. started managing the building to preserve it as well as to provide housing.

Lifelong McKeesport resident Herman Rosner was on hand for the dedication and ribbon-cutting Tuesday. The 96-year-old World War II Army veteran was one of the first to speak out against the demolition of the building, and a room inside the McKeesport Downtown Housing building has been named after him.

"It's a wonderful thing," he said at the ceremony, which was held in the Herman Rosner Community Room.

"I was one of the top leaders of the idea," Mr. Rosner said of maintaining the building as housing for homeless people. "We accomplished a lot," he said. The only thing he regretted was that the pool inside the building was not kept.

"When the YMCA moved, 84 people faced the prospect of losing their homes," said Patrick Fenton, deputy director of ACTION- Housing. Mr. Fenton said the Allegheny County Department of Human Services was concerned that the housing would be lost.

"We substantially renovated four floors," said Linda Metropulos, director of housing and neighborhood development for ACTION- Housing. In the renovation, all athletic facilities were repurposed into usable space, except for the gymnasium, which is still accessible to residents.

"It's a really important project for our community and our county," Ms. Metropulos said.

The facility is made up of 84 single-residence rooms containing 120 to 130 square feet of space. Each room has a bed, table, closet and microwave. A handful of the rooms have private bathrooms. Seven kitchens were added to the building.

Ms. Metropulos said before the renovation, there were no kitchen facilities in the building.

The kitchens, which anyone living in the facility can use, include a stove or induction cooking hotplates, refrigerators and sinks. The building also has a laundry and computer room. …

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