Wolf Administration Highlights Affordable Housing Investments During Tour of Former Holy Rosary School in Erie

$613,000 in state support is expanding affordable housing options for low-income families in need

Erie, PA – Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin was joined today by Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper and Erie Mayor Joe Schember to discuss the Wolf administration’s support of affordable housing initiatives as he toured the Mercy Center for Women’s former Holy Rosary School facility. Made possible through $613,125 in tax credits from DCED’s Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP), the new facility will serve urgent housing and recovery needs of low-income families when it is completed in early 2022.

“The commonwealth is proud to support the Mercy Center for Women as they expand services,” said Secretary Davin. “It’s vital for us at the state level to do everything we can to invest in our communities and strengthen public-private partnerships, and the Neighborhood Assistance Program accomplishes both of those goals. This project is proof that when businesses and nonprofits team up with a shared vision of improving their community, everyone wins.”

NAP awardees were announced in November and the funding supported 220 community revitalization projects across Pennsylvania. The NAP funding awarded to Mercy Center for Women is being used to renovate and convert the former Holy Rosary School into housing apartments, a thrift store, community room, and more.

“We are grateful for the Neighborhood Assistance Program and our funding partners for supporting this transformation of a former school building into much-needed permanent housing in the community we serve,” said Jennie Hagerty, Executive Director, Mercy Center for Women. “The NAP is allowing us to provide 13, two-bedroom furnished apartments as well as career services, a food pantry, healthcare and mental health services.”

Mercy Center for Women purchased the former school, which is adjacent to their existing transitional housing facility, in 2020. The total cost of the purchase, renovations and furnishing of the facility is $2.5 million.

“The investments made by the commonwealth to Erie County via the Neighborhood Assistance Program are invaluable,” said County Executive Dahlkemper. “This program creates a win-win for the funding businesses and Erie County residents. The redevelopment of Holy Rosary facility is an important project and an excellent example of how this program can be utilized.”

“Our community has been increasingly trying to take advantage of the opportunities provided by this great program. It’s truly a win for businesses, the organizations seeking the support, and for our community as a whole,” said Mayor Joe Schember. “I’m proud of the businesses that have stepped up to invest in such a worthwhile project. Your support will make all the difference in the world to the women and families who find their way here. Thank you all for helping to Build Opportunity, Restore Hope, and Transform Erie.”

NAP encourages private sector investment in non-profit community projects by providing tax credits to businesses that donate capital to address neighborhood and community initiatives.

Through the NAP in 2021, Mercy Center for Women has been awarded $613,125 in NAP tax credits, leveraging $817,500 for the project from financial contributors including:

  • Accudyn Products
  • American Tinning and Galvanizing
  • Calypso Enterprises
  • Erie Insurance
  • Marquette Savings Bank
  • Northwest Savings Bank

“Participating in the NAP allows Calypso to steer its own tax liability to making targeted and meaningful investment in community work,” said Laura Guncheon, Vice President Project Management Office, Calypso Enterprises. “It’s a really special thing to be able to make a phone call that can change the trajectory of a project, an organization, and ultimately even a life.”

Mercy Center for Women provides safe and supportive transitional housing, education and counseling for homeless women with or without children. Additionally, they provide connections with social service agencies and volunteers to form a network of ongoing support, mentoring and education to residents and women in the community. Since 1994, Mercy Center for Women has served more than 8,000 women and children in the Erie community.

For more information about the Wolf Administration’s commitment to community development, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Penny Ickes, dcedpress@pa.gov

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