Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization

Genesis Home Program

Finally, a better way to be a home owner!

Are you dreaming of buying your first home? Home ownership is a big part of bringing stability to a family as well as to the neighborhood. Working your way through all the paper work and getting your credit in good order can seem like an overwhelming task for many. The goal of Genesis Home is to help you navigate through all the requirements in as little as 12 to 24 months.

Genesis Home will rent the property at a reasonable rate to any family while they are working with a mentor. The Genesis Home staff will teach you how to budget, repair your credit, work with banks and loan officers and maintain your property. For more information contact us at 454-7814.

In late summer of 2009, the SSJNN purchased on auction a house at 328 W 17th Street. This house (pictured below) will be the second Genesis Home in which tenants will be mentored over a period of two years to prepare themselves to purchase a home.

In an effort to improve housing in the neighborhood, SSJNN works closely with HANDS and the Redevelopment Authority for housing rehabilitation. Home ownership is encouraged and staff work closely with an individual to assist them in the purchase of a home.

On August 27, 2009, HANDS celebrated the completion of the first phase of its Lease to Purchase Homes in the Little Italy Area. The homes are located at 250 and 254 W 17th St.

The new building on 18th and Hickory of 10 unit aprtments for the mentally challenged (with jobs) is nearing completion.

These exciting projects are one more result of the partnerships to improve the Little Italy neighborhood.


Little Italy Farmers Market

Peace by Piece Farms and SSJNN teamed up to organize a new Farmers Market in the summer of 2013 in the parking lot adjacent to St. Paul’s Community Center at 16th and Walnut. Scarce availability of fresh fruits and vegetables for neighborhood residents prompted a discussion about the need for a farmers market in Little Italy.

Four farmers participated in the first market (Honey House Bakery, Raup Farms, Liz and George Farms and Peace by Piece Farm). The market was the first in Erie to accept SNAP benefits (food stamps) from customers. To help stretch family food budgets, contributions by local businesses, Fluid Engineering, Country Fair and Standard Pattern Works, enabled access card users to double their purchasing power.

In June of 2017 we relocated the market to 331 West 18th Street to increase visibility and accessibility for the neighborhood and visitors. We also added capability to accept credit cards, so purchases may be made with cash, credit card, SNAP, WIC or FMNP (farmers market nutritional program for seniors) vouchers. 

We are always expanding the source of fresh fruits, veggies, and baked goods with more vendors willing to join us every Monday from 3:00 to 6:00p.m., June through September. If you are interested in being part of the Little Italy Farmers Market, please contact us!

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In 2012 the SSJNN began an innovative mural art program painting three murals throughout Little Italy. The concept, based on the Philadelphia Mural Arts program is twofold. Each year one mural will be painted as a result of a project that works with children teaching the difference between art and graffiti while implementing an anti-drug message. At the end of the educational program, the children will be involved in the design and painting of the mural. In addition to the murals created by at-risk children, murals are also completed through an RFP process. An RFP is mailed to local mural artists requesting a mural idea and budget based on an allotted amount available per mural. Pending funding, generally at least two murals (public works of art) are created under this RFP process. The mural program is working to revitalize a neighborhood as well as provide cultural opportunities for children living in poverty.

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