HANDS : Housing And Neighborhood Development Service

Housing And Neighborhood Development Service
Housing Application
About Us


OCTOBER 1966 Incorporation of St. Martin De Porres Voluntary Improvement Housing Association with registered offices at 948 West 6th Street, Erie, Pennsylvania.  Incorporators: Gilbert and Jane Kuehl, Charles and Katherine Scalise, John Poux. Recorded at Courthouse on November 14th, 1966.
JULY 1967 At the suggestion of Jane Kuehl, the VIP ORGANIZATION changed its name, legally, to HOUSING AND NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT SERVICE (HANDS)
JULY 1967 Loans totaling $ 5,703.16 were given to 6 families. The money was raised by Board members from contact with individuals and churches. By July, the HANDS Board consisted of 11 members. At the end of July, three more families were assisted with decent, safe, and affordable housing.
DECEMBER 1967 The first contact with the executive staff from Pittsburgh FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION (FHA). First knowledge of the (221-h) program of home ownership. HANDS was first housing agency to use this new housing law.
FEBRUARY 1968 HANDS sponsored an Adult Education Course of six weeks programming. Topics such as consumer education, and family finances were covered at St. Martin's Center. The previous history of community programming in 1965, and 1966 saw HANDS Incorporators sponsoring a Good Neighbor Pledge campaign in the county...inter-racial home visits, crafts program at public housing sites.
JUNE 1968 HANDS Board now consists of twenty-eight members. Since June of 1965, $19,546.40 has been raised through fund raising by Board members. Members spoke before many church and community organizations telling the story of the housing problems in Erie. 15 families have been assisted since 1965.
AUGUST 1968 St. Patrick's Church lent HANDS $10,000 at 3% to be used for down payments in the land contract program. The Closing on the 221-h project of 5 properties .n the West bayfront area was held at MARINE BANK. HANDS was first in State to use this program with Director of FHA doing actual closing documentation on "hot line" to the Washington office of FHA.
SEPTEMBER 1968 Field office at 218 East llth Street purchased... remodeling done by volunteers.
NOVEMBER 1968 HANDS Home Management Center opens with Sister Alice, OSB as Director. The United Fund, Erie Endowment, and other groups/individuals contributed for all the equipment needed to run this Center.
DECEMBER 1968 Twenty-seven families have now been assisted with housing since May, 1965.
JANUARY 1969 HANDS borrowed $8,500 at 3% from Father Plunkett to continue lending money for the land contract program.
FEBRUARY 1969 UNITED FUND OF ERIE COUNTY funds Home Management Center for $17,000 as seed funds for one year operations.
MARCH 1969 HANDS becomes tax-deductible. BETTER HOUSING FOR ERIE (Catholic Diocese project) asks HANDS to become management agent of 12 units.
MAY 1969 New staff to replace Benedictine Sisters at Home Management Center...program changed more direction by individual Board members, committees, and Family Council. Board of Directors meets periodically with all HANDS families at Open Houses and programs held at the CENTER.
SEPTEMBER 1969 HANDS becomes first agency to sponsor FHA #235 home ownership program for 5 families.


DECEMBER 1969 HANDS Rent Supplement #1 started with 7 units. MODEL CITIES Agency funded HANDS for $40,000 on a one-year contract to counsel and relocate families in the Model Cities area (center city-Erie).
APRIL 1970 Termination of Home Management Center staff due to staff not getting cooperation from HANDS families and not following guidelines set up by Board of Directors. Temporary staff set up to cover Center programming.
SEPTEMBER 1970 GECAC funds HANDS for $15,242 to cover the costs of staffing. Funding from the Department of Community Affairs, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was presented. Final approval from DCA to come in January 1971.
DECEMBER 1970 HANDS starts 2nd Rent Supplement Project of 16 units.
JANUARY 1971 U.S. Department of HUD approves the Comprehensive Housing Counseling contract with HANDS. This contract is nonfunded.
JUNE 1971 HANDS begins employment contract with Charles R. Scalise as Executive Director through Department of Community Affairs Since its inception, Scalise served HANDS as a volunteer Director/President. H.A.N.D.S. negotiates for the third Rent Supplement for 40 units...cost: $500,000.
AUGUST 1971 HANDS applied for tax exempt for real estate, and sales tax exemption.
DECEMBER 1971 HANDS enters into development of Rent Supplement Project #4 for 40 units.
NOVEMBER 1972 HANDS assumes the Management of all BETTER HOUSING FOR ERIE (Catholic Diocese projects) - 52 units.
DECEMBER 1972 Closing for Rent Supplement Project #4
FEBRUARY 1973 HANDS wins the Max C. Currick Brotherhood Award...the name plaque is attached to the Currick Award at the Erie Public Library.
JULY 1973 HANDS approved for real estate tax exemption.
JANUARY 1975 HANDS begins research/negotiations for purchase of the Richford Hotel for housing for the elderly.
FEBRUARY 1975 HANDS begins study of ST. JOSEPH ORPHANAGE for possible elderly housing project.
APRIL 1976 HANDS assists INDEPENDENCE HOUSE in obtaining financing and approval from HUD. HANDS provided office space for staff of INDEPENDENCE HOUSE.
OCTOBER 1976 Received approval for Section 202 funding for 190 units from HUD for the development of the ST. JOSEPH APARTMENTS.
SEPTEMBER 1977 HANDS received approval from the PENNSYLVANIA HOUSING FINANCE accepting the Hotel Richford Project for funding... but HANDS declined the funding due to full commitment to the ST. JOSEPH project. HANDS competed against 1,300 non-profit groups throughout the nation to get approval/funding for Section #202 for ST. JOSEPH APARTMENTS.
MAY 1979 STAIRWAYS, INC., received approval for the Gage Apartments, a seven unit facility. HANDS is consultant, and management for them.
APRIL 1982 ST. JOHN LUTHERAN submits proposal for 80 units...HANDS is consultant for this project.
MAY 1983 Flexible Subsidy rehab monies given to HANDS/BETTER HOUSING. The MIO Plan monies up-dated and renovated all HANDS Rent Supplement projects and BETTER HOUSING units. The grant amounted to 1.7 million.
JANUARY 1984 ST. JOSEPH APARTMENTS purchase computer system to assist in rental management, accounting and word processing.


HANDS Field Office at 218 East llth Street was sold to Emmaus Soup Kitchen.
NOVEMBER 1984 HANDS new office completed and all front line operations were moved to the new location of 139 E. 12th Street.
SEPTEMBER 1985 The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) contracts with HANDS to administer their Minority Homeownership Program for Black and Hispanic first time home buyers.
NOVEMBER 1985 St. John's Dufford Terrace project approved by HANDS Board of Directors for consultant/management contract. Charles R. Scalise, acting as consultant for 72 unit project. DUFFORD TERRACE APARTMENTS owned/funded by St. John Lutheran Church.
FEBRUARY 1986 Additional Funding ($100,000) from DCA as a grant for the ST. JOHN'S DUFFORD TERRACE was obtained by Charles Scalise for additional work on the project's grounds.
SEPTEMBER 1986 Board approves of assisting ST. PATRICK's HAVEN with HANDS locating housing for the shelter for street people.
OCTOBER 1986 HANDS approved for $10,000 for housing counseling program through HUD so that HANDS on-going housing counseling program can be expanded under the direction of Charles G. Scalise, Associate Director of HANDS.
NOVEMBER 1986 HANDS purchases house at 147 East 12th Street, Erie for ST. PATRICK'S HAVEN. HANDS will rent building to ST. PATRICK'S HAVEN who will administer the housing of street people, and related social programs.
DECEMBER 1986 HANDS celebrates 20th anniversary of incorporation with a dinner on December 21st.
JANUARY 1987 HANDS received a $10,000 grant from the U.S. Department of HUD to provide Comprehensive Housing Counseling to HUD/FHA related clients.
APRIL 1987 Housing Opportunities, Inc. of McKeesport, PA announces that HANDS has been selected to become a franchisee of their HOPE (Home Ownership Protective Effort) counseling program.
MAY 1987 The City of Erie announces that HANDS will receive a $14,900 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to pay for exterior renovations to St. Patrick Haven - shelter for the homeless.
JUNE 1987 Dufford Terrace Apartments is officially dedicated. HANDS was the consultant/developer and management agent for this 72 unit elderly project.
JULY 1987 A full-time Housing Counseling position has been created in preparation of the HOPE program.
SEPTEMBER 1987 HANDS housing counseling department receives a $5,000 grant from HUD for FY 1987-89.
JANUARY 1988 Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs awards HANDS $57,303 for improvements to St. Patrick Haven.
MARCH 1988 The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, (PHFA), awards HANDS $1,013,662 to renovate a 30 unit apartment building for single disabled homeless persons. The apartment complex is named after Charles and Katherine Scalise, incorporators of HANDS.
MAY 1988 The Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs awards HANDS $16,000 for Comprehensive Housing Counseling Program from the Employment and Community Conservation Program.
JULY 1988 The Department of HUD and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare awards HANDS a total of $280,000 to purchase and renovate the Sharp Apartments; permanent housing for 8 disabled homeless and 2 low-income individuals.
SEPTEMBER 1988 HANDS awarded $1,008,500.00 from the U.S. Department of HUD 202 funds. Funding will be used to construct the HANDS Center City Apartments; a 20 unit building for the non-elderly disabled and handicapped.
SEPTEMBER 1988 The U. S. Department of HUD awards HANDS $5,000 for their Comprehensive Housing Counseling Program.
OCTOBER 1988 The HANDS Board of Directors launch the HOPE Adopt-A-Family. Local church and civic groups will provide financial support and general assistance to families enrolled in the HOPE counseling program.
NOVEMBER 1988 HANDS Housing Counseling Staff begin Holiday Adopt-A-Family Program. This program generated of $3,500 in gifts, food and money for 16 families in the Housing Counseling Program.
DECEMBER 1988 Erie County Emergency Food and Shelter Board Awards HANDS $8,000 to be distributed to families/individuals for emergency rent assistance. Counseling staff anticipates assisting approximately 32 families with one month's rent to avoid eviction.
JUNE 1989 HANDS won "Franchise Agency of the Year" award from Housing Opportunities, Inc. for outstanding work offering the HOPE Program in Northwest Pennsylvania.
AUGUST 1989 The HANDS West Apartments opens. This project was financed by HUD, the PA Department of Community Affairs and the PA Department of Public Welfare.
SEPTEMBER 1989 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awards HANDS $5,250 to provide Comprehensive Housing Counseling to residents of Northwest Pennsylvania.
OCTOBER 1990 The HANDS Center City Apartments opens. This building features 20 one-bedroom apartments for the non-elderly disabled and was developed using HUD Section 202 funds.
DECEMBER 1991 Residents move into the Terrace Overview Apartments. Located in Meadville Pennsylvania, this HUD 202 project was sponsored by United Community Independence Programs. HANDS serves as the management agent.
APRIL 1992 The Irma Seligman Apartments open. Sponsored by Stairways, Inc. with HANDS as the consultant, this 20-unit apartment building for the Chronically Mentally Ill is under the joint management of HANDS and Stairways.
JUNE 1992 HANDS is awarded $30,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs to help leverage $1.1 million of HUD funds through the Section 811 program.
JULY 1992 The City of Erie commits $200,000 through the federal HOME program to fund the renovations of St. Hedwig School into 10 units of senior housing. HANDS qualified as a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) in order to receive these funds.
Ribbon Cutting for the Irma Seligman Apartments.
SEPTEMBER 1992 HANDS was awarded $1.1 million dollars by the U.S. Department of HUD through the section 811 program to construct five four unit buildings for the chronically mentally ill.
Martin Luther King Center, Bayfront NATO, Inc. was awarded $2.2 million dollars to construct a 40-unit elderly apartment complex. HANDS serves as the consultant to this project.
MAY 1993 The Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs commits $200,000 to the St. Hedwig Senior Living complex.
AUGUST 1993 HANDS Board of Directors adopts amended and restated ByLaws in compliance with the regulations for a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO). HANDS will be able to apply for special funds under the designation.
SEPTEMBER 1993 U.S. Department of HUD awarded HANDS $796,336 to develop 14 units in Crawford County for persons experiencing Chronic Mental Illness. The HANDS Triad Apartments will be located at three different sites and is a combination new construction and rehabilitation project.
U.S. Department of HUD awarded HANDS $2,618,700 for the development of the Maryvale Apartments project. HANDS is serving as co-sponsor with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania. The rehabilitation of a former college dormitory will house 43 "at-risk" elderly and one site manager.
OCTOBER 1993 City of Erie awarded HANDS an additional $100,000 to complete the funding for the St. Hedwig Apartments development.
DECEMBER 1993 Executive Director, Charles R. Scalise, announces his retirement effective at the end of December. The Board of Directors appointed Associate Director, Charles G. Scalise, Executive Director effective January 1, 1994.
MARCH 1994 Construction of the St. Hedwig Apartments begins.
MAY 1994 Submission of a U.S. Department of HUD 202 project for 20 elderly housing units in Meadville.
MAY 1994 Submission of a U.S. Department of HUD 811 project for 12 units for individuals experiencing mental illness in Erie.
JULY 1994 Award notification of a U.S Department of HUD Drug Elimination grant for $77,855 for the housing developments HANDS East, Old and West.
SEPTEMBER 1994 Founding Director of HANDS, Katherine L. Scalise dies. Katherine was a strong proponent for the rights and needs of those less-fortunate in the Erie Community.
SEPTEMBER 1994 PNC Bank awards HANDS a grant for $3,000 to continue community development/funding activities through additional staff capacity.
SEPTEMBER 1994 Award notification of a fund reservation from the U.S. Department of HUD for a Section 202 project to develop 20 units for frail elderly in Meadville, PA, called Brookside Apartments.
SEPTEMBER 1994 Award notification of a fund reservation from the U.S. Department of HUD for a Section 811 project to develop 12 units for persons experiencing mental illness. The project is for two building sites within the City of Erie, named Niagara Apartments.
JUNE 1995 The Villa Maria Housing Partnership (HANDS, Sisters of Saint Joseph, and Halliday Properties, Inc.) was awarded $1.1 million from PennHOMES deferred loan program. The funding will provide the rehabilitation of the Villa Maria Convent between West 8th and 9th Streets and Liberty Street in Erie for 72 new apartment units for the very low-income elderly and small families.
JUNE 1995 HANDS received $83,000 in Tax Credits from the Department of Community Affairs. This amount equals approximately $166,000 that will go toward the development of affordable housing in Erie and Crawford Counties.
JULY 1995 Since its inception, HANDS has been awarded, from various funding sources, over $19,000,000 to develop affordable housing for persons in Erie County and the surrounding areas.
JULY 1995 HANDS, in conjunction with the Booker T. Washington Center, St. Martin Center and Artists Inc., received funding to implement the Dept. of HUD's Drug Elimination Program in the Better Housing Neighborhood for a second year. Funding went towards lighting, fencing, and programming for the neighborhood. The total amount awarded was $78,000.
AUGUST 1995 HANDS awarded a HUD Drug Elimination grant for the second consecutive year for the neighborhood surrounding the Better Housing area. The amount awarded was $77,000 towards program expansion and learning activities for the children and their parents residing in the neighborhood.
SEPTEMBER 1995 HANDS as consultant is awarded a HUD 811 project for ten (10) units of housing in Clarion, PA for persons experiencing mental illness. The project is sponsored by United Community Independence Programs (UCIP) with supportive services provided by the Clarion County office of Mental Health/Mental Retardation.
OCTOBER 1995 HANDS moves to new office location at 502 East 12 Street, Erie, PA 16503.
FEBRUARY 1996 Open House is held at the new offices of HANDS. Board members and over 100 local community representatives attend the event.
JUNE 1996 HANDS in coordination with Stairways are instrumental in beginning a housing initiative in applying for housing funds for the needy with 15 Western Pennsylvania Counties. This effort was applauded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, The Department of Community Affairs, and the Department of Public Welfare as a remarkable accomplishment and an "extraordinary effort to improve the housing available to homeless persons in Western Pennsylvania." - Charles Curie, Deputy Sec. for Mental Health, DPW.
AUGUST 1996 HANDS receives final funding and approval for the Villa Maria Housing project for low-income elderly at the location of the former Villa Maria Convent. Funding sources include the City of Erie, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, The Department of Community Affairs and The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwest Pennsylvania.
OCTOBER 1996 HANDS in Cooperation with the Booker T. Washington Center, Catholic Charities, and the St. Martin Center begin implementation of a HUD program initiative called the Neighborhood Network Center Computer Program. Although there is limited funding for the computer center, HUD encourages the establishment of these centers through community based funds, in efforts to empower subsidized housing residents of all ages by providing them with onsite access to computer and training resources and links to the computerized community. HANDS is donating funds for the operations of the program. The Booker T. Washington Center is also providing funds for operations and donations have been received from PNC bank and private individuals. This Center received an award by HUD as an outstanding program and the first one of its kind in this Mid-Atlantic Region.
NOVEMBER 1996 On November 10th founder and former President of HANDS, Charles R. Scalise, Sr. dies of Cancer at the age of 65. "Charlie" was the driving force behind the success of HANDS, and was instrumental in the successful coordination of all project aspects, from development through construction. Charles was preceded in death by his wife, Katherine Scalise, with whom he co-founded and incorporated HANDS and later, St. Joseph Apartments. Charlie was well liked by public officials, residents of HANDS housing, and staff, for his perseverance in the development of affordable housing. He was the recipient of many community and service awards for his work. He will be sorely missed by all in Erie area for pioneering the development of over 550 housing units, and for his dedication and belief in community issues.
NOVEMBER 1996 HANDS receives funding for 811 project for persons with physical disabilities. This is the first all physically disabled project for HANDS. HANDS worked with many local disabled and accessibility agencies to determine need and development of the project. The project will provide ten independent apartment units (2, two bedroom and 8, one bedroom units), for persons with physical disabilities at two separate locations within the City of Erie.
NOVEMBER 1996 HANDS receives funding for 811 project for persons with mental illness. The project is named the Kuehl Apartments, after two of the original incorporators Gilbert and Jane Kuehl. The project was developed in coordination with the Erie County Department of Human Services, The Erie County Coalition of Mental Health Consumers and Stairways. The project will provide sixteen units of affordable housing (4, two bedroom and 12, one bedroom), for persons with mental illness at two separate locations within the City of Erie.
DECEMBER 1996 HANDS receives a $5,000 grant from the Erie Community Foundation for the Neighborhood Network Center, which is a computer training center for low-income residents of Better Housing for Erie. Since the project's inception in October of 1997, over ten local agencies have donated funds or supplies towards the program. HUD encourages the establishment of these centers through community based funds, in efforts to empower subsidized housing residents of all ages by providing them with onsite access to computer and training resources and links to the computerized community. As of December 31, 1996, over 133 individuals have registered for the program.
JANUARY 1997 HANDS holds ground breaking ceremony for Villa Maria Apartments. The project is for the renovation of the former Villa Maria Convent previously occupied by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania. Phase I of the project is for the development of 41 units of affordable housing for the elderly.
JANUARY 1997 HANDS receives A $1,000 grant from the Fannie Mae Foundation's Maxwell Awards of Excellence Program, for HANDS Triad Housing in Meadville, PA. The award was one of 30 awarded out of 161 application received. The award was for excellence in providing affordable and innovate housing.
August 2011 Housing and Neighborhood Development Service is recognized by the Erie County Historical Society for the Historical Rehabilitation Preservation of 251 East 12th Street .
October 2011 PAHMA awards HANDS with two Platinum Awards - one for Curb Appeal of St. Joseph Apartments and the other for Marketing and Communication Efforts.
January 2012 Housing and Neighborhood Development Service receives the Award for Excellence for the creation of substantial job opportunities through capital investment in Erie County.
March 2012 HANDS moves to its new home at 7 East 7th Street, formerly the Erie Sports Store downtown.
July 2012 Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett was in town on July 26 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of Woodlands at Zuck Park, HANDS latest housing community for low-income individuals and families.
September 2012 HANDS 1st Annual Block Party markes the completion of Phase 4 on Mid-Town Homes
October 2012 Housing and Neighborhood Development Service wins the PAHMA Platinum Award for Interior Design.
December 2012 The former Battersby Covalescence Home, located at 27th and Peach Streets in Erie, was sold to HANDS, which plans to convert the former nursing home into housing for 20 homeless veterans and their families.
January 2013 "For demonstrating hope, healing, and opportunity in working with families and adults of our community," the staff at HANDS and President/CEO Chuck Scalise were honored at the 3rd annual Dr. King Awards Dinner.

January 2013

The Economic Development Corporation recognizes HANDS as one of the finalists for the 2012 Employer of the Year award.

March 2013
HANDS was recognized for its commitment and innovative approach to identifying and addressing the affordable housing needs of its community by NAHMA at their March meeting in Washington, DC. Chuck Scalise and HANDS Board Officers John Schulze and Mary Kwiatkowski were on hand to accept the award.
May 2013 In the category of "New Construction Under 100 Units," HANDS was honored to receive the NAHMA 2013 Vanguard Award for Woodlands at Zuck Park.