County Executive-elect Innamorato speaks at NCDF luncheon
By Sean P. Ray | Managing Editor
*Editor’s note: The Northside Chronicle operates under the Neighborhood Community Development Fund.
NORTH SHORE — Allegheny County Executive- elect Sara Innamorato gave her first speech since the election at the annual luncheon of the Neighborhood Community Development Fund (NCDF), held on Nov. 17.
Innamorato used her speech to highlight some of her goals and priorities she plans to pursue once she takes office on Jan. 2. The luncheon was held at Rivers Casino and featured several business and community leaders from across the Pittsburgh region.
A highlight of her comments was Innamorato saying she wanted to create an equivalent to the OwnPGH Homeownership Program at the county level. OwnPGH is run by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and provides up to $90,000 to first-time homebuyers purchasing a home within Pittsburgh.
“This is an awesome program that helps build wealth for generations, stabilizes neighborhoods and helps attract new populations,” she said. “We can do things like this, like OwnPGH, countywide. There’s nothing stopping us. We just need to see what is working now and work together to scale it up so we can make an even bigger impact.”
Innamorato serves on the board of the URA, specifically acting as the board treasurer.
She pushed for the county to provide matching funds for Allegheny municipalities when seeking grants, calling “almost… downright irresponsible” for the county not to do so.
Calling back to her days as a state representative, Innamorato said she wanted to put more resources toward utilizing the Whole Home Repairs Act, a bill which she sponsored back in 2022. The act provides funds to low and moderate-income homeowners and small landlords for home repairs, as well as funding blight removal.
Innamorato also said she wanted to encourage the construction of new housing, wanting to look if there were any ways the county was making the process of building homes harder and trying to ease the burden. Along similar lines, she further said she wanted to see if the county had any outdated or inefficient regulations for small business- es, and that she was open to suggestions on that front.
Other goals Innamorato discussed included fully funding the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) and reducing barriers for people seeking to apply to government jobs, such as by allowing people with high school diplomas or who have passed General Education Development Tests (GED) to apply.
Innamorato’s administration is planning a public transition process, involving “surveys, community conversations, door-to-door canvassing” and other such methods. She said more information will be available at alleghenyforall. com.
As mentioned, the NCDF hosted the luncheon and updated the public on its activities.
Andrew Cheeseboro, resource development officer for NCDF, gave a presentation and indicated that 2023 was the new best year in terms of lending for the fund along several metrics. The fund’s previous best year was 2022.
The fund closed 112 loans for the year, equating to $7.3 million, compared to 88 loans and $5.7 million last year. A total of 87 loans went toward minority- owned businesses for $4.4 million distributed, compared to 53 loans and $2.8 million last year.
The fund also increased the number of loans and money given to women- owned businesses, at 51 loans compared to 39 and $2.1 million compared to $1.7 million last year.
Finally, the fund had 59 loans toward businesses owned by low-income people in 2023, equating to $2.7 million, compared to 17 such loans and $900,014 last year.
As part of the luncheon, NCDF Executive Director Mark Masterson was presented with two awards by the U.S. Small Business Association for being the number one micro-loan lender in Western Pennsylvania for both 2022 and 2023.