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Needy city neighbors get $601K in help

| Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009, 12:00 p.m.

The Pittsburgh Foundation has awarded 10 grants totaling $601,000 from Neighbor-Aid, a relief fund to help residents hurt by the recession, foundation officials announced Monday.

Neighbor-Aid was set up in December by The Pittsburgh Foundation, other local foundations, the United Way of Allegheny County and civic leader Elsie Hillman in response to the demand for social services.

The grants come from a pool of $895,000 raised by foundations and individuals. The money addresses four areas: housing, food, utilities and transportation.

"Although we raised a good amount of money," said Grant Oliphant, president and CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation, "we need to raise a lot more because the level of need in the community is so great."

The first round of grants leaves a balance of $294,000. The fund's grantmaking committee will meet again in March.

Here are the grants:

• $15,000 to the Brashear Association for families and individuals needing help with housing, utilities and transportation

• $100,000 to the Dollar Energy Fund for utility assistance to needy families

• $10,000 to Focus on Renewal's Community Center and Emergency Food Pantry

• $200,000 to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to provide food to 380 member agencies

• $40,000 to North Hills Community Outreach for food, utility assistance and emergency financial aid for other essential needs

• $22,000 to Community Auto to buy cars and establish an emergency repair fund for low-income buyers

• $69,000 to East End Cooperative Ministry to meet the rising demand for its food pantry and Men's Emergency Shelter

• $80,000 to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh to give direct aid to families and individuals in need

• $50,000 to the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development to provide transportation, utility and housing assistance to the working poor

• $15,000 to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to buy mattresses and bed frames for needy families

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