About Us

Building United of Southwestern Pennsylvania (BUSP) is a Pennsylvania 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation with a goal to provide quality homeownership opportunities to families with low-to-moderate incomes.  The organization represents an innovative approach to providing community development projects through the facilitation of faith-based initiatives. The board of directors for the organization is comprised of Bishops and Clergy representing several denominations, each committed to rebuilding communities through collaborative efforts.  BUSP represents through our board all of the churches in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church, Bishops from the Church of God in Christ, the Apostolic Church of Pittsburgh, a Mennonite Bishop, a leading A.M.E. pastor, and two Bishops from the Charismatic tradition.  There are approximately 1,200 churches and more than 500,000 people represented by BUSP.  Leading clergy from the faith community in the Greater Pittsburgh Area were convened to discuss ways to respond to the growing demand of congregants and neighborhoods for affordable quality housing.  A Board of Bishops and other leading clergy was formed in 2000. BUSP was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on July 13, 2001, and became a 501 (c) (3) on April 11, 2002.   

BUSP believes that because homeownership helps stabilize families, neighborhoods, and communities, it is important to find ways to increase homeownership among families with low-to-moderate incomes. Homeownership also creates wealth and builds assets, both of which are foundational keys to stabilizing families and communities and restoring life in dying urban communities. BUSP’s board decided to target Homewood-Brushton as a community that it wanted to make a difference in, so we looked for an opportunity there.

BUSP purchased 45 housing units from HUD in August of 2003.  These units are situated on three sites which are in very close proximity to each other. (See map of project site in Appendix B) With community input and the assistance of community planning consultant BUSP developed a plan to demolish those buildings and construct 30 single family homes for people with of low-moderate income that were. This project is being done in collaboration with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation (PHDC) as our development consultant and BUSP as the developer.

 

OUR MISSION

Our goal is to stabilize families, neighborhoods and communities by providing quality sustainable homeownership opportunities to families with low-to-moderate incomes. We work under the precept that financial literacy is a prerequisite to owning and maintaining a home and help people overcome the daunting obstacles of poor credit and lack of money for down payment and closing costs. We make the home-buying process easier by helping people reduce their debts, accumulate assets and by bringing those in need who desire to become homeowners together with those who control the resources to make that happen.

We see ourselves as the bridge that links supply and demand by connecting those who want to become homeowners with those who have the resources to make that happen.  As a bridge BUSP provides the support system and resources to lead families out of debt toward financial stability and wealth accumulation.

 

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

BUSP is at the forefront of providing assistance towards sustainable homeownership for low-to-moderate income families. BUSP seeks to secure the trust and confidence of not only the potential buyers of our home building projects, but also the immediate and surrounding community as a whole. Our emphasis on the faith-based aspect of our intent and motivation provides a substantively deeper experience and reward for all participants in our endeavor.

The uniqueness of BUSP faith-based ecumenical collaborative gives us leverage to attract resources and support in the following three areas:

  • Real estate development
  • Financial literacy education
  • Workforce development

Looking at each of these, it is clear that BUSP stands alone in the services it provides in Homewood-Brushton and, as such, is ideally situated to secure its niche.

Faith-based, ecumenical Community Development Corporation

No other ecumenical faith-based Community Development Corporation in Pittsburgh is involved with housing development. While there are other faith-based organizations active in housing development, BUSP remains the only one which was founded at the outset on an ecumenical, collaborative membership of diverse congregations. With a wider network of support and emphasis on both low- and very low-income home ownership opportunities as well as on low-to-moderate and mixed-income developments, BUSP seeks to promote the comprehensive development of the Homewood-Brushton community.

 

NEIGHBORHOOD DESCRIPTION

Trends show that Homewood-Brushton is a neighborhood that experienced a decline in population between 1990 and 2000 and it has experienced a significant increase in the number of single-parent households.  Seventy-six percent of these homes are currently female headed households.  Homewood-Brushton demographics include:

  • Homewood South, is 97% African American, has, 2,047 units, 78.6% occupied, 21.4 % vacant, 29.5% owner occupied, 49% rental, and 37.6% homeownership.
  • The median income is $19,482 for Homewood South.
  • 31% of the adults in the community have less than a High School degree.
  • 35.2% of residents live with income below the poverty level.
  • 64.8% of the populace lives 200% below the poverty level.

BUSP was awarded $1.4M from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, approximately $2 and from the Urban Redevelopment Authority(URA) of Pittsburgh, and a construction loan of $850,000 from Bank of New York Mellon for the project. An additional $250,000 in infrastructure improvements was provided by the URA.

Phase I construction on ten units was been completed in 2010.  All ten have been sold and there is a waiting list for homes in Phase II which began in January 2011.

FAITH SAVES

Faith Saves is a collaboration with Consumer Federation of America and Prudential Financial Services to address the following issues:

  1. Low credit ratings of families with low-to-moderate incomes;
  2. Lack of accumulated assets.
  3. Changing the way people act and think in terms of taking control of their finances.
  4. Lack of understanding of how financial markets and institutions function.

To meet these needs BUSP along with our collaborating partners developed a six week comprehensive financial literacy curriculum that can be tailored to meet the needs of various audiences.