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Pittsburgh, PA 15219





Neighborhood Allies Proudly Announces the Launch of the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series!

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A $75,000 Catalytic Grant Award to Omicelo Cares, marks the launch of the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series!


“The City of Pittsburgh is pursuing a new model of equitable growth and opportunity in our economically disadvantaged communities. We are excited to co-launch this initiative, which we believe can increase the opportunities for our residents and stakeholders to participate in and benefit from the revitalization of their own neighborhoods.”

Presley Gillespie, President of Neighborhood Allies

Neighborhood Allies and Omicelo Cares are the co-creators of the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series (“Co-Powerment Series”) which will serve as an education platform to demystify the real estate development process, explain its associated terminology and demonstrate how community members/organizations can meaningfully contribute to real estate projects within their own neighborhoods. This pilot initiative will be a combination of in-class instruction, coaching, and mentorship.

An overarching goal of the education series is to shrink the technical proficiency gap that exists between real estate developers and community leaders that are involved in local development projects. We hope to create long-term, working relationships between private developers, real estate experts, community based organizations, business owners and active community members.

As the co-creator and primary administrator of the program, Omicelo Cares will produce the final curriculum, create two real estate course-tracks: one for beginners and another for those more advanced, administer pre-and post- class surveys, interview and hire instructors and monitor mentee/mentor relationships.

“We are confident that neighborhoods can improve holistically, without unnecessary displacement, when world class education is introduced to the community at the same time that new real estate development is bubbling.”

Joshua Pollard, Board President of Omicelo Cares

Other key partners include the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Green Building Alliance and NeighborWorks of Western PA.

The Co-Powerment Series will include 3 months of instruction specifically geared toward the participants’ projects. Each session will be a learning circle/workshop environment with the assistance of technical experts where the lessons learned become immediately applicable to the participants’ day-to-day leadership activities. Our goal is for at least 1 of the real-world projects to be developed after each course is complete.

The pilot class will consist of 20 students (2 cohorts of 10) from neighborhoods on the cusp of significant change, specifically Neighborhood Allies’ 6 priority geographies (Homewood, the Hill District, Hilltop, Larimer, Millvale and Wilkinsburg)  with the potential of having additional participants from other local neighborhoods. Students will be community residents, CDC/CBO staff members, non-profit board members, small business owners with varying levels of exposure to the real estate discipline.

At the end of the course, students will:

  1. Be able to evaluate deals and negotiate based on market realities and for the benefit of residents;
  2. Improve their ability to articulate community vision and expected outcomes utilizing the language of development;
  3. Identify creative ways to participate financially in development opportunities;

The kick-off event of the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series will be a city-wide conversation on gentrification on March 29, 2017 at the August Wilson Centre of African American Culture followed by a six week class for ten pilot students from April 18, 2017 to May 25, 2017.

For more information on the Co-Powerment Series, contact Emily Hammers at

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