Front STEPS Advancing
Front STEPS Façade Improvement and Workforce Development Program is overseen by the Lancaster City Alliance and Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County (CAP). The program aspires to provide on the job training by employing local residents to make repairs to the front of buildings in South Lancaster City. The improvements are taking palce in key corridors identified in the Building On Strength Plan as areas of the City in need of investment. The program began in early 2019 with property owners eager to participate and receive grant funding, however, organizers found it challenging to develop the workforce.
The solution came from the private sector. Lancaster City Alliance and CAP recruited the assistance of local contracting companies to take the lead on complicated projects and serve as a referral for individuals seeking work to participate in the program. As local contractors became involved, the program began to take off. The first improvement was completed in September 2019, transforming a condemned laundromat into what is hoped will become a new neighborhood-serving, ground-floor business, with safe and affordable housing opportunities on the upper floors.
What does the facade improvement program mean to you?
“Partnership and cooperation are what we think of when describing the program. Tenants, CAP workers, Lancaster City Alliance staff, and us – all moving toward the same goal,” said Jason and Janae Allgire local property owners involved with the Front STEPS program.
“The project makes a positive impact on the overall neighborhood – one home at a time and can encourage neighbors to do their own improvements. The neighboring property now has a matching, freshly-painted trim,” they added.
The program also trains individuals who have difficulty entering the workforce. As of November 2019, three trainees working on the homes gained employment in the construction industry and two are in the workforce pipeline.