University of Pittsburgh
November 7, 2004

HUD Funds Pitt Community Outreach Partnership Center, Two Graduate Research Projects

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded the University of Pittsburgh a $200,000 New Directions grant to continue the work of its Community Outreach Partnership Center (COPC) in the Oakland, Oak Hill, and Hazelwood communities.

In addition, HUD awarded grants to two Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) students to support their research projects investigating housing options for low-income households.

The New Directions grant builds on the University's four-year-old COPC that was funded with an earlier $400,000 HUD grant to mobilize students, faculty, and staff members to address problems identified by community partners in COPC neighborhoods, including housing, economic development, employment, neighborhood revitalization, education, and health and wellness. Pitt was the only university in Pennsylvania to receive a COPC New Directions grant from HUD this year.

Under the grant, Pitt's COPC will expand its work to three additional program areas: community organizing for public and environmental safety in Hazelwood and Oakland, active living and youth development to promote recreation and healthy lifestyles for families and youth in Oak Hill and West Oakland, and development of a neighborhood database to assist COPC neighborhoods and, eventually, any neighborhood to study and analyze its community assets and issues. This New Directions initiative also will help the University strengthen service-learning, applied research, and scholarship connected to its community outreach.

Leadership on this new COPC grant will be provided through Pitt's School of Social Work, GSPIA, and the Community and Governmental Relations Office. COPC draws faculty, students, and staff from many schools and programs, including: medicine, law, business, education, public health, urban studies in the School of Arts and Sciences, and the University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR). The New Directions initiatives will involve the University Honors College, the School of Education's Department of Physical Education, the Generations Together program (in UCSUR), and the Collegiate YMCA as new partners.

In addition to the COPC New Directions grant, two GSPIA doctoral students were awarded HUD grants to support their scholarship. Andrew Aurand was awarded a doctoral dissertation research grant for his study titled "Smart Growth and the Cost of Housing: Is Smart Growth Smart for Low-Income Households?" Aurand had previously received an early doctoral dissertation grant from HUD to develop his scholarship. Felix AuYeung was awarded an early doctoral dissertation research grant for his work, titled "Evaluating Rent-to-Own Programs: Path to Home Ownership for Low-Income Renters and Tools for Inner-City Community Development."

These three grants, along with a minority internship grant announced Oct. 6 by Pitt, display an increased interaction between HUD and the University's GSPIA and COPC.

"The University was pleased with its success on all four HUD grant applications made this year, as they will bring important resources for students and faculty members, as well as to community partners in COPC neighborhoods," said Tracy Soska, a lecturer in the School of Social Work and COPC codirector of outreach.

According to Soska, HUD has been supporting university-community partnerships to address housing and neighborhood revitalization since 1994 through its Office of University Partnership.

More information on HUD's university-community initiatives is available online at, and more information on COPC is available at