Affordable Housing Program Success Stories
Former Scranton Orphanage and School Transformed into 30 Apartments
When the flu pandemic of 1918 hit the United States, many children were left orphaned and homeless. In response, the Catholic Diocese of Scranton opened Saint Stanislaus Orphanage and School for dependent Polish children, which eventually became home to more than 8,000 children in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Nearly a century later, the Diocese is still reaching out to help area residents by offering decent affordable housing.
Project sponsor Catholic Social Services, Inc. of the Diocese of Scranton redeveloped the old orphanage and school located in the city of Nanticoke into Saint Stanislaus Apartments: 30 one-, two- and three-bedroom general occupancy apartments for families, seniors and veterans. Four units are wheelchair-accessible.
On hand for a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony and blessing was former resident Joseph Karpinski, who lived at the orphanage from 1930 to 1945.
“Our childhood memories are in this building. This place helps connect all of us orphans. That is why we all come back here to visit. It was our home and we are family to each other,” said Karpinski during welcoming remarks. Twenty former residents traveled to the event from as far away as Texas, while others hailed from New York City, Philadelphia and the local area.
Dignitaries who spoke at the dedication were the Most Reverend Joseph Bambera, Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton; Reverend James Nash, Pastor, St. Faustina Kowalska Parish, Nanticoke; and Stephen Nocilla, Diocesan Director of Housing and Residential Services for Catholic Social Services.
Originally designed in the Spanish mission style, two former buildings – known as the girls and boys buildings – were architecturally preserved and conform to their original historic detail. The buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Half of the new apartments are currently occupied, and several families are in the process of moving into their new homes. An on-site Intergenerational Center will also be developed to encourage cultural exchange and to inspire collaboration in health and wellness, the arts and literacy, and the environment.
FHLBank Pittsburgh member PNC Bank, N.A. provided $165,000 in Affordable Housing Program (AHP) funds to help meet total development costs of $8.9 million. The project was also funded in part by $2.4 million in federal stimulus funds, as well as funding from Luzerne County, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and the Weinberg Foundation, with additional equity from another FHLBank member, First National Bank (formerly Community Bank & Trust of PA).
In closing remarks, Nocilla said, “We’re looking forward to serving the community for at least another 92 years.”
Through AHP and a variety of other programs and initiatives, FHLBank Pittsburgh is proud to support its financial institution members and communities across Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.