This Mother’s Day weekend take mom on a Vacant Home Tour or to a mortgage lending workshop and put her on the path to finding a home.

On Saturday, May 7th at 9 a.m. join Dollar Bank and host Lynne Hayes-Freeland at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to learn about how you can own your own home,including getting grant money for closing costs, mortgage options with a low down payment and counseling programs to strengthen and restore credit. Childcare will be available for the free Mortgages for Mothers workshop.  For more information and to register, visit the Dollar Bank website.

Then, starting at 11 a.m., check out a different take on a house tour—the Wilkinsburg Vacant Home Tour will showcase homes that are full of potential. This year’s tour builds on the success of last year’s event, which was developed by students at Carnegie Mellon University in partnership with the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC) in an effort to reframe the issue of blight in Wilkinsburg. “It was a huge success last year with over 600 attendees and over 100 attending the two vacant property acquisition workshops that we held in conjunction with the tour. Allegheny County reported an increase in Vacant Property Recovery Program-related inquiries for Wilkinsburg properties, and one of our lending partners, WesBanco, reported an increase in inquiries relating to their purchase-rehab mortgage product for Wilkinsburg properties,” says Marlee Gallagher, Communications & Outreach Coordinator at WCDC.

Six properties will be featured on this year’s tour, including five vacant homes and one commercial building. Through feedback from last year’s tour-goers, tour coordinators will add new elements to this year’s tour, including recently acquired vacant buildings, Wilkinsburg businesses and organizations, the Wilkinsburg Train Station, Borough Building, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, and historic churches.

A vendor area with local food trucks and info tables will be located behind South Ave. United Methodist Church during the event.

Sign up for a workshop during the Wilkinsburg Vacant Home Tour to learn about building rehabilitation. Photo by Greg Sciulli.
Sign up for a workshop during the Wilkinsburg Vacant Home Tour to learn about building rehabilitation. Photo by Greg Sciulli.

Tour-goers will also have the option to sign up for informational workshops during the event. Last year’s workshop focused on acquiring vacant property. That workshop will be included this year as well as an additional workshop focused on rehabilitating vacant property. Workshops require a separate RSVP due to space limitations.

The Wilkinsburg Vacant Home Tour is presented by the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation and WesBanco with additional support from Community LIFE, Flynn Construction, Neighborhood Allies, Witherel & Associates, Glenn Engineering, Milestone, C.S. McKee, Coro Pittsburgh, Hosanna House, and Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.

Like last year, this year’s event is a self-guided neighborhood walking tour. It will be free and open to the public. Tour-goers will check in at the South Avenue United Methodist Church, located at 733 South Avenue. For more information about the tour and workshops call 412-727-7855.

Maya Haptas has an M.A. in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and is a freelance writer covering various topics from architecture and urban design to wellness and skateboarding. She is currently the assistant editor of Bigfoot Skateboarding Magazine.