Community News

ABC’s Alfano helps shape Allentown history

PPL Center Plaque

During his years of volunteer service as Chairman of the Allentown Commercial and Industrial Development Authority (ACIDA), ABC’s own Gerry Alfano was among the local leaders instrumental in innovating the financial structure which made possible the development of the PPL Center and other landmark projects driving the historic revival of downtown Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Gerry’s role as a key member of the team that helped make it all happen is now commemorated on this bronze plaque displayed in the grand concourse of PPL Center. Congratulations to all the leaders of business and government who are now immortalized on this lasting tribute to successful teamwork and the shared VALUE OF VISION for better communities.

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Gerald Alfano & Mayor PawlowskiAlliance For Building Communities To Host Open House On Gordon Street
Allentown, Pa. – The Alliance for Building Communities will host an Open House from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 16, to showcase the recent renovations conducted on a home at 612 Gordon St. in Allentown. The Alliance recently completed a deconversion and rehabilitation of the home, which was renovated into a 3-bedroom, 2 ½ floor single family home that will be rented to an eligible family and maintained by the Alliance. Click here to read this article

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Gerald Alfano & Mayor PawlowskiAlliance For Building Communities’ Home Renovation Program Aims For Affordable Housing, Neighborhood Stabilization
Allentown, Pa. – The Alliance For Building Communities has acquired five more properties in downtown Allentown for renovation and rehabilitation to expand the affordable housing stock and improve neighborhood stabilization efforts, including a large apartment building on 10th Street that was the scene of a shooting earlier this year.
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Gerald Alfano & Mayor PawlowskiAlliance For Building Communities Kicks Off Home Renovation Projects To Increase Affordable Housing Stock In Center City
Allentown, Pa. – While City Center and its partners are constructing the offices and PPL Arena that will transform and revitalize Allentown’s commercial core, the Alliance for Building Communities (ABC) is renewing an initiative to renovate and rehabilitate vacant homes to increase the affordable housing stock in the surrounding neighborhoods.
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Family Night at Coca-Cola Park
Grand Slam for ABC Team and Friends

Gerald Alfano & Mayor Pawlowski

Dozens of employees and friends of Alliance for Building Communities gathered for a special Family Night at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown on Wednesday, July 1. A splendid time was had by all with ABC President/CEO Gerry Alfano (above, left) serving as host to an evening of food, fun and family. Before a crowd of 7,000, Maggie Michalak, 12, (above, right) represented Alliance for Building Communities in throwing out the first pitch of the match between the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders, which our home team won 3 – 2.

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Gerald Alfano & Mayor PawlowskiThe Provident Bank Foundation (www.providentnjfoundation.org), which supports organizations that are dedicated to improving the lives of residents in the communities served by Provident Bank, has provided Alliance for Building Communities (ABC) with a $5,000 grant to support the rehabilitation of three vacant, blighted homes in center city Allentown, PA. Thru the Affordable Housing Program ABC selects, acquires, and renovates vacant, blighted properties. The properties are then sold or rented to low to moderate income families that have attended classes on budgeting and home ownership. The agency's staff will the monitor the families' progress in achieving their financial and housing goals. Click here to read this article

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Gerald Alfano & Mayor PawlowskiAlliance For Building Communities To Host Open House On Chew Street
Allentown, Pa. –Alliance for Building Communities (ABC) will host an Open House from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 to showcase the recent renovations conducted on a home at 928 Chew St. in Allentown.

ABC recently completed a rehabilitation of the home, which was renovated into a 2-bedrooms single family home with a huge backyard that will be rented through the Affordable Housing Program to an eligible family and maintained by Alliance for building Communities (ABC).

Before-and-after photos will be presented, said Alliance President and CEO Gerald F. Alfano. Meanwhile, work will begin this month on a property at 244 N. 2nd. Street, Allentown, which will be deconverted to a single-family home.

In existence since 1975, the Alliance for Building Communities serves an area in northeastern Pennsylvania that includes Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Carbon, Monroe and Schuylkill Counties. The organization owns and operates over 500 rental units and eight multi-family buildings in the five counties.

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ClaudiaABCs Claudia Cintron Grows Confident With New Responsibilities
As a New York City girl, Claudina Cintron doesn't get rattled easily. As part of the property management team for the Alliance for Building Communities (ABC), she handles the desperate and sometimes irate calls from tenants with the same aplomb as she fields mailbox questions from the neighborhood letter carrier.
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Residential Renovations Help Revitalize Allentown's Downtown

Residential Renovations

In 2012, Alliance for Building Communities completed renovations on the Greystone Apartments, providing 24 affordable apartments adjacent to Allentown's Neighborhood Improvement Zone. Image credit: Keenan-Nagle Advertising.

Allentown, Pennsylvania, once home to thriving iron and silk trades, has suffered from the decline of its manufacturing sector since the mid twentieth century. In addition, the economic downturn of the late 2000s left the city with an unemployment rate of nearly 10 percent and a poverty rate almost twice as high as that of the state of Pennsylvania in 2013. Allentown is sponsoring several economic development programs to revitalize its downtown and waterfront districts, as well as to improve economic conditions throughout the city. To support these efforts, the city is strengthening neighborhoods near its downtown to attract workers and customers for the new businesses. To address the roughly 800 foreclosures in Allentown as of 2014 a nonprofit housing provider, Alliance for Building Communities (ABC) is renovating vacant, condemned, and deteriorating housing in the area and designating the units as affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households. Read More


Affordable Housing Complements Economic Development in Allentown

One of the economic development programs Allentown has initiated is the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) to encourage development in the downtown and in a declining industrial area along the Lehigh River. The special taxing district, authorized by the state of Pennsylvania in 2009, allows the city to devote certain state and local tax revenues generated in the NIZ to help fund economic development projects in the district. The 128-acre district was initially created to fund the PPL Center, an arena for a minor league hockey team and special events that opened in September 2014. Several other economic development projects have been funded by NIZ, including new and retrofitted Class A office and retail space, a full-service hotel, and high-rise residential units.

In addition to NIZ, other programs are helping to spur the revitalization of Allentown. The city and several organizations are partnering to encourage economic development in areas of downtown outside of the NIZ; focused on historic preservation, this program provides money for façade improvements and upgrades to lighting and signs. Grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are also being used to transform brownfield sites throughout Allentown into development opportunities; and an EPA Brownfields Sustainability Pilot has targeted environmental remediation and redevelopment of a former industrial site on the Lehigh River waterfront that was incorporated into the NIZ when the district was created. In addition, a HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant is funding a reindustrialization strategy for the city that will include detailed plans for redeveloping the Little Lehigh Creek corridor and the Allentown Metal Works site.

Revitalizing vacant and distressed properties for use as affordable housing complements these economic development efforts. Research shows that vacant and abandoned properties have negative effects on communities that can be reversed when the properties are revitalized. Repurposing these properties as affordable housing can also yield economic benefits. Studies have also shown that affordable housing development not only helps stabilize neighborhoods by reducing foreclosures but also boosts economic development efforts through increased spending in the area. Affordable housing can also help attract workers for the new businesses, and housing construction creates additional jobs that bring more money into the local economy.

Alliance for Building Communities' Revitalization Efforts

ABC is a nonprofit that revitalizes and manages affordable housing and provides access to HUD-certified housing counselors. ABC manages more than 500 units in 6 counties in northeastern Pennsylvania. ABC's properties in Allentown include the Greystone Apartments adjacent to the NIZ.

Greystone Apartments' three buildings, comprised of 24 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, were originally constructed in the early 1900s. The buildings had fallen into disrepair by the time ABC began revitalizing the property in 2010. ABC undertook extensive renovations to the property, including improvements to the heating, air conditioning, and plumbing systems. ABC also installed additional insulation and replaced the windows.

The roughly $5 million cost to renovate the property was funded through low-income housing tax credits and the Tax Credit Assistance Program. ABC also used funds from HUD's Housing Choice Voucher program to make the 24 units affordable to low-income households, ensuring that tenants pay no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent. Renovations were completed in 2012, and the building quickly exceeded 95 percent occupancy.

Renovations of Vacant Single-Family Homes

In 2013, ABC initiated a program to renovate between three and five vacant houses per year in neighborhoods throughout the city. ABC is purchasing the condemned homes from the city's redevelopment authority to repair and rent to low- and moderate-income households. According to ABC president and chief executive officer Gerald Alfano, the organization's strategy is to select homes in clusters, so that their renovation will foster revitalization in the surrounding neighborhood.

To kick-start the program, ABC renovated four homes in 2014 (at an average cost of $100,000 each) and is acquiring and renovating additional houses. Some of the homes have been converted from two- or three-unit buildings to single-family homes, with gutted interiors and repairs to exterior walls and roofs. According to Alfano, the city's HOME Investment Partnerships program has funded most of the renovations, requiring the renovated units to remain affordable for a minimum of 15 years. Alfano notes that these rental units are in high demand, and ABC has waiting lists for properties whose renovations are not yet complete.

Continuing Work in Allentown

In addition to ABC's ongoing work on single-family homes throughout Allentown's neighborhoods, the organization is completing renovations on a 23-unit rental property it manages on 10th Street, adjacent to the NIZ. To reduce displacement, units in the nearly 30-year-old building are being renovated as they become vacant. While ABC is completing renovations on the 10th Street apartments and undertaking similar residential renovation projects, the organization is also interested in expanding its affordable housing efforts in northeastern Pennsylvania. ABC is seeking to collaborate with other nonprofit organizations to develop mixed-income housing.

These revitalization efforts have shown signs of success, with Fortune Magazine designating Allentown as one of its "5 cities with up-and-coming downtowns" in 2014. As city programs encourage economic development in the NIZ, efforts by ABC and other affordable housing providers both further the city's revitalization and ensure that low-income households have the opportunity to benefit from Allentown's reviving economy.

ABC Scholarship Helps Allentown Youth Reach For the Skies

ABC Scholarship

Sacred Heart Principal Jim Krupka, right, and Sandino Rodriguez meet with scholarship sponsors Bob Burkholder, left, president of Burkholder's Heating and Air Conditioning, Emmaus; and Gerald Alfano, president and CEO of Alliance for Building Communities.

Sandino Rodriguez has high hopes. Real high.
The 11-year-old fifth-grader at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Allentown wants to be a Navy flyer, someday. He's keeping his dream alive by working hard in school, especially in his favorite subjects – spelling and math.

The Alliance for Building Communities is helping Sandino keep his dream alive, as well, by sponsoring the scholarship that allows him to continue attending the school his mother attended, as a child.

The Alliance in 2013 kicked off a scholarship program in conjunction with Sacred Heart Elementary School in Allentown to provide $4,000 to cover the tuition, books and uniform costs for a fourth-grader. In 2014 it is working with Burkholder's Heating and Air Conditioning of Emmaus, said Alliance President and CEO Gerald Alfano. "We picked Sacred Heart because it is bilingual, it is right in the middle of the neighborhoods we serve and many of the children of our residents attend the school," he continued. "When I mentioned it to Bob Burkholder, he very graciously offered to work with us on the project and I appreciate his contribution." Read More


"I've known Gerry for a long time and we have been working together for a while," Burkholder said. "When he mentioned the scholarship I thought it was a good opportunity to work together and help the kids. I've met Sandino and he is a nice kid. He's working hard."

About 80 percent of Sacred Heart's students are able to attend the Catholic school because of scholarships such as the one provided by the Alliance and Burkholder's, says Principal Jim Krupka. For students like Sandino and their families, it gives them a choice on education, Krupka said.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Scholarship Foundation, a charitable trust committed to funding Catholic education in the Diocese of Allentown, is most appreciative of the continued support of Alliance for Building Communities and Burkholder HVAC, said Janis Geist, Catholic School Scholarship Administrator for the Diocese of Allentown.

"The need for scholarships, such as the one provided by ABC and Burkholder HVAC is great, as we continue to have many families who struggle to provide their children with an excellent faith based education," Geist said. "When businesses contribute to the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholarship Foundation they are providing a choice for families and a brighter future for all students."

"I know that Sandino and his family are truly appreciative of this scholarship and look forward to providing progress reports to ABC, to ensure accountability of Sandino's academic progress and ABC's investment in this scholarship initiative, she added.

Krupka describes Sandino is a "very nice kid" and an "average to above-average student" when it comes to his grades. "He is also a pretty good mathematician," said Krupka.

Sandino's mother, Wilmaline Rodriguez, said the scholarship came at a particularly beneficial time and she is very grateful to the Alliance and Burkholder's for their support. "It means a whole lot," she said, noting that she has been out of work for several months because of medical issues. "It was sent by God and came at the right time."

Meanwhile, Sandino continues to work hard and is now looking forward to his first adventures with the Sea Cadets, which helps train youngsters ages 11 to 17 in the nautical skills such as knot tying and splicing, signaling, water safety and swimming, first aid, and even fire-fighting. Cadets also learn military drill and discipline, as well as naval history and ship vocabulary from active and retired military personnel, as well as civilian volunteers.

He can't wait to get started, he says, but he knows it is just the beginning. He has higher goals.

"I want to fly a plane," Sandino says.

Community loan pool expanding into the Lehigh Valley

A Montgomery County-based community loan fund is expanding its reach into the Lehigh Valley with an eye toward more affordable housing and community development projects in Northampton and Lehigh counties.

Community Lenders has gathered a consortium of six banks -- Embassy, American, National Penn, Univest, Provident and QNB -- that have so far committed just under $3 million to the loan pool, according to Executive Director Audrey McMichael.

Community Lenders has been working in Chester, Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties for 15 years. McMichael, who is based in Souderton, said the consortium now totals 30 banks that provide a $10 million loan pool in that area. Read More


The banks are required under the federal Community Reinvestment Act to include lending to low- and moderate-income borrowers in the communities in which they operate. Federal regulators will review a bank's efforts to meet a community's credit needs when considering merger and acquisition applications.

Gerry Alfano

Lending is limited to nonprofits and some private investors, and individuals cannot borrow from Community Lenders.

The vast majority of clients, about 90 percent, are nonprofits, which benefit from fixed-rate loans, McMichael said. In some cases, there may be enough equity in a project to also roll mortgage points into the loan, she said.

Community Lenders will loan to private investors who are investing in affordable rental projects such as Housing Choice Voucher programs, according to McMichael. And the group will also make loans to nonprofits that had previously partnered with a private developer to develop a tax-credit housing project, she said.

Once the tax credits expire -- as does the partnership generally -- Community Lenders can help the nonprofit purchase the project and continue to manage it as it had done, McMichael said.


Gerry Alfano is president and CEO of Alliance for Building Communities, an Allentown-based nonprofit that owns and manages affordable housing projects in five counties.

The group may look at utilizing Community Lenders for some of its rehabilitation projects such as plans to convert a former manufacturing building on North New Street into 24 affordable rentals, Alfano said.

Alliance for Building Communities has used federal HOME grants to finish other projects, but there's just not a lot of that money going around and it only pays about 30 percent of a project's costs, according to Alfano. The group, for instance, recently received $39,000 in HOME funding from Allentown for a $110,000 project, he said.

As development continues in Center City, Alfano said he sees a greater need for this type of funding mechanism.

"My office is at Eighth and Hamilton and for years I'd look out the window and there was nobody out there," he said. "Now at lunchtime it's mobbed."

As development continues, Alfano feels the commercial development will spread outside the downtown along with a need for more housing. It's still hard to get a mortgage in this financial climate, so the need for rentals remains high, he said.

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Livingston Manor

Offering shade and outdoor seating areas on the walkway grounds of Livingston Manor in Bethlehem, this new gazebo was recently constructed by the Alliance for Building Communities maintenance crew in September, 2014. One more example of the skills ABC's own team putsto work for our residents every day.

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Renaissance PartnersAlliance For Building Communities To Honor Allentown Renaissance Partners,
Employee of the Year

Allentown, Pa. – Three key players in Allentown's renaissance and a Center City student who will receive a year-long scholarship to Sacred Heart School will be recognized next month when the Alliance for Building Communities hosts its 2014 Annual Dinner and Community Partnership Awards.
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Brad FatzingerBrad Fatzinger Works Behind The Scenes
To Keep Doors Open, Lights On

As Vice President of Finance, most of Fatzinger's work is done behind the scenes so he is not as visible as property managers Pat Stefanek and Xia Yang, Social Services Director Maria Isador, or even President and CEO Gerald Alfano. But his job is just as important – in some ways, it may be more so.
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ABC EmployeeABC Employee of the Year Brings Personal
Passion And Experience To The Job

When Xia Yang returned to the Alliance for Building Communities (ABC) a few years ago after a brief stint with another employer, it wasn't the money, the benefits or the perks that brought her back.
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High-Rise CommunityFamily Atmosphere Keeps
High-Rise Community Together

Ever enter one of those homes where you can immediately see the affection between family members by the constant, good-natured teasing? There is usually a clear message that while they can poke fun at each other, they will be back-toback to deal with anyone outside the family who gives one of them a hard time.
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Affordable HousingAlliance For Building Communities' Home Renovation Program Aims For Affordable Housing, Neighborhood Stabilization
Allentown, Pa. – The Alliance For Building Communities has acquired five more properties in downtown Allentown for renovation and rehabilitation to expand the affordable housing stock and improve neighborhood stabilization efforts, including a large apartment building on 10th Street that was the scene of a shooting earlier this year.
Click here to read this article

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Gerald Alfano & Mayor PawlowskiAlliance for Building Communities kicks off renovation in center city Allentown
The Alliance for Building Communities kicked off a program to renovate housing stock around Allentown's urban core Tuesday with an announcement of a $90,000 renovation on North 10th Street, ABC's newest property at 245 N. 10th St. will be renovated and de-converted to a single family home with the help of a $30,000 grant from the East Stroudsburg Savings Association, according to a news release.
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Vacant Allentown homes targeted for affordable housing renovations
As Allentown undergoes major City Center redevelopment, one nonprofit agency is looking to improve vacant city homes in the surrounding neighborhoods. Alliance for Building Communities is kicking off an effort to renovate and rehabilitate vacant homes and increase the city's offerings of affordable housing. It is starting with the $90,000 renovation of 245 N. 10th St., which is being converted into a two-story, three-bedroom, single-family home.
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Wells FargoOn behalf of Wells Fargo, I would like to congratulate you on being selected as a recipient of a $1,000 Community Partners Program grant. Wells Fargo is proud to support nonprofits that work to strengthen our communities. Through corporate and foundation grants, we share our success by investing in nonprofit organizations that address vital community needs in areas including education, community development, arts and culture, human services and the environment.
Click here to download this letter

We Get LETTERS!

We Get Letters $3,700 Alliance Scholarship awarded to Allentown fourth-grader Allentown, PA – Alliance for Building Communities, Inc., recently launched the need-based annual Alliance Scholarship program for elementary school students with its first award of $3,700 issued on September 13, 2013.
Click here to download this letter

PA Housing Association Names Lehigh Valley Exec to Board

PA Housing AssociationThe Pennsylvania Affordable Housing Management Association (PAHMA) has announced the appointment of Gerald Alfano of Allentown to its board of directors.

Alfano is president and CEO of Alliance for Building Communities, Inc. (ABC), an Allentown-based non-profit providing affordable housing for seniors and modest income families throughout a 6-county region of eastern Pennsylvania.
Click here to download Press Release

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy ThanksgivingResidents and staff throughout the Alliance for Building Communities network gathered to give thanks and share the joys of having healthful, happy homes. Captured here in photos are thankful moments at the Greystone Apartments in Allentown and the Livingston Apartments in Bethlehem.
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Restored Historic Buildings Make Way for Affordable Housing in Tamaqua, Pa.

Liberty HallCommunity developers in the Borough of Tamaqua, located in Schuylkill County in northeastern Pennsylvania, have been busy the last several years spearheading community revitalization efforts to transform historic, vacant buildings into affordable housing for residents. Their latest revitalization project was unveiled at a recent dedication celebrating phase two of the adaptive reuse project, Liberty Hall Complex.
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Looking Ahead

Gerald Alfano & Mayor PawlowskiOn May 23, 2012, ABC hosted its highly successful Partners in the Community Awards Celebration in Allentown. With the support of our sponsors, staff and believers in ABC's work, both attendance and contributions set a new record.
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency was the 2012 Partners In The Community Award honoree. The evening's keynote speaker was the Honorable Ed Pawlowski, Mayor of the City of Allentown, who provided exciting insights into the game-changing renaissance now reshaping Pennsylvania's third-largest city.

ABC HeadquartersIn a move to better align ABC's own financial assets with our mission, the Alliance for Building Communities headquarters building on Hamilton Street in Allentown was sold to neighboring Alvin H. Butz, Inc. in 2011. ABC's more affordable yet perfectly functional offices now occupy the fourth floor of Hamilton and 8th Street, just steps from our previous location, and both the Butz organization and ABC have new room to expand in the reenergized business environment of Downtown Allentown.

ClothingClothing production took place once more at the Hamburg Knitting Mill. In order to provide baby clothing and blankets for Mary's Shelter of Reading, which recently expanded to Allentown, three local women knitted, cross-stitched and crocheted 54 items that were donated to the shelter on Sept. 26. Knitting Mill Apartment building manager Kathryn Tavares, along with apartment residents Betty Angstadt and Judy Golden, worked on the articles of clothing and blankets for approximately eight and a half months before handing the donated goods over to shelter associate Laura Stewart. The impetus for the project came after Golden read a newspaper article that discussed the expansion of the shelter to Allentown.

Golden then took the article to Tavares to see if she thought it was a good idea for charity work. After agreeing on the idea, work began on the pieces. Read More

Available Units Annual Reports

  • Joseph Medl, Chair

  • Sandy Colon, Vice Chair

  • Altagracia Mercado, Secretary

  • Joseph E. Schupp,Treasurer

  • Michael Garger, HR Chair

  • Craig Evans, Community Relations Chair

  • Michael F. Bradley

  • Shannon Calluori, Real Estate Committee Chair

  • Radames Gonzalez

  • Nathan Chappell

  • James Rotherham

  • Elizabeth Martinez

Click on the links below
to view board members.

ABC Tamaqua Hi-Rise, Inc.

  • Gerry Alfano, President

  • Joe Medl, Vice President

  • Pat Stephanic, Treasurer

  • Sandy Colon, Secretary

  • Altagracia Mercado

  • Shannon Calluori

420 E. Broad Street

  • Gerry Alfano, President

  • Joe Medl, Vice President

  • Pat Stephanic, Treasurer

Eagle Valley Senior Housing, Inc.

  • Joe Medl, President

  • Gerry Alfano, Vice President

  • Mike Corso, Secretary

  • James Rotherham

  • Shannon Calluori

  • Mike Bradley

Greystone Apartments, Inc.

  • Joe Medl, President

  • Gerry Alfano, Vice President

  • Altagracia Mercado, Secretary

  • Joe Schupp, Treasurer

  • Radames Gonzalez, Resident Rep

401 Hazle Street, Inc.

  • Gerry Alfano, President

  • Joe Medl, Vice President

  • Pat Stephanic, Secretary

  • Sandy Colon

Knitting Mill, Inc.

  • Gerry Alfano, President

  • Joe Medl, Vice President

  • Craig Evan, Secretary

  • Shannon Calluori, Treasurer

Livingston Manor Senior Apartments

  • Gerry Alfano, President

  • Joe Medl, Vice President

  • Altagracia Mercado, Secretary

  • Joe Schupp, Treasurer

  • Mike Bradley

  • Nathan Chappell

LVHDC (Catasaqua Towers)

  • Joe Medl, President

  • Gerry Alfano, Vice President

  • Joe Schupp, Secretary /Treasurer

Mountain View Slatington

  • Gerry Alfano, President

  • Joe Medl, Vice President

  • Joe Schupp, Treasurer

  • James Rotherham



Employees