A Building of History


“People working together providing opportunities that will empower families and individuals to discover, acknowledge and develop their maximum potential physically, spiritually and economically.”

Hosanna House and Its Community

Once a thriving borough east of Pittsburgh, Wilkinsburg has absorbed more than its share of social and economic dislocation over the past 25 years. The decline of the steel industry in the 1980s hit the town especially hard. In that decade, Wilkinsburg experienced significant negative changes, including a 40 percent population loss, substantial lowering of household income, increasing crime rates and a major shift from two-parent households to single, female head-of-households. In 1987, Wilkinsburg was declared a distressed community.


That same year, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Social Work issued a study concluding that the best way to assist this distressed community was to establish a comprehensive health and human services community center that would provide critically needed services. After this study, a local community organization was sought to take up the challenge to establish this center. Covenant Church of Pittsburgh stepped forward and accepted the leadership challenge and founded Hosanna House as an independent, IRS Section 501(c)(3), charitable non-profit organization in 1990.


"There is something about the building, this place...it is in the center of the community and stands like a beacon proclaiming that hope is alive."


Leon E. Haynes, III, the first and current Executive Director of Hosanna House, led the community building process that initiated critical health and human services, established partnerships with other non-profit agencies and obtained a facility to house these comprehensive programs and services. Mr. Haynes brought together government, business, community, social service, school and religious leaders to help in making the community center a reality.


In the early 1990s, Hosanna House was able to purchase the abandoned Horner Middle School, which is located on Wallace Avenue in the heart of Wilkinsburg. In 1996, Hosanna House, Inc. - Wilkinsburg Community Center of Western Pennsylvania officially opened its doors. Through community funding and the help of more than 500 volunteers, this 4-story, 125,000 square foot building was completely renovated over an 11-year period from 1995-2006. In 2003, the Sherwood Event Center property was acquired to meet the need for summer recreational programs. This property is a 14-acre facility featuring a large swimming pool, tennis courts and basketball courts. Sherwood is also available for public rental on weekends and during the week after 5:00pm. The rental income is used to support Hosanna House's programs and services.


"The first 20-years of Hosanna House were like a rocket launching, rising away from the ground, but not having arrived at our destination. Now we're ready for the second stage to take us to our ultimate destination."


Today, Hosanna House impacts the lives of over 35,000 people each year. On any given day, as many as 1,000 community residents come into the center to receive or deliver services. Within Hosanna House you will find quality health and human services including:

  • Early childhood education
  • Youth leadership training and mentoring
  • Family support services
  • Educational opportunities
  • Career development services
  • Medical and dental care
  • Pregnancy care services
  • Health and fitness programs
  • Swimming lessons
  • Food assistance programs

All of the services provided have been initiated as a response to the needs of the community.

Hosanna House History Video

To view the history of Hosanna House, please click HERE to watch our YouTube video.