When the COVID-19 crisis hit, so much became uncertain, but one thing didn’t change and that is our ability to do what we need to do to help our neighbors. If you take Mr. Rogers’ advice, you can look for the helpers, and that is what this post intends to help you do. Pittsburghers have big hearts and now more than ever we are banding together to support each other through this crisis. Below you’ll find information on urgent needs and how to connect to housing, food and mental health services. A solid first step for any and all of these needs is the United Way’s 211 service. Access information from the website, via text – text zip code to 898-211, or call 211.
For folks in immediate need of shelter, Allegheny Link is the best first step, as this organization connects to short-term and long-term housing resources. Go to the website, Allegheny Link or call: 866-730-2368. The organizations serving homeless populations via shelters and other support services are taking new approaches in their work to increase the safety of clients, including CHS providing new spaces with the ability to isolate those in the high risk category for COVID-19. Organizations like Operation Safety Net and Community Human Services continue to serve clients, whether it be in homeless camps or via remote intake.
Night shelters are still in operation, and include Bethlehem Haven, Light of Life, and Northside Cooperative Ministries, It is highly recommended that Allegheny Link is contacted first, rather than the shelter itself. Many day shelters and drop in centers, such as Wellsprings and 412 Youth Zone, are closed for safety, but community members can still access services via phone, text, or social media.
For those currently housed but with concerns over the stability of their situation, the URA has responded to the COVID-19 crisis with the Housing Stabilization Fund.
Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services has created an interactive food map to help find food resources for anyone, anywhere in the county. Use it if you need access, share it out, and volunteer to update and keep it accurate it if you can!
The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank has been working tirelessly with partners to serve the community in new ways in light of the pandemic, including adding a new distribution site. You can find the latest on their Facebook page.
412 Food Rescue continues to deliver to partners like housing authorities, daycare centers, churches, community centers, and with partners have added services like bus routes with grab and go meals. Keep an eye on their social media channels to find out the continued new services created in response to COVID-19.
For information and services directly related to COVID-19, you can access a new resource put together by the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) and the United Way 211. Please call 888-856-2774 for 24 hour access.
Peer support: the Warm Line is staffed by mental health consumers who provide support to peers by telephone. All phone calls received are kept confidential and callers remain anonymous. Contact information: 1-866-661-WARM (9276) (10:00 am – Midnight daily).
Folks who need to find AA or NA meetings can check out the Pittsburgh Area virtual meetings.
Mental health crises can be addressed by contacting RESOLVE Mental Health Crisis Line: 1-888-796-8226. They will meet you where you are, and the service is free.
The office of the first lady of Pennsylvania is working hard to assess needs for food and shelter across the state so we can respond with the right services. You can complete this survey regarding shelter, and this one seeking information on food needs to help the state allocate resources in the most effective way.
Even More Information
The information provided in this blog post was sewn together with information shared by amazing library colleagues, wonderful partners, and from some thorough guides that are floating around via social media right now. Even more resources are below, thanks to all these folks. Please check these links out, as they are much more exhaustive and worth a look/contact!
- Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services put together an Emergency Resource Guide.
- If you are in need of resource information regarding jobs, business, or nonprofits, check out this in-depth Eleventh Stack post by Wesley from CLP.
- Ehrrin Keenan from Bridge to Mountains has put together an extensive and evolving guide.
- Elected officials can also direct constituents to resources, and you can find your reps here to get their contact information.
Did we miss anything essential? Please add it in the comments, as our landscape continues to change in order to best take care of each other.