City of Pittsburgh launches new council after Second Avenue Commons homeless shelter opens

PITTSBURGH — The Second Avenue Commons homeless shelter is a labor of love for Pittsburgh City Council members.

“I don’t know where we would be without it the facility is beautiful, it’s a beautiful example of private-public partnership. That opening was a major feat for us,” said Councilman Anthony Coghill.

But it’s just not enough for the rising homeless population in the city.

“We have had an influx of homeless whether it be from the end of rental registration or covid there are a lot of different areas that caused that,” Coghill said.

The city has launched a committee with council members to brainstorm what are the options and what are the next steps.

“We know there is another gap to fill and that gap is going to be transitional housing think of it as graduating from second avenue commons into a more private place where you can thrive and get back into society,” Coghill said.

Where and how that happens is the task of this committee. In the meantime, the city just approved nearly $10 million from the American Rescue fund to expand upon the roots program first launched in 2020.

“What they do is go out into the encampments they are the ones that give us our numbers they approach people who are in the tents and access and analyze what kind of help any particular person may need,” Coghill said.

A homeless outreach program will now be able to cover more ground and open more brick-and-mortar space to help.

“They are going to have three vans with limited medical supplies and help transport people whether it be second avenue commons or one of our other suggestions we may come up with. They also will have three drop-in sites, as grateful as we are for Second Avenue Commons we just know it’s not enough,” Coghill said.

The locations for those drop-in sites with more beds are still being finalized with the hope of opening soon especially as temperatures drop.

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