Homeless population up by 21% in Allegheny County

PITTSBURGH — Homeless encampments are growing in the city of Pittsburgh. Viewers have reached out to Channel 11 telling us they’ve seen tents popping up where none used to be.

Numbers released by Allegheny County in May and counted in February show a 21% increase in documented homeless from the same time period in 2021.

“We are in the middle of a crisis,” Jerrel Gilliam said. He’s the director of Light of Life. It’s an organization that deals with the homeless in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

“We are stretched to the max right now. We built this facility for a 20 homeless overnight shelter. We’ve already had to increase that. First, 10 additional to three. Now we have [...] another 15 in overflow.”

The increase in people has not gone unnoticed.

“We were driving around and we saw the tents,” Heather Levine said. She’s visiting from Phoenix.

What’s causing the increase? Gilliam says it’s a perfect storm of evictions, drugs, mental health and something else.

“I believe inflation is impacting everyone. So, it’s making it more difficult for people to go to work, to find work [...] it’s a ripple effect into a population that’s already on edge.”

He says faith-based groups, individual citizens and government groups all need to be part of the solution.

Take a deeper look into the stats here.

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