AHN, Mayor Peduto’s office team up to address challenges for homeless during COVID-19 pandemic

AHN, Mayor Peduto’s office team up to address challenges for homeless during COVID-19 pandemic

PITTSBURGH — There is a new initiative in Pittsburgh focused on the city’s homeless -- bringing resources to the streets and shelters throughout the community.

With evictions at an all-time high due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some families are so financially strapped that they are forced to give up their homes.

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Dr. Patrick Perri, medical director for the Center for Inclusion Health, said the pandemic is “dangerous” for people experiencing homelessness for the first time. But it’s also difficult for those who have been homeless for a while.

“We’re trying to bring care to them in their environment at a time when they may be more disposed to crisis than the average guy,” Perri said.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s office and the Allegheny Health Network have teamed up to address unmet challenges within the homeless community.

“We know right now that our first responders are encountering a lot of individuals with those unmet needs and have been asking for sometime for support, and we also recognize the community has been asking for that same support,” said Laura Drogowski, critical communities manager for the mayor’s office.

The support will help ease the workload for first responders who aren’t necessarily equipped to address certain calls -- such as mental health, behavioral health (including substance use) and physical health.

This new program is made up of a group of teams that will handle those issues in the community. Pittsburgh’s Northside, downtown, Hill District and Homewood teams will offer these tools to practice control infection in homeless communities:

  • Hygiene
  • Masks
  • Education about physical distancing
  • Safe places to shelter in place
  • Access to services
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