City, county collaborate on homeless program

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Allegheny County and the city of Pittsburgh yesterday announced the creation of a program to provide financial assistance and other services to homeless individuals and families.

The county used money from the more than $14 million it received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to create the Homeless Prevention & Rapid Re-Housing Program.

In launching the program, County Executive Dan Onorato and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced a hot line number-- 1-877-350-HPRP-- for individuals and families who are homeless or nearly homeless to learn about the services available to help them maintain or obtain housing

The hot line will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or people can visit www.alleghenycounty.us/recovery/hprp/program.aspx.

The program is designed to provide short-term stability to individuals and families, such as assistance with rent, help with utility payments, relocation services, and access to counseling.

In order to qualify for assistance under the program, participants must be homeless or about to become homeless. In addition, households must be below 50 percent of the area median income, which for a family of four is $31,250, and must have no other housing options or financial support resources to obtain housing.

Funds will be used to provide short-term and medium-term rental assistance, payment of security and utility deposits, moving costs, and motel vouchers, as well as financial counseling, credit repair and legal services.

Action Housing, Community Human Services, North Hills Community Outreach, Veteran's Leadership Program, and the Urban League of Pittsburgh will provide the homeless prevention programming and housing relocation services.

In addition, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Call Center and Homeless Management Information Systems, Neighborhood Legal Services, Three Rivers Communities-Apartment Search Locator, and Three Rivers Communities-Housing Quality Inspections will assist the city and county with the programs.

The city of McKeesport is launching a similar program and is encouraging its residents to call the same hot line. The McKeesport Hospital Foundation, McKeesport Healthier Partnership, McKeesport Housing Authority, and McKeesport Housing Corporation will provide the services in McKeesport.


Karamagi Rujumba can be reached at krujumba@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1719.


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