City and AHN to partner on support for those experiencing homelessness
July 21, 2020
The City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Health Network are creating a new model for responding to the needs of those experiencing homelessness, problematic substance abuse and unaddressed mental health issues.
The program from the Office of Mayor William Peduto, Office of Management and Budget, and Department of Public Safety and AHN's Center for Inclusion Health will build street outreach community-based teams that will connect people with services, housing resources, and health supports, collaborating with first responders to prevent continued engagement and promote healthier outcomes.
This program is funded by a portion of the "Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act'' or the ''CARES Act" funds allocated to the city.
The funding opportunity, which was announced April 28, was developed in response to longstanding calls from the community and Public Safety to provide more robust supports to individuals with unmet needs in Pittsburgh communities. Often, first responders from Pittsburgh Public Safety respond to calls to address these needs but are not provided with the tools to do so.
"As part of the Center for Inclusion Health's ongoing commitment to health equity for vulnerable and marginalized populations in our region, especially persons experiencing homelessness, we are extremely grateful to have been awarded this funding. We look forward to working with the City of Pittsburgh to create innovative street outreach models that help mitigate risks posed by the compounding public health crises of homelessness, COVID-19, and social exclusion," said Patrick Perri, MD, medical director, AHN Center for Inclusion Health.
The program aligns with a "Housing First" model, aimed at ensuring that people are able to access housing without barriers, while acknowledging and addressing health as a critical part of stable housing and wellbeing. COVID-19 has resulted in increased housing instability and crises, and as such, we anticipate continued calls to first responders.