As temperatures chill, Pittsburgh’s homeless shelters face new challenges in the pandemic

With the onset of cold weather and rising COVID-19 cases locally, Pittsburgh-area homeless shelters have seen an influx of federal aid yet face unprecedented challenges in keeping an already vulnerable population safe and out of the elements. In December, Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services received $1.2 million from the federal CARES Act. The funding will be allocated to ACTION-Housing/Team PSBG, Community Human Services and Pittsburgh Mercy to help pay the costs of temporary emergency shelter, targeted street outreach and prevention of community spread. Service providers say the funds help. But they’ve faced numerous challenges from the pandemic — from the need for extra space for social distancing to complications in how shelters obtain food — and still rely on financial contributions from the community and other forms of funding to fill the gap.