A tale of displacement: A year-long fight against a landlord shows the struggles facing renters forced to move.

The long locs Linda Robinson lost by the fistfuls to chemotherapy five years ago had finally grown back when she lost her braids again, this time to a stressful eviction proceeding. “We, Black women, our crown is our hair,” said Robinson, 68, noting that in the Black community, hairstyle is a lifestyle. 

Robinson added, “When you lose your crown, it’s devastating.” 

Robinson scrambled to find housing before being forced out, even though her displacement was not due to a problem paying rent. And while her troubles began before COVID-19 shuttered the economy and prompted Gov. Tom Wolf to order a moratorium on evictions, her journey through the legal system is instructive to the tens of thousands of out-of-work Pennsylvanians that lawmakers and housing advocates expect will be swept up in a wave of evictions once filings resume. In an unprecedented move, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] on Sept. 4 issued a temporary moratorium that expires at the end of the year.

How one Pittsburgh-area nursing home avoided a coronavirus surge in the ongoing pandemic

It was March when Kara Chipps watched in horror as TV networks covered a novel coronavirus that surfaced in a suburb east of Seattle at the Life Care Center of Kirkland. Within five weeks of the first reported case in the United States, Washington state health officials were sounding the alarm about an outbreak. By early April, COVID-19 infected 129 residents, staff and visitors to the Kirkland nursing home and has been associated with at least 40 deaths. “We were watching the news and basically seeing the numbers go up,” said Chipps, assistant director of nursing at McMurray Hills Manor in Washington County, Pa. Because the average patient at McMurray is 84 years old, staff worried COVID could wreak havoc at the 115-bed nonprofit facility located 15 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.

Devyn Kahler-Harms, 22, stands outside of the Baldwin Borough apartment at which he then resided, with his fiance, on June 2, 2020. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

A year in Allegheny County ends in homelessness for two young trans men

A statewide moratorium on new eviction filings for non-payment of rent, which was instituted in March in response to the pandemic, runs through July 10. Its impending end, amid continued economic uncertainty, has some advocates bracing to head off a potential flood of evictions. Evictions filed in Allegheny County prior to the moratorium — like one filed against Devyn for failure to pay rent in February — were frozen on March 16 but allowed to resume on June 2.

What did Allegheny County spend on salaries and overtime in 2019? Explore the data.

After five years of increases, overtime costs for Allegheny County dropped roughly 2% in 2019. Spending dropped from $30.1 million in 2018 to $29.5 million last year.

Overtime costs, however, have increased during the pandemic. The county spent about $700,000 more in overtime from March through May this year, compared to the same period in 2019, according to Allegheny County Budget and Finance Department Director Mary Soroka.