Millions of dollars in housing aid have been directed by state and local programs to stave off the threat of evictions and foreclosures. Some neighborhood advocates worry it won't be enough. (Photo by Jay Manning)

‘A patchwork of safety nets’ presents challenges for Pittsburghers facing housing insecurity

When Autumn Young-Dorsett lost her job as a life skills assistant teacher due to the COVID-19 pandemic, paying the bills became a lot more difficult. Her employer continued to pay her until mid-June, at which point she had to file for unemployment. Mortgage payments presented the biggest burden, but other expenses also added up. “The car payment arrangement, car insurance, life insurance. Everything has just gone back,” Young-Dorsett said. “It feels like I’m going backwards.”

She’s been getting guidance from the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, a community group that in 2012 sold her the home she currently lives in with her children.

Sally Hobart Alexander with her guide dog, Dave. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

COVID-19 is bringing about the end of touch as we know it, and touch has been my imperfect substitute for sight.

Dr. Anthony Fauci suggests that COVID-19 may end the era of the handshake. Others predict that the world of touch outside intimate loved ones is over. Should this come to pass, I will adapt. But as someone totally blind for the past 50 years and moderately deaf, I am already grieving the hugs and handshake restrictions. Disability has fed my appreciation of touch.

Carole Bailey, president and CEO of the East End Cooperative Ministry, prepares a box in the organization's food pantry. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

In the ongoing pandemic, Pittsburgh’s homeless service providers report increased need and costs

When stay-at-home orders were enacted in late March, many people experiencing homelessness had nowhere to go. Shelters around the city saw increases in demand and have had to adapt to this new reality, taking measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, keep residents occupied and help people living on the streets. These new conditions have had an impact on residents’ mental health and, combined with heightened demand, have increased shelters’ operating costs.