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.

Jessica Benham is the cofounder of the Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy and the Democratic nominee in PA House District 36. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

Disability justice is not just ramps and curb cuts; it spans health, education, the environment and more.

This year, the Americans with Disabilities Act and I, both, turn 30. The ADA is one of the pieces of legislation that provides a patchwork of civil rights protections for people with disabilities. Many of these disability civil rights laws, including the ADA, create an incomplete quilt of protections only enforceable through lawsuit. I want to live in a region, state and country where you don’t have to sue for basic rights. And, for me, it’s not just a political pursuit — it’s personal.

Nick and Eric Sinagra (left to right) in front of Nick's home in Whitehall. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

Technological advances mean more possibilities for people with disabilities. I ground my work in making tech useful.

Since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act 30 years ago, technology has made tremendous advances that have significantly improved the lives of people with disabilities. The smartphone, a flourishing internet and now even autonomous vehicles are part of mainstream conversation. Technologies like these help people with disabilities, like my brother, Nick, do things every day that many of us take for granted.

The Andy Warhol Museum. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

A Pittsburgh disability advocate shares her list of access wins and losses

Alisa Grishman has experienced clear pathways and inclusive venues while navigating Pittsburgh in her wheelchair. But she’s also encountered sidewalks without curb cuts and with obstructions.

Though Pittsburgh has become more accessible to people with disabilities since the Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] passed in 1990, parts of the city have presented challenges to Grishman’s mobility. The act requires existing buildings to remove accessibility barriers when easily done and minimally expensive, but it’s only enforceable through citizen complaints and lawsuits filed with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Alana Gibbs (left) and her sister Darah Thompson at Alana's full-service salon, Hair 2 Sole Beauty Studio in Bridgeville, Pa. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

Podcast episode 5: Sisters walk together through mental, physical disabilities

A New York Fashion Week manicurist and salon owner finds herself with new professional challenges when she’s diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Her sister has seen her own career and relationships derailed by bipolar disorder. The women walk together, and some days are better than others. They share their stories in this episode of ADA at 30: Accessibility in Pittsburgh.

Joseph Vernon Smith at his job bagging groceries at Giant Eagle in Crafton. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

It’s not easy being a Black man on the autism spectrum

Though the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act made it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities, there are still malevolent forces seeking to undermine the hard work activists have been doing for years to neutralize the venomous stigma of discrimination. We have a long way to go. Until then, I can tell you: It’s not easy being a Black man on the autism spectrum.

Dylan Kapit is a queer, trans, non-binary, autistic advocate and activist who is currently a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh. (Courtesy photo)

Academia’s narrow gates: People with disabilities should not be deterred from higher ed

Like many other systems in the United States, higher education is not designed for the majority of the population. It is not designed for people of color; it is not designed for low-income folks; and it is not designed for people with disabilities. Are there still ways to thrive in these systems as a student with a disability? Sure. But it isn’t easy. It almost always involves a fight. And it often requires that the disabled student advocate for their needs instead of getting help from the institution.

Puneet Kumar (right), and his late father, visit the largest Hindu temple in North America, Radha Madhav Dham in Driftwood, Texas, in January 2017. Kumar tries to make sense of his muscular dystrophy diagnosis in light of his Hindu family’s belief in Karma. (Courtesy photo)

Podcast episode 4: Three people with disabilities talk about how disability affected their faith

n this podcast, two men share their understanding of their physical disabilities and higher powers. And a woman talks about how bipolar disorder led to her being a confirmed atheist. They share their stories in this episode of ADA at 30: Accessibility in Pittsburgh. This is a companion podcast to adapittsburgh.com, a collaboration between PublicSource and Unabridged Press.