Public-Private Partnership Brings Innovative Homeless Shelter to Downtown Pittsburgh

By: Taylor Andres

A collaborative effort between UPMC, PNC and Highmark will result in an innovative homeless shelter on Second Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. The 45,000-square-foot facility will provide shelter and comprehensive services for homeless adults.

Aerial rendering of the new homeless shelter that will be constructed in downtown Pittsburgh.

UPMC will contribute $5 million of in-kind health care services. The shelter is the first of its kind in Allegheny County and will operate as a year-round, low-barrier shelter for adults and their pets, with services aiming to address the various issues of people experiencing homelessness. Clients will have access to resources that support self-sufficiency and empower them on their path to a safe and secure quality of life.

“It is particularly challenging to manage the complexities of mental health, poverty, physical health and addiction, especially when the needs of our homeless neighbors can be so profound. We will serve all with utmost dignity and respect,” said Dr. Steven Shapiro, UPMC’s chief medical and scientific officer. “At UPMC, we hold tight to our mission of making care accessible, and today we celebrate the mission of service that UPMC shares with all partners.”

The planning and design of the facility was informed by best practices and lessons learned from health care facilities across the country, as well as local government, public safety, human services, NGO and professional experts who address homelessness every day.

Functions and services of the shelter will include the following key components:

  • • Client services, including care for longer term and drop-in populations. The case management team will assess individual needs and navigate to appropriate resources and support services, including clinics for physical and behavioral health services and alcohol and drug treatment.
    • Drop-in center with personal hygiene facilities, laundry, snacks and client services for individuals experiencing homelessness but not staying at the facility.
    • 95 beds with room for 42 overflow beds in group sleeping rooms with personal hygiene facilities, living rooms and locker storage.
    • Mail services, which are important to those without a permanent address.
    • Lounges, a library, computer room, kitchen, dining area and outdoor plaza.
    • 42 single-room occupancy units to facilitate transition to independent housing.

The vision for service delivery centers on dignity, personal control, security and privacy, harm reduction, trauma-informed care and flexibility. Progress of the shelter will be tracked and measured toward outcomes that reduce chronic homelessness in Pittsburgh.

For more details about the project and new facility, read the complete announcement.