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Housing & Utility Assistance

housing and utility assistance

At this time, it is very important for residents to have secure housing and utilities available. To avoid or delay eviction, there are measures being put into place to ensure that residents can remain in their homes until the threat of COVID-19 has subsided. Utility providers in our region are also aware of the economic strain of COVID-19, and are providing grace periods to ensure customers do not experience hardship at this time. If you are in need of housing and utility assistance, contact the resources below.

 

RENT & MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE

UPDATE! All evictions have been suspended for Allegheny County.

Rent Assistance
  • Call Allegheny Link at 866-730-2368 for a referral to additional rental resources. Many organizations require a referral from Allegheny Link, including:
  • A list of resources relating to housing/rent/mortgage from PA Housing Alliance
  • Pittsburgh Presbyterian Lazarus (412-323-1400) can offer at most $250 in one time assistance to help with rental evictions, pay utility bills, and even such expenses as medical bills.
  • Allegheny Valley Association of Churches. Call 724-226-0606 or visit www.avaoc.org
    • Eligibility: Must live in the Allegheny Valley area (Brackenridge, Tarentum, East Deer, Fawn, Frazier, Harrison, Verona, New Kensington, Arnold, or Lower Burrell) and demonstrate financial need.
  • North Hills Community Outreach. Call 412-487-6316 or email help@nhco.org.
    • Eligibility: To qualify the individual or family must be at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. Consumers must live in the following school districts: Hampton, North Hills, North Allegheny, Pine-Richland, Northgate, Deer Lakes, Fox Chapel, and Avonworth.

 

UTILITY ASSISTANCE

Electric/Gas
  • Duquesne Light (CLD) has ceased shut-offs
  • Columbia Gas
    • No shutoffs. In addition, Columbia Gas will offer its most flexible payment plans to customers who indicate either an impact or hardship as a result of COVID-19 and will suspend late payment charges until May 1.
    • Any customer who has received a termination notice or is having trouble paying his/her bill should call 1-888-460-4332 to discuss payment arrangements and/or financial assistance programs.
  • People’s Gas
    • **No statement of shutoffs discontinued yet – their website includes info on assistance programs
    • TIPS TO AVOID SCAMS: The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in an increase in scam activity. We urge all customers to be cautious regarding any unsolicited calls that threaten to turn off your utility service or that demand payment, especially by unusual means, such as a gift card. If you receive a suspicious call, please hang up immediately and call us at 1-800-764-0111. 
  • FirstEnergy – Temporarily suspend shutoffs and offer payment options to help ease hardships
  • Heating Assistance – LIHEAP info here
Water
  • Pennsylvania American Water – Placed a moratorium and discontinued service shutoffs to keep customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, the utility is beginning the restoration of service to previously shut-off customers
  • PSWA has suspended utility shut-offs
Internet
  • Comcast has expanded its internet services for low-income families and individuals
    • Go to: www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376
    • Offering new, low-income Internet Essentials customers two months of free internet and raising the speed of that program’s service. Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available for free to all users and data plans will be paused for 60 days, giving customers unlimited data for no additional charge.
    • Additionally, the company will not disconnect a customer’s internet service during this period or assess late fees if they contact the company regarding their inability to pay
    • No Social Security number required to apply
    • Will also be rolling out faster internet service to all Internet Essentials customers.

 

HOMELESS & DROP-IN SERVICES:

If you are homeless or at risk of losing shelter/housing in Allegheny County, call Allegheny Link (DHS) for a list of shelters and housing resources. Call the main hotline 866-730-2368; in-person & site visits are suspended, call to be helped remotely. Field Unit is functioning remotely. Interpretation is available.

Shelters
  • Light of Life (as of 3/17/20) – Clients getting temperature screened before entering. Elevated temps advised to go to hospital. Meals still happening, trying to implement to-go meals. Extended donation hours M-Th, 10am to 4pm. Only two people at a time allowed in donation center.
  • Pleasant Valley (as of 3/17/20) – Overnight residents may stay in during the day and can receive lunch. Drop in center open to people taking showers and doing laundry only (M-F). Take out lunches will be offered MWF between 12pm – 1pm. Limited capacity–20 persons per area. People may have to wait outside if capacity is exceeded.
  • Operation Safety Net (as of 3/17/20) – Minimizing face to face contacts. Focusing on medically vulnerable, and virus-vulnerable individuals.
  • Bethlehem Haven (as of 3/17/20) – currently remaining open; shelter residents leave during day for cleaning
  • Action Housing & McKeesport Downtown Housing Shelter (as of 3/17/20) – not accepting new residents for next two weeks
  • Call Allegheny Link at 866-730-2368 for a referral to a local shelter if you are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Drop-in Centers
  • Drop-In Centers (most closed, but may have limited services.) Contact info is here.
  • 412 Youth Zone – closed (as of 3/17/20) for 2 weeks. Supportive staff (youth coaches, supervisors, therapists, education liaisons) will be available remotely (phone, text, Facebook, video chat). Youth call main landline to be directed to support: 412-902-4068. Youth can also access Youth Zone Facebook page for updates and info.
  • Wellspring – Drop-in center is closed; served outside. Clients can sign up to see case management, and will be seen inside 1 by 1. Clients can still pick up mail that will be brought outside to them.
  • Veteran’s Place (as of 3/17/20) – Drop in center and van services will still operate normal hours. Vet’s Place will not accept outside providers into the space, only clients and internal staff.
  • Jubilee Kitchen (as of 3/17/20) – clients can come between 11am-12pm daily for take-out lunch. No indoor service.
  • First Presbyterian Dinner (as of 3/17/20) – no indoor service; volunteers will distribute bagged meals
  • Persad (as of 3/17/20) – Clients can still shower, do laundry, and access food pantry. No “drop in” or congregating hours at this time.
  • Project Silk (as of 3/17/20) – Open Wednesdays from 1-5pm for services only. Clients can reach out to Silk to schedule 1 on 1 appointments, 412-532-2128.

 

JFCS is working to continue to provide services to our community. If you are in need of non-emergency assistance, you can call us at 412-422-4200 for help connecting to appropriate resources. Do you need assistance accessing any of this information in another language or contacting service providers? Please call the ISAC hotline and leave a message at 412-742-4200 in your preferred language or submit a referral online.