Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Apartments to House Pgh. Homeless

The federal government has given Pittsburgh Mercy Health System more than $1.6 million to build housing for the homeless on the South Side.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development grant will allow the Health System’s Operation Safety Net to build 16 efficiency apartments on South Ninth Street, near the Monongahela riverside.

Operation Safety Net Program Director Linda Sheets says construction will begin within a month, and the building should be ready for occupancy in late winter or early spring.

Sheets says the Trail Lane Apartments are meant to house a specific type of person.

“These are individuals that are very hard to place into private settings, into other types of bridge housing or group homes. These individuals have an undiagnosed or under-diagnosed mental illness and not necessarily an addiction problem,” says Sheets.

The grant will also help cover the cost of case managers and their offices, as well as housekeeping and maintenance. Sheets says the money will provide for two years of service, after which Operation Safety Net will have to reapply for the competitive grant.

Sheets says the 16 Pittsburgh-area residents won’t be required to attend treatment sessions, but she hopes that they will in time.

The neighborhood consists of three Pittsburgh Mercy Health System buildings, including offices, a pharmacy, and a crisis center.

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