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DHS Supports Individuals During G-20 Summit Week - September 21 - 25, 2009

The Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) is responsible for providing and administering publicly funded human services to Allegheny County residents. DHS is dedicated to meeting these human services needs, most particularly for the county's most vulnerable populations, through an extensive range of prevention, early intervention, crisis management and after-care services.

DHS provides a wide range of services, including services for the elderly; mental health and drug and alcohol services (includes 24-hour crisis counseling); child protective services; at-risk child development and education; hunger services; emergency shelters and housing for the homeless; energy assistance; non-emergency medical transportation; job training and placement for youth and adults; and services for individuals with mental retardation and developmental disabilities.

The information below is intended for County residents and visitors.

Continuity Plans
Arrangements made by DHS and DHS-contracted human services providers to assist persons in need of services during the G-20 Summit.

Resources for Persons with Disabilities
Information to assist persons with physical and/or mental disabilities.

DHS Milestones
An assortment of articles about select DHS advances and accomplishments.  

Additional Resources
Printable documents and information related to human services.


For more information about the G-20 Summit please visit the Pittsburgh G-20 Partnership web site.
For more information about the security plans for the G-20, including transportation system changes, please visit the Department of Public Safety's G-20 site.

Continuity Plans

DHS and our contracted providers have worked together to ensure that persons who require human services during the week of the G-20 Summit are able to be served. Transportation system changes and road closures between September 21 and 25 in downtown Pittsburgh and surrounding areas will result in changes in how and where some services are delivered. Almost all services will be available as usual. More continuity plans will be added as they become available.

Aging Services

  • Older adults are encouraged to avoid the congestion and demonstration activity likely to occur downtown during summit days.
  • The Area Agency on Aging has about 700 total care management consumers who are located in the areas of potential maximum impact. Every case has been reviewed and contingency plans made for service delivery.  Additionally, every one of them has the phone number of their care manager in the event they are in need of something during G-20 week.

    The AAA has coordinated with all of the Home Delivered meal providers and will make provisions for advance delivery of meals to those residing in high impact areas during G-20. These consumers will be given frozen food for the week and supplementary boxes that contain items such as bread, tuna, peanut butter, canned soup, juice, fruit cups, nutria-grain bars and cereal.

    In Allegheny County there are approximately 2,100 meals delivered by volunteers each day through the Home Delivered Meals Program. In the event of a volunteer shortage during G-20, senior center staff will be available to deliver meals to those living outside the high impact areas. 

  • The only services anticipated to be unavailable during summit days are the closing of two City Parks Senior Centers (North Side & South Side). Arrangements have been made for older adults to obtain services by other means.

Behavioral Health Concerns (Mental Health and/or Substance Use (Drug and Alcohol))

The Office of Behavioral Health prepared for the G-20 Summit since the event was announced. While access to the Office at One Smithfield Street may be limited due to road closures and other downtown restrictions, staff will be available should those seeking information or referral arrive at the building. OBH will also have staff available to respond to inquiries for information, referral and emergency services, child and adolescent and adult mental health services, drug and alcohol services, Justice Related Services, and involuntary commitments, if necessary.

All DHS-contracted behavioral health providers are accessible by phone during the G-20. Persons who have general questions concerning their mental health or drug and alcohol services should call their provider of services. Basic information about the G-20 is available on the G-20 Consumer Fact Sheet.

Any person who experiences behavioral health concerns during the G-20, can access assistance through a range of options.

Involuntary Commitment hotline, 412-350-4457, answers 24 hours a day, seven days a week and puts a person in touch with an Allegheny County Delegate who can authorize and coordinate involuntary Emergency Examination and Treatment (sometimes called a "302" after the section in the law) and who can provide information about ongoing services. Involuntary commitment is intended for individuals who are in imminent danger of harming themselves or others due to a serious mental illness.

re:solve Crisis Network provides 24-hour-a-day, 365-days-a-year telephone, mobile crisis, walk-in and overnight crisis residential services that are available to any Allegheny County resident no matter age, ability to pay, or whether they have used behavioral health services in the past. Help is available any time for anyone for any reason.

Round the clock service includes:

  • Crisis counseling and support by a trained counselor over the phone at 1-888-7-YOU-CAN (1-888-796-8226);
  • Information about how to get needed services;
  • Access and referral to additional crisis, treatment and other behavioral health supports;
  • Walk-in crisis services at 333 N. Braddock Avenue, N. Point Breeze, 15208 

The PSAN WARMLINE 1-866-661-WARM (9276) is for persons not in mental health crisis, who could benefit from talking with someone who can relate personally to their situation. The phones are staffed by individuals who have personal experience with recovery from mental illness.

For more information about additional helpful resources during times of increased stress go to http://www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/mhweb.aspx#traumaticevents.

Child Welfare (Child abuse and neglect and family services)

The Office of Children, Youth and Families (CYF) has done advanced planning to ensure that each child or family in need of child welfare services has their needs met during the G-20 Summit. Anyone in need of services provided through CYF is asked to call the CYF Intake Office at 412-473-2000 no matter what their concern. All calls will be triaged and assigned from that central location.  Teams of staff in the field will respond as appropriate.


Food Assistance

Anyone in need of food assistance or with questions about how to help someone who is in need of food assistance should contact the Urban League Hunger Services Emergency Food Assistance Hotline at 412-325-0749.

Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP)

Beginning September 7, callers to MATP’s Toll Free scheduling line received a recorded message advising of anticipated G-20 transportation issues. Callers requesting ACCESS paratransit travel to or through North Side, Oakland, South Side and downtown Pittsburgh (where the bulk of Behavioral Health / D&A, Methadone Maintenance, Renal Dialysis, and Radiation / Chemotherapy facilities used by MATP clients are concentrated) received additional advice.

MATP staff advised callers:

  • To re-schedule their non-essential medical appointments if possible.
  • To expect delayed vehicles, possibly resulting in late arrivals for appointments and missed appointments.
  • To check with their medical providers to verify that they planned to be open during G-20, particularly September 23-25.
  • To obtain, and carry with them, the name and telephone number of their ACCESS carrier, and the ACCESS main number.

Because medical appointments for clients receiving life-sustaining medical services (renal dialysis, radiation / chemotherapy) cannot easily be deferred, MATP scheduled only life-sustaining medical transportation on September 23-25.

ACCESS Service will be available during the Summit at no change in hours, but officials recommend that any trips to Downtown be rescheduled if possible. The Downtown offices will be closed Sept. 23-25 but the ACCESS phone line will remain open, (412) 562-5353 or TDD relay 1-800-654-5984.

Two dialysis clinics will be closed September 24-25

DCI of Oakland / UPMC
3260 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh (Oakland) 15213

Fresenius Three Rivers
1401 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh (Uptown) 15219

One methadone maintenance clinic will be closed September 24-25

1425 Beaver Avenue
Pittsburgh (Manchester) 15233


Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities

In preparation for some disruptions during G-20 week, the Office of Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities (MR/DD) took a lead role in G-20 planning activities to ensure that the Office, the providers of service and the population served are prepared. Providers were urged to talk with their staff about how the organization, both the people that they serve and employ, may be affected. It was strongly recommended that contingency planning include at minimum - an evaluation of what the essential services are, how they may potentially be affected/disrupted and the development of concrete (task and person-specific) plans on how to manage any disruptions. Plans were required to ensure that at minimum, transportation needs, food, supplies, medications/ treatments and staff coverage were addressed.

MR/DD maintains on-call capacity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Incoming calls are forwarded by First Choice Answering Service.  The First Choice Answering Service office is located in the “red zone” but a staffing contingency has been credentialed and will be available at the site continuously throughout the G-20 Summit thus insuring the constant availability of communications.

Crisis contact numbers
Persons already receiving MR services are asked to call their Supports Cooridination Unit if they are in crisis.
Persons who have mental retardation and are in a crisis, but have never before received MR services, are asked to call 412-350-4457.


Services for Pittsburgh's Street Homeless

DHS has been meeting regularly with involved social service agencies since mid-August to coordinate services and resources for Pittsburgh's chronic street homeless population, estimated between 350 and 450 individuals, during G-20 week. These are typically individuals who live on the streets, along the riverbanks, under bridges, and in abandoned structures. The main concern of this collaborative effort is to provide for the safety and welfare of the County’s street homeless.  We are working together to provide options so that they remain safe and continue to have access to appropriate emergency housing and necessary services.

Anyone in need of housing may call the DHS Bureau of Hunger and Housing Services at 412-350-3837 for assistance.  Persons are also welcomed to call providers directly using pdf.gif emergency shelters and drop-in centers.
DHS and social services agencies have:

  • Identified pdf.gif emergency shelters and drop-in centers that will extend their hours of operation during G-20 week. 
  • Educated the homeless, by way of shelter and outreach staff, about the G-20
  • Provided appropriate identification (ID's).
  • Distributed pdf.gif G-20 Consumer Fact Sheet, a one-page handout created by Allegheny HealthChoices, Inc., to help individuals understand what will be happening during G-20 week and provide suggestions on what to do if it disrupts their life. 
  • Established lines of communication with all of the above agencies in the event of incidents needing appropriate emergency response.
  • Established lines of communication with the DHS Office of Behavioral Health Justice-Related Services staff at the Allegheny County Jail in the event street homeless are caught up in protests and are arrested.

Resources for People with Disabilities

Physical Health Emergencies
Call 911

Mental Health Emergencies
Call the re:solve Crisis Network at 1-888-796-8226.

Accessibility-related Questions
Disability Information Hotline 412-657-2420 or email lspruill@ucpclass.org

Disability Connection

Transportation Services
All buses and light rail vehicles are equipped with lifts, ramps and entry ways for persons with disabilities. ACCESS transportation is a door-to-door shared-ride service.  Advance reservations required. 412-562-5353, TDD relay 1-800-654-5984
View a more comprehensive list of transportation options.

Accessibility for the Deaf, Deaf-blind, and Hard of Hearing
Center for Hearing and Deaf Services 412-281-1375

Sign Language Interpreting Professionals 

Captioning is provided by AKF 

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Accessibility

Healthcare for People with Disabilities
UPMC Disabilities Resource Center
Call Susan V. Schaeffer, PhD, Director at 412-605-1483 or email schaeffersv@upmc.edu.

Most (but not all) restaurants in the City are accessible for wheelchair users. Because new restaurants are opening all the time and others close, it is best to call ahead to inquire about accessibility. It is better to ask specific questions like “Do you have a no-step entrance and tables where wheelchair users can be seated? Do you have wheelchair accessible restrooms?” rather than ask if the restaurant is accessible. Visitors will also find that wait staff will read menus for people with visual impairments, cut up food in the kitchen, find a seat with good light for hearing impaired patrons, etc., on request.

Pittsburgh Amenities
Pittsburgh and Allegheny County at Your Fingertips 
Disability Rights and Resources

DHS Milestones

"Help in Hard Times" Web Resource

Public-Private Partnership Keeps Allegheny County Adoptions Moving Ahead

Braddock, PA - Steel town, turned ghost town, turned renewed town

Improved Child Welfare Practices Earn Allegheny County Status of National Model

Persons with Disabilities Command Well-deserved Attention

Community Comes Together to Help Its Neighbors

Allegheny County Pulls Together to Provide a Safe Haven for Hurricane Katrina Evacuees

Parent’s Age-old Quandary Explored—and Answered with Questions

Foundations Provide a Foundation for Human Services

Data Warehouse Streamlines DHS, Recognized Nationally for Innovation

Former Inmates No Longer Fall Through the Cracks in Allegheny County

Allegheny County awarded “Oscar” as it breaks the cycle of repeated incarceration for persons with behavioral health concerns

KIDS Brings Data Collection and Records Management into the 21st Century

The Allegheny County Mental Health Court Makes Sense and Saves Dollars

Allegheny County Violence Prevention Program Ranked Among World’s Best

Graduate Scholars Tapped by Allegheny County

Allegheny County Awarded Three Federal Grants to Support Young People with Mental Illness and Serious Emotional Disturbances

Life Challenges, Between Foster Care and Adulthood, Addressed

Allegheny County Reaches Out to Returning Veterans

DHS Research Documents

No Housing Bubble to Burst in Allegheny County

DHS Reaches Out to U.S. Immigrants

Incarcerated Parents and Their Children Gain Attention 

Additional Resources

pdf.gif G-20 Consumer Fact Sheet Allegheny HealthChoices, Inc. has developed a fact sheet for those who will be in downtown Pittsburgh and in the Pittsburgh area during the G-20 Summit.

pdf.gif Homelessness in Allegheny County - August 31, 2009 (PowerPoint)