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DHS Research and Reports - Basic Needs

 pdf.gif Suburban Poverty: Assessing Community Need Outside the Central City
Prepared by Megan Good, Kathryn Collins, PhD and Erin Dalton
August 2014

pdf.gif Data Brief: Suburban Poverty: Assessing Community Need Outside the Central City – 2012 Update 

Nationally and locally, suburban poverty is on the rise. Despite this growing trend, it is a problem that is little understood, and existing methods of mapping community need fail to provide the kind of information that is needed for stakeholders to effectively plan for the appropriate delivery of publicly-funded social services. In response, DHS developed the Community Need Index, a matrix that expands the way in which community need is measured. This report describes the Community Need Index and how it was developed; identifies which communities are experiencing need and which have seen a recent increase in need; and discusses how this information can be used in community and service planning.

The analysis conducted in this report is based on data from the 2005 – 2009 American Community Survey five-year estimates. The accompanying Data Brief provides an update based on data from the 2008 – 2012 American Community Survey five-year estimates.

pdf.gif I'll Never Get Used to It: Young People Living on the Street
Published, May 2014  

Despite Allegheny County’s rich array of services to prevent and address homelessness, approximately 240 young people, ages 18 through 24, are living on the street, in abandoned buildings, and in shelters. Designed to inform local leaders, this report places the local issue within a national context and provides information about local services available to these youth and ways in which our region might improve its systems to prevent chronic homelessness and better support youth while they are experiencing a housing crisis.

pdf.gif Immigrants and Refugees in Allegheny County: Scan and Needs Assessment
Abigail Horn, Andrew Smith and Evelyn Whitehill
December 2013
DHS conducted a review of available data on local immigrant and refugee populations to identify current and emerging service needs, gaps and barriers. A number of common themes were identified and recommendations made to address these themes. Recommendations include: the need to provide service coordination and navigation to promote access to and accessibility of services; expanding translation and interpretation services; supporting collaboration among providers; improving knowledge of and sensitivity to cultural differences; and improving data collection.

pdf.gif 2012 Allegheny County DHS Local Government Case Competition:Addressing Suburban Poverty and Those Affected by It
Katie Meehan Arvay and Evelyn Whitehill
April 2013
Forty-six graduate students from three local universities and eight programs of study participated in the sixth annual competition sponsored by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and supported by the Human Services Integration Fund.  Designed to engage graduate students from local universities in identifying creative solutions to difficult social problems, this year’s challenge was to respond to a Request for Proposals addressing the issue of suburban poverty and those affected by it.  Participants were encouraged to address at least one of the following challenges faced by those living in poverty in the suburbs: isolation; limited ability to access services; lack of knowledge about resources; fragmented or disconnected service continuum; issues of stigma around poverty; and limited transportation options. Four winning teams were selected on the basis of presentation, content and scope. This report summarizes the winning presentations as well as the key ideas generated during the competition.

pdf.gif Prevention Programs Across the DHS
Megan Good, Brian Bell, Ebony Robinson and Erin Dalton
Published August 2011.
Many DHS programs and services include a prevention component, and a persistent challenge for administrators is developing a comprehensive understanding of what they all are and how well they work. This report presents a framework for prevention in the human services field, classifies and catalogs the prevention efforts across DHS, and discusses key pieces of information that are important to understanding the evaluation status and priorities of each program or service. Next steps are formulated and presented based on DHS-wide trends and specific priorities for program evaluation.

pdf.gif Understanding the Allegheny County Homeless Population 
Brian Bell, Alexa Seretti and Erin Dalton
Data current through 2008. Published 2010.
The Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) is committed to reducing the number of chronically homeless individuals and families in the County by trying to address the factors that contribute to homelessness. In this report, DHS examined the demographic composition and service utilization patterns of Allegheny County’s homeless population. DHS and its partner organizations, having identified the people that utilize the most services, will use this information to more efficiently meet these needs. Data for this study was obtained from the Homeless Management Information System, the DHS Data Warehouse and Operation Safety Net shelter intake surveys.

pdf.gif Home Foreclosures in Allegheny County
Erin Dalton, Robert Gradeck, Anthony Mercaldo and Emily Sturman
Data current through 2007. Published 2008.
Across the nation, some communities have been hit harder than others by the home foreclosure crisis. For this analysis, the Department of Human Services sought to examine the issue in Allegheny County as well as in a number of other communities across the country, both in regions that were similar to Pittsburgh (such as Cincinnati and Cleveland) and in those that have been hit hardest by foreclosures (Denver and Las Vegas). Allegheny County, and Pennsylvania more generally, has not felt the foreclosure crisis as acutely as many other regions, in part due to a number of protective characteristics explored in this research report. 

pdf.gif Serving Consumers with Limited English Proficiency
Megan Good, LaToya Warren, Erin Dalton
Data current through 2008. Published 2010.
Language for limited English proficiency individuals can be a barrier to accessing important benefits and services and understanding the information provided by the Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS surveyed providers and DHS staff on behalf of the Immigrants and Internationals Advisory Council to identify the need for limited English proficiency services in the community and assess DHS’s ability to meet those needs. Results of the survey are included in this report.

pdf.gif Immigration and Public Benefit Eligibility: an Overview
Data current through 2008. Published 2008.
The growing cultural diversity in Allegheny County presents new challenges and opportunities for human service delivery. The Department of Human Services (DHS) established the Immigrants and Internationals Initiative to further our vision of providing culturally competent services to all residents, especially those who are vulnerable. This document, created in response to needs identified by the diverse groups participating in the DHS Immigrants and Internationals Advisory Council, serves as a resource guide for those seeking information about immigrants’ eligibility for public benefits.