DHS efforts funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
DHS has been awarded millions of stimulus dollars from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) either as a primary grantee or a sub-grantee. These grants are intended to help mitigate the effects of the far-reaching economic downturn on Allegheny County. Information on the following list of ARRA-funded programs/projects is updated quarterly. All funds are for programs of varying durations with effective dates between February 2009 and July 2011.
Programs that provide additional services to benefit County residents
Promoting self-sufficiency $2,416,857 1,310 units of service
ARRA will fund programs that give people the tools to better manage their finances and thereby improve their incomes and their futures. Working-aged members of households, with a combined annual income level up to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines, who are struggling to overcome the financial effects of the national recession on their lives are the target population for several CSBG-funded programs. DHS has contracted with 16 local agencies to provide a wide variety of services designed to lead this new group of people to long-term self-sufficiency.
Supporting eviction prevention and re-housing for homeless and $404,476
near-homeless individuals and families
ARRA funding paid to establish the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) Call Center within the DHS Office of Community Relations to accept calls from City and County residents who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless due to the effects of the economic downturn. Call Center staff take basic information, input this information into the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data base, pre-screen for program eligibility and refer callers to the most appropriate Lead Agency. The Lead Agency will determine full eligibility for assistance through the stimulus grant.
Improving employment opportunities for adults $851,231 adults
CareerLink received ARRA Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funding to increase the number of low-income adults to whom it can offer job-skills training. Beginning July 1, 2009, CareerLink nearly doubled the number of Individual Training Accounts it could provide. Participants are supported in their efforts to take part in technical skills and academic programs that can be completed in two years or less. CareerLink is the Allegheny County/DHS-supported one-stop shop that connects employers and job seekers in the most efficient manner possible.
Improving employment opportunities for dislocated workers $809,947 dislocated workers
CareerLink received ARRA Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funding to increase the number of adults, who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, to whom it can offer job-skills training. Beginning July 1, 2009, CareerLink nearly doubled the number of Individual Training Accounts it could provide. Participants are supported in their efforts to take part in technical skills and academic programs that can be completed in two years or less. CareerLink is the Allegheny County/DHS-supported one-stop shop that connects employers and job seekers in the most efficient manner possible.
Improving employment opportunities for older adults $144,231 older adults
ARRA funding allowed for additional individuals to enroll in the Senior Training and Employment Program (STEP) program. STEP provides work experience and training opportunities to Allegheny County residents age 55 years and older who meet income guidelines. Individuals enrolled in the program receive 20 hours of training/work experience in nonprofit or government agencies and are paid minimum wage. In addition to work experience and training, enrollees receive assistance in securing full-time and part-time employment in the private sector.
Preventing violence $331,025 6 Community Coordinators
An ARRA two-year grant will sustain and expand One Vision One Life (OVOL) by providing for the compensation of three current Community Coordinators and the hiring of three additional Community Coordinators. OVOL, the DHS-contracted Allegheny County Violence Prevention program, works in the high-risk Pittsburgh neighborhoods of the Northside, the Hill District, the Southside, Homewood North and Garfield Heights as well as in several communities outside the city include McKeesport and McKees Rocks, and focuses intervention and outreach on those most at risk for participating in or falling victim to violence, young African American men. This Edward Byrne Memorial Competitive grant is through the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Assistance. The grant will provide funding to OVOL through July of 2011.
Keeping Seniors Connected $6,000 104 older adults
ARRA funds were used to conduct a multi-level campaign to publicize the national program to assist older adults in the conversion of television broadcast from analog to digital service. This conversion had the potential to disconnect some individuals completely from their linkage to the world. The DHS Area Agency on Aging (AAA) joined the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) to make sure any older adults in Allegheny County who were without television service would have their connection restored. Within six weeks, 104 older adults went from not having any television reception, to having converter equipment installed and operational—all free of charge. The equipment and installation were paid for by an existing, related federal program.
Improving employment opportunities for youth $1,879,062 600 youth
ARRA funding paid for the summer 2009 wages of 600 disadvantaged County residents between the ages of 14 and 24 years. Eleven DHS-contracted providers were chosen to employ the youth. Hiring preferences were given to current and past foster care youth, especially those from low-income communities. The programs ranged from four to 10 weeks in length. Many of the summer programs bolstered the efforts of local non-profit agencies, supported County green initiatives and provided on-the-job training. Most importantly, they helped youth develop skills to carry them into their adult lives. The grant was through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).
Creating collaborations and revitalization in $276,827 28 staff
economically struggling communities
ARRA funded an additional 28 AmeriCorps members for a total of 14.62 full-time equivalents to engage more than 400 community youth over a 12-month period. AmeriCorps members engage youth in economically and educationally distressed communities by providing structured activities in safe places at summer and school-year camps, offering leadership in improving their surroundings through “green” legacy projects, and helping to improve academic performance through group and individual tutoring.
Programs that provide improved service delivery to benefit County residents
Acknowledging the value of retaining Head Start staff $193,001 229 staff
Through ARRA funding, financial incentives to encourage staff retention will be paid to all (current as of September 2009) Head Start classroom staff.
Enhancing family/professional relationships $642,100 229 staff
ARRA funding received by the DHS Office of Community Services (OCS) allowed for the training of 229 Head Start Family Support and Education staff in Family Development Credentialing (FDC) as well as other quality improvement efforts related to Head Start. FDC was developed by Cornell University to help professionals better understand and relate to the families that they serve, thereby allowing true partnerships to be formed.
Enhancing existing data base to incorporate HPRP-related information $656,846
ARRA funding paid for the enhancement of the DHS Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) to accept, record and properly report on the information gathered by DHS and provider staff who are charged with connecting consumers with services funded through the federal Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). HMIS is the DHS data collection, retrieval and reporting system related to homeless services in operation since 2004. Now enhanced, the data held in HMIS is accessible to DHS HPRP Call Center (see below) and provider staff, all of whom have signed confidentiality agreements.
Providing for the delivery of food commodities $57,630 13 months
DHS received ARRA funding to cover delivery-cost increases related to the recent increase in the quantity of non-perishable food items available to local food banks through the federal TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program). The funding was directed to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, the recipient and distributor of TEFAP commodities in Allegheny County.
Help in Hard Times is the DHS web page that lists, according to service type, places where individuals can turn for help during these difficult economic times.
The Allegheny County Recovery and Reinvestment web page provides links to U.S., Pennsylvania, Allegheny County and Pittsburgh sites related to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.
Recovery.gov is the U.S. government’s official website providing easy access to data related to Recovery Act spending and allows for the reporting of potential fraud, waste, and abuse.