October 2020
In this edition:

News articles are uploaded to the DHS website as soon as they become available. For the most up-to-date news, visit DHS News online
DHS partners with United Way to distribute masks

Thanks to a partnership with United Way, DHS has recently begun distributing four cloth masks to every client household. The masks have been purchased using CARES funds.
Five questions with Angie Steele

Angie is diversity and inclusion officer in the Office of Equity and Inclusion.
Local senior centers collaborate to combat isolation, loneliness

The pandemic has been challenging for everyone, but one group that has been facing an especially difficult time is seniors
Emily Bengel (EB), family strengthening program coordinator; Remy Harris (RH), program supervisor for Homeless Services and Supports Coordination (HSSC); and John Litz (JL), planner, took a few moments to discuss their teams’ responses to the pandemic. These three staff members represent just a few of the programs and services offered by OCS.
New research pieces are featured on the DHS Research and Reports website, www.alleghenycountyanalytics.us. Click on each title to view the item.

Allegheny County Department of Human Services and The Pittsburgh Foundation wanted to learn more about evictions in the region: How many evictions cases are filed each year, and for how much money? How many cases are filed against low-income tenants? And how many cases do tenants win in comparison to landlords? This report describes the available data about landlord–tenant cases in Allegheny County from 2012 to 2019 and the quantitative insights we have been able to learn from it.

In Allegheny County, a preliminary arraignment is a defendant’s first court appearance, during which a judge notifies the defendant of their charges and a bail determination is made. Defendants are not guaranteed legal representation at preliminary arraignments, but lack of representation can have serious consequences for fairness and equity in court proceedings, as well as a substantial impact on the jail population.

In April 2017, the Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender began a pilot project utilizing existing staff to provide legal representation for all people arraigned during business hours at Pittsburgh Municipal Court. The outcomes of the first year of the pilot are encouraging. 

The presence of police officers in schools has become increasingly common since the practice was introduced in the 1950s. While law enforcement in schools may deter criminal behavior, it can also have the effect of increasing youth juvenile justice system involvement. Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) wanted to learn more about youth arrests in Pittsburgh, particularly differences related to where an allegation happens — in or out of school — and how the outcomes of students involved with the juvenile justice system differ from those who have not been involved. We also wanted to know more about students’ involvement with human services in order to better understand where there might be gaps in services and supports for students involved with juvenile justice.
We welcome your story ideas, employee news and comments. If you’ve got news you’d like to see in DHS News, please contact Mark Bertolet at [email protected] or 412-350-3439.