NEWS: Shelter shuttered
One of two low-barrier shelters in Pittsburgh closed its doors on June 21, leaving uncertainty for a number of people who were previously staying there.
Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services announced plans to close the shelter inside Smithfield United Church of Christ in late May, stating in a press release that the facility “is not equipped to handle a population during the warm or hot weather months.”
DHS officials insisted they were working on a range of solutions, including expanding capacities at existing facilities and increasing supportive programming for the county’s unhoused population. But advocates have voiced loud opposition, warning that many may remain at risk.
POLITICS: Fitzgerald Overridden
Outgoing Executive Rich Fitzgerald lost a tussle with Allegheny County Council last week over a bill laying out minimum wage standards for county employees.
Fitzgerald first objected to the bill following a committee meeting in May, where it was advanced to the floor. After the legislation cleared council on June 6, Fitzgerald announced he had signed a veto. But when council assembled again on June 20, a two-thirds majority stood behind the bill, overruling Fitzgerald.
The bill in question lays out incremental raises for all salaried and hourly workers, ensuring all would earn a minimum of $20 per hour by January 2026.
Fitzgerald maintains he supports the concept of establishing a minimum wage, but that the power to do so lies solely with his office. In a press release after the veto override, he said he foresaw the result and is seeking expert opinion in pursuit of a possible legal challenge.
NEWS: Transit Tax?
Two new bills proposed in the Pennsylvania legislature could create new public funding income for transit systems in select counties, including Allegheny.
Transit advocates and organizations met outside the state capitol on June 20 to advocate for the bill alongside lawmakers and other stakeholders. The bill would permit Allegheny and Philadelphia Counties, along with five others, to collect up to three additional taxes to aid in funding transportation.
If passed, the legislation could support expansive, safe transit in multiple urban centers. It would also supply additional revenue to help with matching grant applications for federal infrastructure dollars.