A Pittsburgh Resource Guide for Newcomers | Newcomers Guide | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

A Pittsburgh Resource Guide for Newcomers

The need-to-know facts for Pittsburgh newcomers

click to enlarge Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation Executive Director Sarah Rosso and Program Director Coley Alston outside their offices in the North Side - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation Executive Director Sarah Rosso and Program Director Coley Alston outside their offices in the North Side
Where can I find LGBTQ-friendly resources?
SisTersPGH (sisterspgh.org) is a transgender/nonbinary centered shelter transitioning program. Persad Center (persadcenter.org) serves LGBTQ+ communities and those impacted by HIV/AIDS. You can also check out the Gay and Lesbian Community Center (glccpgh.org), and Trans YOUniting (transyounitingpgh.org), a nonprofit activist group offering crisis housing and food assistance. Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation (hughlane.org) recently launched an AFFIRM program for LGBTQ youth, and True T PGH (truetpgh.com) is a community resource for queer people of color working through arts, activism, and entertainment. For LGBTQ news, don’t miss Pittsburgh blog Pgh Lesbian Correspondents (pghlesbian.com), as well as LGBTQ news source QBurgh (qburgh.com).

Where can I find more Black-owned businesses in Pittsburgh?
Kyley Coleman initially launched her Instagram account @blackowned.pgh in May 2020 after calls to support more Black businesses spread on social media following the continued reckoning against racist police violence. Her account highlights everything from Black-owned yoga studios to ice cream shops, and since its creation, the account has amassed over 22,000 followers.

Cocoapreneur Pgh (cocoapreneur.com) is another resource, founded by marketing consultant Khamil Scantling in 2018, and features an online directory of over 300 Black-owned businesses in the Pittsburgh region.
click to enlarge Casa San Jose Executive Director Monica Ruiz outside their offices in Beechview - CP PHOTO: LAKE LEWIS
CP Photo: Lake Lewis
Casa San Jose Executive Director Monica Ruiz outside their offices in Beechview
Where can I find Latino community organizations?
Casa San Jose (casasanjose.org) is an immigrant-service organization based in Brookline that supports Latinos all throughout the city, with a concentration in Pittsburgh's South Hills and East Liberty. The Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation (phdcincubator.org) operates out of Beechview (home to Pittsburgh’s biggest Latino community) and provides services to Latino and Hispanic entrepreneurs, including a business incubator. The Latino Community Center (latinocommunitycenter.org) is based in Downtown and offers case management support and referrals to services. The Pittsburgh chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (facebook.com/lclaapittsburgh) is a great source for Latinos and immigrants who need help with a labor dispute.


Where can I find AAPI community organizations?
OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates (ocapghpa.org) has an active Pittsburgh chapter that promotes civil rights advocacy and cultural education for Asian Pacific Americans through civic engagement, free medical clinics, festival celebrations, and more. There’s also an active Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (bcapgh.org) with an after-school program, citizenship and immigration assistance, counseling, and recreational activities. The Japan America Society of Pennsylvania (japansocietypa.org) is based in Pittsburgh, and the Japan Association of Greater Pittsburgh (pittsburghjapan.wordpress.com) offers services and programming for Japanese residents.

The Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh (thefaap.org/wp) promotes Filipino heritage through cultural, charitable, and educational activities. The Bengali Association of Pittsburgh presents traditional musical and dance programs, stage performances, and other cultural events. And the Pittsburgh branch of the Taiwanese Association of America (taapittsburgh.org) supports the Taiwanese community through recreational programs such as a choir and softball club, as well as various cultural events.

Where can I get tested for an STD?
We recommend visiting one of the city’s Planned Parenthood centers. Find your nearest location at plannedparenthood.org. Or find help at Allies for Health and Wellbeing (alliespgh.org), an LGBTQ-friendly HIV/AIDS resource that also offers tests and treatments for a range of sexually transmitted infections, as well as Hepatitis C.

How do I report things like potholes and overgrown weeds?
Residents and homeowners can report non-emergency situations like graffiti, litter, and illegal parking to 3-1-1. You can also fill out a request online at pittsburghpa.gov/311/form, or tweet @311PGH.


How do I report a crime?
For emergencies, call 9-1-1 within Allegheny County, and if you have a hearing/speech impairment, or feel unsafe speaking on the phone, you can send a text message to a 911 operator from a mobile phone. (Send text only, no photos or videos.)

Can I take public transit out to the airport?
Yes, the Port Authority of Allegheny County runs a specially equipped bus out to the Pittsburgh International Airport. The 28X runs from East Liberty, through Oakland and Downtown, and then on to the airport in Western Allegheny County. The ride takes about 45 minutes from Downtown and costs $2.50 with a ConnectCard or $2.75 cash.

Why are there lights flashing at the top of that one building Downtown?
The lights on top of the 40-story Grant Building at 310 Grant St. actually flash out a symbol in Morse code: "P I T T S B U R G H." Cool, huh?

What about the top of that Downtown building that's always changing colors?
Fun fact: That's a weather beacon at the top of the 44-story Gulf Tower on Grant Street. The temperature is displayed on the top three floors; precipitation, humidity, and wind speed are shown on the others.

What exactly are the Parkway West, Parkway East, and Parkway North?
Pittsburgh’s most traveled interstate highways, for some reason, are sometimes referred to as parkways, and given as directions to determine which is which, even though drivers travel in multiple directions on them. Considering that maps only refer to these interstates by their interstate numbers, it can be very confusing to newcomers. When people say the “Parkway North,” they mean 1-279 between the Pittsburgh North Side and the North Hills. Traveling south on the Parkway North means driving inbound into Pittsburgh on 1-279. When people say the “Parkway East,” they mean I-376 between Downtown and Monroeville in Eastern Allegheny County. And when people say the “Parkway West,” they mean I-376 from Downtown out to the Pittsburgh International Airport in Western Allegheny County.


What’s up with the weird furniture blocking my parking spot?
“Parking chairs,” which generically refers to any item used to reserve a street parking space, attempt to claim private ownership of a public space. Under the official law of the land, parking chairs can be ignored. The law of the jungle, though, says something else, especially in winter. If your neighbor shovels their car out from snow, their chair indicates they claim that spot when they return. There are horror stories about what happens to people who violate local parking customs.

How do I know when to take my trash out?
Enter your address at pgh.st and find your street’s schedule for trash, recycling, and yard pickup. Sign up for free text or email reminders sent out the evening before scheduled pickups. There are also designated recycling centers located throughout the city if you want to drop off glass, cans, mixed paper, etc. and can’t wait until trash day. Look up the closest one at pittsburghpa.gov/dpw/drop-off.

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