Kate Giammarise


Kate is covering the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.


She covered poverty, social services and affordable housing at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for nearly five years; prior to that she spent several years in the paper’s Harrisburg bureau covering the legislature, governor, and state government.


She was part of the P-G staff that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting on the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. She has won numerous state and local awards for her reporting and was honored with a 2020 Keystone Media Award for her beat reporting on poverty.


She also previously reported for several newspapers in Ohio and covered the steel industry for a trade publication.


She can be reached at kgiammarise@wesa.fm or 412-697-2953.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A program that assists Pennsylvanians facing mortgage foreclosures is bracing for a wave of pandemic-related need, at the same time that it’s worrying about its own finances.

Paul Sancya / AP

As shutdowns and closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic approach the one-year point, many respondents in a recent WESA/Campos survey said their finances are worsening.

Paul Sancya / AP

Thousands of Pennsylvanians who were unemployed last year now owe federal taxes on their unemployment benefits. Other Pennsylvanians – some of whom were never unemployed – are receiving tax bills due to a widespread fraud problem.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The region’s leisure and hospitality sector is in dire economic straits, according to a report issued earlier this month from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development

Kate Giammarise

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has several programs to help low-income customers who might not be able to afford their water bills – though many people who are eligible for those programs have not signed up.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

When Marc Cherna applied for a position leading Allegheny County’s child welfare department more than 25 years ago, he didn’t think he’d get the job.

Kevin McCorry / WHYY

A case before Commonwealth Court today challenges the end of a cash assistance program for the poorest Pennsylvanians.

Jay Manning / PublicSource

When DaJuan Davis learned that his application for rent relief was denied, exposing him and his son to another potential eviction, he felt “crushed.”

Tenant Cities: Going It Alone In Allegheny County

Feb 1, 2021
Jay Manning / PublicSource

Allegheny County officials realized last autumn that Pennsylvania’s CARES Rent Relief Program wasn’t helping many tenants and landlords here. So they made a decision apparently unique in the commonwealth: They largely ditched state rules, stopped spending state money, and opened the spigot on their own rent relief program.

Illustration by Haley Okuley / RAND Corporation

Food insecurity increased greatly – by nearly 80% – for residents in two predominantly Black Pittsburgh neighborhoods during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, far above that of the general population during the same time, according to new research released Thursday. 

DoD News photo by EJ Hersom

President Joe Biden is asking the Education Department to extend a pause on federal student loan payments through at least Sept. 30.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

While more Pennsylvanians are seeking help from public assistance programs such as food stamps and Medicaid due to the coronavirus pandemic, that’s not the case for the state’s welfare program – enrollment has actually fallen by more than 15,000 people since last March.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Charday Richardson doesn’t have the choice to work from home: She’s a medical assistant in a dermatology practice that sees over 40 patients a day.

Courtesy Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

In 1982, Gail Robbins was a social worker in need of a job, when a friend and former co-worker suggested she seek work part-time at Pittsburgh’s fledgling community food bank.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Enrollment in public assistance programs in Pennsylvania continues to climb due to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, though state human service officials say federal unemployment aid and other programs have kept even more people from falling into poverty.


The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania is recruiting volunteer tax preparers for its annual upcoming free tax preparation effort.

Volunteers help low-income families and individuals complete their tax returns, ensuring that everyone receives the full refunds they are entitled to.

No prior tax experience is necessary, and volunteers receive IRS training.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

For anyone having trouble paying their mortgage due to coronavirus-related circumstances, an important deadline to ask for help has been extended.


Pittsburgher Criseena Johnson is one of millions of people who will lose her unemployment benefits in a matter of days, without Congressional action.


A recent survey shows a decline in consumer confidence in southwestern Pennsylvania -- particularly how residents feel about their employment, personal finances, and spending plans -- as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Driven by the pandemic and related restrictions, and public health concerns, employment in Pittsburgh’s restaurant industry has declined by more than 31,000 workers compared to this time last year, according to research released last week.


Every month, there’s a rough week and a half period for Jennifer Eber and her daughter, when they have exhausted their monthly food stamp benefits.

Lisa Rathk / AP

State officials have disbursed more than $7 million to Pennsylvania dairy farmers to help them cover COVID-19-related financial losses.

Michael Dwyer / AP

Black Friday, the traditional kick off to the holiday shopping season, will feature fewer “doorbuster” early morning sales at big box retailers this year, according to one consumer expert.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Bastian Harris is one of many people in Pennsylvania who qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – but they have struggled to get any money.

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

A statewide rental assistance program meant to aid both landlords and tenants struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic still has more than $130 million left unspent, according to numbers released last week.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

As the Affordable Care Act goes before the Supreme Court Tuesday for the third time, one group in Pennsylvania that helps people enroll in health care coverage says despite the court challenge, the law is still in effect and health care coverage is still available.

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Starting Monday, many Pennsylvanians could be vulnerable to utility shutoffs when a coronavirus-related moratorium that has been in place since mid-March will end.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Food insecurity has increased by more than 40 percent in southwestern Pennsylvania, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact, according to one new estimate.

Courtesy of York County Food Bank

More than one-third of respondents in a recent WESA/Campos survey said their financial health has changed for the worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People without a bachelor’s degree were more likely to say their finances were worse off than those with a degree, and Black survey respondents were more likely than whites to say their finances are now worse.

Emma Lee / WHYY

The COVID-19 pandemic has lead to the loss of up to 15,600 child care spots in Allegheny County, and could push parents of young children out of the workforce if those losses become permanent, according to a new report.