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City of Pittsburgh to clear a downtown homeless encampment Thursday

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
The City of Pittsburgh notified people living unsheltered along a stretch of the riverfront trail bordering the 10th Street Bypass, that the encampment there would be cleared.

City of Pittsburgh officials say they plan to clear a downtown homeless encampment on Thursday.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said the city notified people living unsheltered along a section of the riverfront trail that borders the 10th Street Bypass, that the encampment would be cleared.

Notices posted around the encampment say the city's department of public works would clear the premises at 11 a.m. on Thursday, and lists several resources for people in need of housing.

Press Secretary Maria Montaño said in a statement that the city is working with the county and local partners to offer housing assistance beforehand to all people living there.

“This is being done in the interest of public safety and well-being of all involved and in collaboration with all partners and people involved and affected,” Montaño said.

Montaño said law enforcement is not involved in the encampment clearing. City staff and the Allegheny County Health Department are working with people at the encampment to help them find immediate shelter indoors.

The move comes as the city prepares to transition people into the Second Avenue Commons shelter. The 24/7 shelter's opening date has been delayed several times, and officials have yet to announce when the doors will open. But the city says it expects beds will be available by Nov. 15, one week from Tuesday.

“The work on Second Avenue Commons is nearing completion as the contractor completes punch list items and is going through inspections,” Montaño continued.

The 45,000-square-foot facility will have space for 95 bunkbeds year-round, and 135 beds in the winter. Each room will be able to sleep about 20 people.

Jillian Forstadt is an education reporter at 90.5 WESA. Before moving to Pittsburgh, she covered affordable housing, homelessness and rural health care at WSKG Public Radio in Binghamton, New York. Her reporting has appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition.