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Mayor Ed Gainey is ‘rolling out’ first emergency services hub, gives updates on homelessness

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey.
Jakob Lazzaro
90.5 WESA
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey during an interview on WESA's "The Confluence."

On today’s episode of The Confluence:

Mayor Ed Gainey joined the show to discuss his Plan for Peace, which aims to address gun violence through a public health perspective; homelessness; and the city’s Infrastructure Commission.

Public Safety

More than a year ago, Gainey unveiled his “Plan for Peace,” an initiative that targets violence as a public health issue. One of the goals in this plan is establishing eight city hubs for emergency services. Gainey says the city is already establishing a hub in Police Zone 1 and will soon also set up hubs in Zones 5 and 3.

“The reason for one at a time is because we want to learn. It's not just putting it out there and saying, 'Hey, this is perfect,’ we have to perfect it. So in order to perfect that, we got to look at what we're doing in Zone 1, what works, what doesn't work, and how we continue to improve on it.”

The study Gainey’s administration commissioned to assess police staffing levels has been completed. His administration is waiting to release the report publicly until Gainey’s staff, the police bureau and city council has reviewed the findings.

Homelessness in Pittsburgh

Last week, Allegheny County Department of Human Services closed the overnight shelter at the Smithfield United Church of Christ downtown.

“We've been sending as social workers down there [to Smithfield Church],” he says. “We've been working with our county partners because as you know, I don't control [county] Health and Human Services dollars. So, we have to have a relationship with the county.”

Gainey says one challenge is addressing addiction and mental health issues for those that are unhoused, and avoiding criminalizing those that need assistance and aren’t breaking the law. He says his administration and county officials have been having weekly meetings about the unhoused population.

Infrastructure Commission

Soon after the collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge last year, Gainey and then-Councilman Corey O’Connor announced plans for a Commission on Infrastructure Asset Reporting and Investment. So far, no one has been appointed to the 21-member body.

Gainey says despite the lack of progress, he wants to see the commission identify bridges and roads that need attention, and address landslides in the region.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Friday at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here for wherever you get your podcasts. 

Addison is a Junior at Point Park University, majoring in Broadcast Reporting. She is the News Director for Point Park's campus station, U-View Television and reports on the show Daybreak. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her cat, Soup.
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