With each new day, and at times every hour, updates and guidelines arrive about the coronavirus pandemic and how it’s impacting Pittsburghers and the entire country. All across our region, caring, compassionate and motivated individuals, nonprofit groups and companies are rallying to help others and find solutions to the sudden and profound challenges facing residents.
Below are seven local initiatives providing assistance, critical services and valuable resources.
Allegheny County Real Estate Taxes
To give taxpayers additional time to pay while we collectively deal with the coronavirus situation, Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein has announced a 30-day extension to the discounted real estate tax deadline, moving the deadline to Thursday, April 30. Payments received or postmarked by April 30 will be eligible for a 2% discount. Weinstein also reminded taxpayers of their many options to pay remotely. Real estate tax payments, license purchases and special taxes can be submitted by mail or electronically online. Questions can be directed to webmaster.treasurer@AlleghenyCounty.US.
Small Business Support
While working remotely, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) will remain fully operational. Resources are available for the URA’s small business borrowers, as well as for small businesses located in the City of Pittsburgh who are potentially impacted by COVID-19. Small business borrowers that have a loan from the URA and are seeking relief should contact their URA loan officer via email or phone. If you are not one of the URA’s borrowers, resources and information on assistance can be found here. All URA-related updates and resources can be found on the organization’s new COVID-19 webpage.
Beginning Monday, March 23, the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh will operate a URA Housing Opportunity Fund-sponsored program designed to help households struggling with rent payments due to COVID-19-related losses in work and wages. For information, City of Pittsburgh residents can call the Urban League at 412-227-4164.
Emergency Fund for Artists
In response to COVID-19, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC) has expanded its Emergency Fund for Artists to support those impacted by the virus as events and performances are being canceled. GPAC has temporarily expanded its application guidelines to meet the profound challenges being faced by regional artists. The fund is designed so that artists can quickly access up to $500 to recoup financial losses due to canceled events, offset the loss of expected income and assist with rent, food and other needs. Artists living in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington, Lawrence, Indiana, Greene, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties are eligible. To donate to the fund, go here.
Pittsburgh Virtual Tip Jar
Another industry hit extremely hard by the COVID-19 pandemic is the service industry, as the City of Pittsburgh has ordered all bars, restaurants and other non-essential businesses to close. While we are practicing social distancing, we can help support the bars, salons, restaurants and businesses we regularly patronize and that help to make our region thrive. Send a tip to your favorite bartender, server, stylist or aesthetician today using this online form and do your part to help our region’s vital service industry workers make ends meet. And if you don’t see your favorite service industry folks listed, encourage them to visit the website to join.
PGH Artists Emergency Fund
The global COVID-19 pandemic has left artists and performers with no safety nets to support their immediate critical needs, as events, tours, shows, workshops and jobs are being canceled. The proactive PGH Artists Emergency Fund is here to help by providing payments of up to $250 per artist. Funds can go toward helping artists pay their rent, cover bills, purchase food and other essentials, and more. Established by local artists and community organizers based in Pittsburgh, the initiative has already raised $13,518 toward its $15,000 goal.
United Way is operating a free helpline for housing and other emergencies serving 14 Southwestern Pennsylvania counties. The PA 2‑1‑1 Southwest line is part of the national 2‑1‑1 Call Centers initiative providing an easy-to-remember telephone number and web resource for finding health and human services and meeting everyday needs and in crisis. The public can also search United Way’s vast database of services and providers to find the help that’s needed today.
For additional resources, read Where to get help in Pittsburgh as we adjust to life with coronavirus.