64 AffordableHousinginPittsburgh ByCharlesRosenblum,afreelancewriterbasedinPittsburgh AbigailHorn,coordinatorforhomelessness servicesatAlleghenyCounty’sDepartmentof Human Services, says homelessness can be a problem anywhere. “Some people become homeless directly due to an eviction or a foreclosure or to informal eviction, not going throughanycourtproceedings,butleavingtheir homebecausetheycan’tpaytheirrentorhad someotherissuewiththelandlord.” Theexpenseofhousingcanalso be unreachablefor many onanongoingbasis. AdrienneWalnoha, CEOofCommunity Human Services, observesthatintoday’seconomy housingcostsareoutpacingincome. “So here inAllegheny County, theincomethatyouneed to affordamoderately pricedtwo-bedroom apartmentis$15.90per hour. Minimumwage on theother handis$7.25anhour.” Evictions, whether formal or informal, present a more pervasive threat to housing stability. “Over thelastsixyears, anaverageof 13,700 evictionswerefiledbylandlordsannually,” Downingsays. “Somearewithdrawn. Some tenantspay therent.”Butthefilingsareakey indicator ofhousinginstability. Downing states that the goal is “to end andpreventhomelessnessinAllegheny County by 2020, meaning that if housing insecurity occurs, there are systems in place to ensure that it is rare, brief and non-recurring.” She understands that the timetable seems especially ambitious, and to be successful, “It is going to take all of us to do this.” To facilitate that collaboration, Downing convened an Eviction Discussion Group last December, gathering 30 housing and homelessness providers, lawyers, advocates and researchers from Allegheny County. Sincethen,thegrouphascontinuedtoconvene to collect and share data that ultimately will inform solutions. “Thisisanefforttoget everyoneonthesamepagetoend,thenprevent, homelessness and see if we can use funding resources in a coordinated way,” she says. “To partner with government and figure out howtomakethingsbetter.”  65 RE P ORT TO THE COM M UNI TY THE P I TTSBURGH F OUNDATI ON THIS IS AN EFFORT TO GET EVERYONE ON THE SAME PAGE TO END,THEN PREVENT, HOMELESSNESS AND SEE IF WE CAN USE FUNDING RESOURCES IN A COORDINATED WAY… TO PARTNER WITH GOVERNMENT AND FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE THINGS BETTER. Jane Downing