Info & local resources for COVID-19: Lawrenceville

Updated 3/22/2020

 

Now more than ever, it’s important that we work together as a community to take care of all our neighbors. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, LU is communicating with partners in Lawrenceville and beyond to anticipate needs in the weeks ahead. Please know that we’re here for you and don’t hesitate to reach out with your needs during this uncertain time: 412-802-7220 or info@LUnited.org. For general guidance and information, follow the most recent updates from the CDC, the Allegheny County Health Department, and PA’s Department of Health. Residents can create an account at www.alleghenycounty.us/alerts to subscribe for COVID-19 alerts from ACHD under the categories of Health Department/Health & Environment. See below for a number of local resources. For additional ones, dial 2-1-1, check out Rep. Innamorato’s COVID-19 Resource Guide, and this Pittsburgh Mutual Aid Spreadsheet.

 

LU notices

LU no longer has access to its office and our staff is working from home. We continue to be available by phone at 412-802-7220 and email at info@LUnited.org. All LU block watches and community meetings in March are cancelled. All LU committee meetings in March will be conducted via phone/video conference, or else postponed. Goodwill generously provided adjacent space for us to continue 412 Food Rescue donations. We’ll update the community with ongoing changes at www.LUnited.org/coronavirus, social media, the LU e-newsletter, and targeted robo-dials to older adults. Please assist us with sharing information/resources with hard-to-reach neighbors.

 

For older adults & others at higher risk

According to the CDC, older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, and are recommended to stay home and away from other people (at least 6 feet).

The CDC further encourages residents “to seek out a ‘buddy’ who will check on and help care for them if they get sick.” For residents who don’t know how to seek out a “buddy,” 100+ Lawrenceville residents have stepped up to support those who are at higher risk from COVID-19 by offering to do check-in phone calls, pick up and deliver groceries/prescriptions, prepare home-cooked meals, share relevant health information, provide pet care, take out the garbage, collect mail, and more. We encourage older adults and residents with serious chronic medical conditions to take the advice of the CDC and accept a “Buddy” to have a support system (or a back-up to your existing support system) in the days and weeks ahead. Sign up here or by calling 412-802-7220.

Locally, all known pharmacies in the neighborhood currently offer delivery services:

  • Wilson’s Pharmacy (412.621.6471) offers free delivery typically between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Simply call ahead with your order. They can also include other items like drinks/candy, etc.
  • Shop N Save Pharmacy (412.784.8600) offers free delivery during their regular hours (9 a.m. – 7 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. weekends). Just call ahead. They’re a separate entity than the grocery store and can’t include groceries, but can order over-the-counter medications that are out of stock and include that for delivery with a day’s notice.
  • The Rite Aids in Lawrenceville (412.682.6970) and Bloomfield (412.621.9987) offer delivery  of prescriptions on weekdays in the later afternoon if you call the day before. Depending on Rite Aid Wellness status, there may be a $3 delivery fee. Possible to add over-the-counter medicines for delivery with prescription.

 

For folks facing food, housing, & financial insecurity

Food:

  • Registered members of the Lawrenceville Healthy Active Living (Senior) Center can now get pre-packaged meals given out 11 AM to 1 PM on M/W/F.
  • The Lawrenceville Food Pantry is open Mondays & Tuesdays from 11 AM to 12:30 PM at St. Mary’s Lyceum. No eligibility documents are required for the first pick-up. Can do delivery, but call ahead to 412.682.3877.
  • Piazza Talarico & Papa Joe’s Wine Cellar is collecting donations and packing food to feed Pittsburgh children.
  • Call LU before noon on Fridays if you want to pick up food through our 412 Food Rescue donation program: 412-802-7220.

Housing/Utilities:

  • There’s a moratorium on evictions in Allegheny County through April 14. You cannot be evicted during this time. “Self-help” evictions (changing locks, turning off utilities) are illegal and should be reported to the PA Office of Attorney General.
  • COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Fund: 412.227.4163, ura.org/pages/covid-19 
  • LU also has some small funds for folks experiencing housing instability right now: 412.802.7220.

Utilities:

Financial:

Mental/Emotional Support

 

  • Re:Solve: crisis hotline, 24-hour service – 888-796-8226
  • PSAN “Warmline”: mental health support by phone, 10am-midnight – 866-661-9276.
  • Disaster Distress Hotline (SAMHSA): 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
  • PA Dept. of Health: text “PA” to 741-741

 

For families

  • Pittsburgh Public Schools is changing their “Grab & Go” meals starting 3/23. Starting then, meals will be distributed 11 AM to 1 PM Tuesday and Friday. Multiple meals will be distributed both days. PPS is also using these sites to distribute grade-level activity packets for students out of school. There will be 30 “Grab & Go” locations: none of them are in Lawrenceville/Bloomfield/Garfield. The nearest locations are Pittsburgh Obama (515 N Highland Ave), Pittsburgh Weil (2250 Centre Ave), and Pittsburgh Spring Hill (1351 Damas St).
  • Multiple volunteers have offered to provide childcare and even education services for local families. Contact LU at 412-802-7220 for more information.

 

For the helpers

  • The Lawrenceville Food Pantry needs volunteers to pack bags anytime between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays. Call 412-704-5640 if you can help.
  • Join over 100 Lawrenceville neighbors and sign up to become a “Buddy” to a higher risk neighbor by checking in with them by phone, sharing updates, delivering groceries/prescriptions/needed items, or sharing a meal. To sign up, please complete THIS FORM or call 412-802-7220.

 

Stop the stigma

Per the CDC, “Some groups of people who may be experiencing stigma because of COVID-19 include: persons of Asian descent, people who have traveled, and emergency responders or healthcare providers. Stigma hurts everyone by creating fear or anger towards other people. Stigmatized groups may be subjected to social avoidance or rejection; denials of healthcare, education, housing or employment; and physical violence.

Stigma affects the emotional or mental health of stigmatized groups and our entire community. Stopping stigma is important to making Lawrenceville resilient. Everyone can help stop stigma related to COVID-19 by knowing the facts and sharing them with neighbors.”

 

Support our small business community

See Lawrenceville Corporation’s constantly updating list of what local businesses are currently open, with suggestions for how to support them right now.

 

Lawrenceville Farmers Market accepting vendor applications!

The 2020 vendor application for the Lawrenceville Farmers Market is now available. Interested applicants can mail an application or send a completed digital copy via email. For questions, please reach out to our Sarah Cole, our Market Manager: market@LUnited.org.

For more information on the Lawrenceville Farmers Market, please click HERE or call us at 412-802-7220.

Update on 27 51st Street (Sears Outlet)

Spear Street Capital (the owner/developer of the site) will be having a Zoning Board hearing on Thursday 2/6 at 9 a.m. at 200 Ross Street in the first floor conference room. This project is under the relatively new Riverfront (RIV) zone, and they are seeking relief from the zoning code for the following:

 

  • Exceeding the maximum number of surface parking spaces (75 permitted and 520 requested)
  • Exceeding the maximum number of parking between a building and the river (15 permitted and 96 requested)

Note: they are not seeking a variance to exceed the maximum number of parking spots allowed under the RIV zoning. The variances are for the way these parking spots are oriented (i.e. in a surface lot, as opposed to a structured parking facility, and the number between the building and the river).

 

LU, together with LC and Riverlife, has been negotiating with Spear Street since the community meeting in October to address concerns that were brought up and create community benefits. The plans and commitments have changed since the community meeting, so please see attached for the following from the developer:

 

  1. Revised site plan
  2. Tree plan for the site
  3. Renderings of the riverfront amenity space (which will be open to the public)
  4. Full zoning package
  5. Summary of improvements
  6. Traffic impact study
To quickly summarize some of the commitments that Spear Street has made:

 

  • Constructing a 1.7 acre green space along the river open to public with a 10′ wide riverfront trail for biking/walking, and 32 public bike parking spaces (and a public bike repair station).
  • Addition of a Healthy Ride station on 51st Street.
  • Planting 349 trees on site, including 60 trees of specific species requested by us that are shown to most reduce particulate matter air pollution, 1,550 shrubs and 3,000 perennials/grasses.
  • Contributing a minimum of $75,000 towards community benefits, including a new bus shelter & pedestrian safety improvements at 51st & Butler.
  • Commitment to hire Minority & Women Business Enterprises.
  • Commitment to join the Pittsburgh 2030 District, which supports building owners to strive toward 50% reductions in energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by 2030.
  • As part of effort to reduce vehicle trips to the site: providing 150 bike parking spaces with showers and lockers, requiring future tenants to be JobPerks employers, providing carpool parking spaces in priority areas of the lot, and designating a Transportation Demand Management coordinator that will report on progress.
LU plans to attend the Zoning hearing on Thursday. If you have any questions or input, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 412-802-7220 or email me at Dave@LUnited.org.

Amendments to By-Laws

Lawrenceville United’s Board of Directors is recommending amendments to the organization’s By-Laws, which requires approval from our members. These amendments were recommended to improve Lawrenceville United’s Board Officer election process, improve the eligibility deadline to be a candidate for LU’s Board of Directors, and open up to 3 positions of the 15-member Board to “Legacy” residents — for people who lived in the Lawrenceville community but are no longer residents. The other 12 Board positions will still have a requirement to be a current resident. If you have any questions about these proposed changes, or wish to talk it through in person, please contact 412-802-7220.

You must be a current member of Lawrenceville United in order to vote. Not sure of your Membership status? Contact info@LUnited.org or call 412-802-7220. Want to become a member? Click here to join or renew today.

The deadline to vote is 2/29/2020. Thank you for your participation!

VIEW the proposed By-Laws amendments here.

VOTE on the proposed By-Laws amendments using form below, or clicking here.

 

Lawrenceville-Wide Public Safety Meeting Recap: 1/28/2020

The first Lawrenceville-Wide Public Safety Meeting of 2020 was held on January 28th at 6 p.m. at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Lawrenceville branch. There were approximately 40 people in attendance.

Notes:

  1. State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl introduced himself as the state representative for 6th Ward (Lower Lawrenceville) and parts of 9th Ward (Central Lawrenceville). He noted Rep. Sara Innamorato covers the 10th Ward (Upper Lawrenceville). He noted he has been an advocate to help acquire funding for Arsenal Park’s master plan implementation, as well as the Lawrenceville community groups and affordable housing in Lawrenceville and beyond. He noted that budget season is coming around and he will be advocating for quality schools. He also noted that his office will be hosting a shredding event at Busy Beaver in the months ahead, and that his office is able to help residents get Senior Citizen ConnectCards to ride the Port Authority for free.
  2. PWSA presented on their lead line replacement program and noted that large portions of Lower and Upper Lawrenceville are on the schedule. They are seeking permissions to replace private lead lines for free at the same time that they replace the public lead lines. A list of streets is available here. Residents can check pgh2o.com/leadmap to see if their property is eligible, or call PWSA’s Lead Help Desk at 412.255.8987. See PWSA’s full presentation HERE.
  3. Dr. Heath Johnson, a crime analyst with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, provided a presentation on 2019 crime trends across Lawrenceville. Click HERE to view that presentation. Key takeaways were: citywide crime was down in 2019 and even more pronounced in Lawrenceville; the most sizeable decrease in Lawrenceville has been in Violent Crimes, down 56% over 5 year average; concentrations remain along Butler Street corridor (51st-55th and 40th-45th), which is expected in a busy commercial district; heroin overdoses dropped significantly between 2017 and 2018 with modest increases in 2019; there have been small increases in some “Nuisance” crimes, and large decreases in others.
  4. Zone 2 Police shared some safety tips for residents. Thefts from auto are down, but residents should continue to take belongings out of their cars, as criminals do not break into vehicles that are empty. Continue to watch out for unoccupied houses under construction, as these have been targeted for burglaries for tools and construction equipment when the contractors have gone home for the night.

Please let us know what content you would like to see for future Lawrenceville-Wide Public Safety Meetings: info@LUnited.org or 412-802-7220.