New Zoning Changes Proposed to Address Homelessness Crisis in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh City Council is considering implementing zoning changes to allow for legally authorized homeless encampments as winter shelters become filled. The proposed bill would introduce a new zoning use called a “temporary managed community,” which would provide areas for homeless encampments equipped with support staff, heating, and food. Councilor Deb Gross, the sponsor of the bill, expressed concern over the current state of shelters being full, stating the need to ensure that the council does not hinder efforts to establish temporary managed communities.

The bill aims to amend the city’s zoning code by creating the temporary managed community designation, granting authorization to tent sites that meet specific requirements such as heated restrooms and medical facilities. This initiative is in response to the growing number of individuals in need of shelter exceeding the city’s capacity to provide for them, raising questions about the city’s policies on homelessness.

The proposed zoning change represents the first step in a larger plan devised by Councilor Gross and Councilor Anthony Coghill, the chair of the city’s homelessness committee. If approved, the next phase will involve the creation of a pilot site with 25 tents, electricity, portable shower and restroom facilities, medical services, and food.

However, Gross emphasized the urgent need for more affordable and transitional housing options in Pittsburgh. She stated that it is challenging to sustain a living in Pittsburgh on a disability check or low-income from Social Security. While long-term solutions are being sought, Coghill emphasized the necessity of immediate stopgap measures to protect individuals from freezing during winter.


1. What are temporary managed communities?

Temporary managed communities are designated areas for homeless encampments that are legally authorized and equipped with support staff, heating, and food.

2. What requirements must a tent site meet to be authorized?

Tent sites must meet specific requirements, including heated restrooms and medical facilities, to be authorized as temporary managed communities.

3. Who proposed the zoning changes?

The zoning changes were proposed by Councilor Deb Gross, who aims to address the existing crisis of homelessness in Pittsburgh.

4. How will these changes be implemented?

The proposed zoning changes will involve amending the city’s zoning code to create the temporary managed community designation, allowing for authorized homeless encampments.

Source: [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette](