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Allegheny County DHS Awards American Rescue Plan Act Funds to Neighborhood Allies

Allegheny County Department of Human Services Awards American Rescue Plan Act Funds to Neighborhood Allies to help ensure that every Black person in Allegheny County has at least one positive mental health experience by 2030.

We are thrilled to announce that this partnership with DHS will support our Organization-in-Residence, Steel Smiling’s programming over the next two years!

Steel Smiling moves towards its mission through programming, such as Beams to Bridges, which provides comprehensive mental health training to community members; the Black Mental Health Fund, which helps Black people offset costs related to receiving mental health support/treatment from Black mental health professionals; as well as support groups; thought leadership; advocacy; and more!

“We are very grateful for this opportunity to partner with Allegheny County DHS to ensure that the social, mental and economic wellbeing of every member of our communities is healthy and strong. These funds will help accelerate our capacity and in-house expertise to develop and promote practices that will improve lives and help us reach our North Star Goal of moving 100,000 low-income Pittsburghers up the socio-economic ladder over the next 10 years.”-Presley Gillespie, Neighborhood Allies President and CEO

More specifically, this allocation of $650,000 across two years will help Steel Smiling:

  • provide resourcing for copayments, psychiatric treatment, and medications for existing and new community members seeking mental health support through the Black Mental Health fund;

  • support our current and future Beams to Bridges cohort participants through participation stipends, curriculum development, and training;

  • and hire Beams to Bridges graduates as consultants to execute on community-based mental health supports, such as providing psychoeducation and support group co-facilitation, peer group session development, behavioral health referrals, and ongoing programmatic recommendations.

It will also allow Steel Smiling to evaluate and adjust programming to meet community members where they are, emphasizing the importance of community-based mental health care.

This contract was awarded pursuant to the Allegheny County DHS RFP seeking community-led projects to increase the availability of preventative and proactive supports that individuals or families can use for mental health and wellbeing; smooth pathways to more formal services; broaden the ways in which people connect to care; and/or reduce both stigma and crises. Steel Smiling is one of 15 organizations awarded under this RFP. Stay tuned for more from DHS about the full set of projects soon!


Steel Smiling is an Organization-In-Residence of Neighborhood Allies. Through the Organization-in-Residence partnership, Steel Smiling has heightened capacity to meet the needs of those they serve by accessing Neighborhood Allies’ organizational infrastructure. Having the ability to share in these structures, policies and internal services means that the Steel Smiling team will be able to both broaden and deepen their reach in ensuring that every Black person in Allegheny County has at least one positive mental health experience by 2030.

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