One major need the group is trying to meet is healthcare, and with healthcare comes the pandemic and vaccines.By Nicole Ford

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A North Side initiative is hitting the streets. Thrive18’s mission is to help the community thrive from mental health resources to rental assistance.

“You think that people who need help are different from you. But what I’ve learned is they are just like me,” said Rev. Brenda Gregg.

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Gregg runs Project Destiny, and within that organization is Thrive18.

“I tell people we try to get you whatever you need from housing to socks. If you just need a pair of socks, we will try to find a resource for that,” said Renita Freeman, who’s an outreach worker with Thrive18.

These outreach workers hit the pavement to help a community and it’s successful with help from community partners which include the Buhl Foundation, Highmark Health, Allegheny Health Network, the Allegheny County Health Department, Gateway Health, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and the City of Pittsburgh.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that one’s zip code is the strongest predictor of how long they will live so with Thrive18, we’ve used data and analytics to hyper-target those households with the greatest needs,” said Nebeyou Abebe, who’s the S.V.P. of Social Determinants of Health at Highmark.

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One major need is healthcare and with healthcare comes the pandemic and vaccines.

“People are still hesitant and I think for a lot of them, it’s just a matter of hearing from people who look like them, people who’ve had the test and vaccine themselves. You can have that one-on-one dialogue and I think that’s what it’s going to take,” Gregg said.

So a knock on your door could not only bring you much-needed food or information to roll up your sleeve, but it also can help you better connect to your own community.

“The North Side is special, and you know the history, the people on the North Side, it’s not that we make it special, we are just adding to what’s already here to make it special,” Freeman said.

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With social distancing, Thrive18 set up a 24/7 call line if anyone does need help or has questions. That number is 412-231-1258.