In the mid-nineteen eighties, the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh assembled a task force to look at unmet needs of people with disabilities in the city’s Jewish community. Perhaps the most glaring unmet need to emerge from that study was for housing and support services for adults living with mental illness or with intellectual disabilities. As was the case in many communities throughout the country, individuals with these disabilities felt marginalized, stigmatized and isolated from the people and places most meaningful to them. The establishment of Jewish Residential Services (JRS) was the Pittsburgh Jewish community response to this critical problem. In 1993, JRS opened the doors of its first residential program, located in Squirrel Hill and serving eight individuals with a history of serious mental illness.
In November of 2022, JRS changed its name to The Branch in order to represent organizational growth and evolution. The new name and identity help the organization better articulate who it is today, who its serves, and the value it brings to the communities it support.
Today The Branch has a variety of programs – residential, educational, rehabilitative and social – all based upon Jewish values, culture and practices, but welcoming to people of all religions and backgrounds. Last year The Branch touched the lives of more than 250 individuals with disabilities, and the lives many of their families as well. The Branch programs build hope, purpose, and enable many people living with disabilities to become participating and valued members of the community. The Branch helps people with disabilities experience the miracle of an ordinary life.
We Work With Individuals, Families, & The Community
Supportive Living Program
Serves adults with chronic & persistent mental illness and/or developmental disabilities. Participants live independently in their own homes.
Families in Transition
a JRS initiative designed to support individuals who are eager to assume more independence but who need considerable supports because of significant disabilities
Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse
A place where people with mental illness become whole again by building equal relationships, while doing meaningful daily work.
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