ISSUE 101 | March 26, 2021
The Institute is an economic research and applied research and consulting group that provides customized client solutions and strategies to facilitate decision making and planning that enhances growth, impact, and sustainability for organizations.
From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
Pennsylvania ranks 2nd in COVID-19 vaccinations, improves provider map
According to officials from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation last week in terms of the number of COVID-19 vaccines distributed per 100,000 residents.

Although more than 2,000 providers have expressed interest in administering the vaccine, the state has narrowed allocations to a network of less than 300 providers, including hospitals, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, and other public health agencies.

Pennsylvania families will receive money to make up for lost school meals
Pennsylvania officials are planning to distribute more than $1 billion in federal food assistance to families to make up for meals their children were not able to eat at school during the pandemic.

These EBT benefits will go to more than 900,000 children. Developing a distribution plan has been challenging due to different practices between school districts, however, and the first round of payments will not reach families until late April or early May.

Spike in Medicaid enrollment further highlights pandemic’s devastation 
In the year from February 2020 to February 2021, Medicaid enrollment among Pennsylvanians increased by approximately 13.7 percent (more than 388,000 people).

This spike in enrollment – larger than any yearly increase during the Great Recession – reflects the extent of the pandemic’s impact on employment as well as the growing needs of Pennsylvania households.

In Luzerne County, enrollment increased by nearly 15 percent.

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Richest U.S. counties overwhelmed by surge in child hunger
Child hunger rates in the United States increased throughout the last year.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the advocacy organization Feeding America, the largest increases have occurred in counties with higher median household incomes.

Many of these communities were unprepared to address food insecurity because they did not already have strong assistance networks in place.

Nonprofit cites examples to describe how data can boost racial equity 
FUSE Corps, a nonprofit that partners with local governments on community development projects, has identified examples that illustrate how disaggregating city data can lead to improvements in racial equity.

In some cities, aggregate data does not accurately reflect the economic and social realities of residents from racial or ethnic minorities.

Breaking data apart to closely examine racial disparities could lead to more equitable funding for small businesses, better outcomes for youth, and other positive effects.

Discrimination against voucher holders spurs lawsuit in New York
The nonprofit watchdog organization Housing Rights Initiative is reportedly suing 88 New York City landlords and brokerage firms for discrimination against people who receive Housing Choice Vouchers.

Discrimination based on the source of a prospective tenant’s income is widespread, even though it is illegal in New York and many other states and cities.   

Research Spotlight: The Institute recently explored regional equity issues in an examination of COVID-19's impact. This report sheds light on disparities across gender, age, race, and other relevant demographic groups.
Research Institutions
Relaying Relevant News & Research to Local Stakeholders