ISSUE 141 | January 26, 2022
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
Pittsburgh embeds behavioral health into emergency response
Police, paramedics, and other first responders are often unprepared to manage behavioral health emergencies.

From interactions with behavioral health specialists to the distribution of buprenorphine and naloxone, Pittsburgh’s effort to integrate services in three areas of the city shows promise.

A new city office of community health and safety can use data to tailor services and create partnerships for navigating behavioral health emergencies. 

Opioid lawsuit funds to be dispersed in PA  
Pennsylvania will receive $1 billion from a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and distributors, with $322 million as the first installment in 2022.

Staffing shortages are among the largest barrier to treatment of opioid use disorders.

Attorney General Shapiro believes the funds will help expand training programs, improve reimbursement, and contribute to the resolution of the workforce issues county and local governments are experiencing. 

New priorities emerge to promote equitable transportation
Although bus ridership has improved since the onset of COVID-19, it has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Cities such as Pittsburgh are embracing an opportunity to transform public transportation.

Their goals is to minimize clear inequities by reaching more impoverished and diverse neighborhoods. 

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Several U.S. cities unveil pilots to assist individuals with disabilities
For $5 per day, residents and visitors alike can rent electric scooters and power wheelchairs to navigate New York City and San Francisco.

Various pick-up and drop-off locations are situated throughout the cities, and rental takes place through an app that also provides education surrounding micromobility.

Such services allow people with disabilities to experience their surroundings in ways similar to those who rent bicycles.

Guaranteed income programs creating impact across the U.S. 
Seven guaranteed income initiatives are currently in place throughout the U.S., and another six have been proposed.

Some are tailored to families with children, single parent households, or women, and others are designed for anyone experiencing poverty.

A number of case studies demonstrate how such programs can alleviate hardship.

New York farm shares gardening resources to people in food deserts
Soul Fire Farms, located 20 miles from Albany, runs a home gardening program.

People who experience food apartheid are prioritized as applicants.

Once approved, participants receive their choices of up to 50 types of seedlings, along with raised beds and education. Classes and mentorships conclude with potlucks, where recipients share their harvests.

Research Spotlight!
The Institute's Health & Health Care Task Force has studied the incidence of food insecurity in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Follow the link and click the red box labeled 'Health and Health Care.' Then scroll down to access this important research.
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