ISSUE 86 | November 25, 2020
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
PA faces a several billion dollar tax shortfall thanks to the pandemic-affected economy 
A new state budget must be approved in the coming weeks, but an early analysis by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center indicates that the commonwealth will likely be more than $3 billion short of the revenue needed for Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed spending plan.

This loss of revenue is due in large part to the pandemic’s interruption of economic activity.

It is currently unclear whether the state will receive further financial assistance from the federal government.

$1 billion in relief aid is tied up in Harrisburg as PA businesses face more COVID-19 pain
Pennsylvania has $1.3 billion in federal pandemic relief funding that will return to the federal government if it is not distributed by the end of the year.

Lawmakers are divided in terms of how the funding should be used – Democrats hope to use it for direct support to businesses and individuals, and Republicans suggest that it should be used to cover the state’s pandemic-induced revenue shortfalls.

Pennsylvania’s rent relief program likely will not use all its funds — but not due to lack of need
Pennsylvania’s rental assistance program stopped accepting applications at the beginning of November, even though the need for assistance is still high and the program has more than $130 million in unspent funding.

Since July, the program has provided assistance to more than 10,000 renters and nearly 7,000 landlords, and many thousands more have applied for aid.

According to the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, up to 15 percent of the state’s renters may be at risk of eviction by the end of the year. 

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
In U.S. cities, the health effects of past housing discrimination are clear
Researchers from the University of Richmond, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition have found that residents of neighborhoods with histories of housing discrimination tend to have shorter-than-usual life spans and higher-than-usual rates of chronic illness.

Researchers also found that formerly redlined communities experience greater social vulnerability, meaning that they may struggle more with emergencies due to lack of resources. 

Public health programs see surge in student applicants amid pandemic
State and local public health departments throughout the United States may be struggling with budgetary and workforce issues, but the pandemic may have sparked student interest.

Among higher education programs that use the common application, there has been a 20-percent increase in applications to master’s-level public health programs. 

U.S. cities ill-prepared for boom in elderly population
According to a report by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and the AARP Public Policy Institute, America’s cities are unprepared to meet the needs of the growing senior population.

Researchers determined that most communities are not “livable” for older adults (based on factors like housing, transportation, and healthcare).

People of color, people with disabilities, and lower-income individuals are less likely to have access to the resources they will need when they are older.

Research Spotlight: Interested in learning more about the pandemic's effect throughout the region?

Watch The Institute's latest video from Andrew Chew, who presents recent data on rising cases of COVID-19 in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Be sure to subscribe to The Institute's YouTube channel as well, so you don't miss the latest data updates!
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