ISSUE 90 | January 6, 2021
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
PA’s free pre-K program provides a meaningful boost
According to a new evaluation of Pennsylvania’s Pre-K Counts initiative—which provides free preschool to low-income families—has consistently given students a head start with math and vocabulary skills compared to children who do not receive any early childhood education.

The study did not find gains in literacy, executive function, or social skills.  

Redlined neighborhoods largely denied access to financing
In a recent study, The Institute examined the history of redlining and its long-term effects in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Redlining was a system of denying home loan financing to certain neighborhoods, often along racial lines. Many formerly redlined neighborhoods have higher poverty rates today.

There seems to be less of a correlation between redlining and present-day poverty in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, however, possibly because of demographic changes in the region.

As need grows, West Side Food Bank steps to the plate
The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially increased need for food assistance in Northeast Pennsylvania, as families struggle with food insecurity and income loss.

Pantries have adjusted their operations accordingly.

For example, the Al Beech West Side Food Pantry in Kingston has eliminated restrictions on assistance eligibility and developed a drive-through system for item distribution. 

Research Spotlight: Would you like to learn more about redlining and its role in racial segregation?
From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Despite high demand for nurses, colleges aren't keeping up
The pandemic has brought attention to nurse shortages in many parts of the United States.

Although large numbers of prospective students have been applying to nursing programs, colleges have been limited in the number they can accept.

Reasons for these limitations include shortages of nursing teachers, classroom space, and clinical training opportunities. 

Unarmed crisis group helps Oregon communities
A video from CBS This Morning: Saturday covers Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS).

The central-Oregon program responds to one fifth of the 911 calls in the region by sending unarmed crisis workers instead of armed police.

CAHOOTS workers have more extensive crisis intervention training than the police officers with whom they partner, and the program has saved about $22.5 million for the communities it serves.  

New housing project eases the re-entry for single parents
When people are released from correctional facilities, they often struggle to find employment and long-term housing due to discrimination and restrictions on assistance.

The YWCA in King County, Washington has partnered with the housing authority there to establish Passage Point, a program that offers transitional housing and support services to single parents returning to their communities after incarceration. 

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