ISSUE 92 | January 22, 2021
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
TANF enrollment has declined in Pennsylvania
Although more Pennsylvanians have been enrolling in public assistance programs like Medicaid, statewide enrollment in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program has fallen by more than 15,000 people.

TANF offers direct cash assistance to low-income households, but officials say that the program’s limitations and requirements (e.g., low payment amounts and strict asset limits) may prevent many people from obtaining assistance. 

Geisinger debuts community vaccination center
The Geisinger health system has opened a new community vaccination center in Jenkins Township, offering vaccinations for the highest priority populations identified by the state.

The phase 1A group includes a variety of professionals involved in the fields of healthcare, education, and social services.

Geisinger has administered more than 18,000 immunizations as of this week. 

PA prisons do not always tell families when inmates are sick
A recent report from Spotlight PA explained that the Department of Corrections does not always notify families of inmates who become sick or die from COVID-19.

Department officials say this is because inmates’ emergency contact information is often inaccurate or outdated.

Prisoner advocates are encouraging the department to be more proactive about keeping families informed and keeping emergency contact information up to date. 

Research Spotlight: In this video, Senior Analyst Andrew Chew analyzes the latest COVID-19 case data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Stay up to date as researchers monitor trends throughout the administration of vaccines.
From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
President Biden reveals plan to rescue the economy 
President Joe Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion relief plan to address the ongoing pandemic and its effects on the economy.

It includes another round of direct stimulus payments to households, expanded unemployment benefits, an extension of the federal eviction moratorium, and further assistance to struggling renters, among other economic and public health initiatives.   

King County plans to buy hotels to house homeless in 2021
Officials in King County, Washington are planning to buy a dozen hotels in 2021, and convert them into permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness.

This ‘Health Through Housing’ initiative will be funded by a sales tax increase of 0.1 percent, and aims to support nearly half the county’s chronically homeless population.

Officials also hope this plan will reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

California city ends chronic homelessness
The city of Bakersfield, California effectively eliminated chronic homelessness in 2020, despite struggling with extreme poverty in the past.

For the last five years, the city has been working with the nonprofit Community Solutions to implement a ‘Built for Zero’ program, which helps community organizations coordinate their services while fostering relationships with landlords. 

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