ISSUE 93 | January 27, 2021
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
Some grocers will pay workers to get vaccinated
A number of businesses in Northeast Pennsylvania have announced that they will provide incentives for their employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

For example, Aldi plans to offer up to four hours of paid time and scheduling flexibility so workers can get immunized. Dollar General is taking a similar approach.

Grocery workers will be eligible for vaccines in the next phase of the state’s distribution plan. 

Healthcare facilities adapting to new COVID-19 vaccine guidelines
Pennsylvania health officials have expanded eligibility for the first phase of vaccine distribution to include people aged 65 and over, people with high-risk health conditions, smokers, and pregnant women.

This means 3.5 million Pennsylvanians are now eligible.

The increase in demand for vaccines has presented new challenges for healthcare organizations.

Thousands of PA recovery homes still lack state oversight
In 2017, legislation was passed to increase oversight for drug and alcohol recovery houses.

Officials and advocates had complained that recovery homes were often over-crowded, profit-driven, and lacking in structure and support for their residents – which could potentially have lead those residents to relapse.

The oversight program has been delayed, however, and participation by recovery homes is not required. 

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
New administration proposes temporary child credit expansion
The Biden administration has proposed a temporary expansion of the Child Tax Credit, which would increase the size of the credit and make the full amount available to low-income families that do not owe income taxes.

Research from Columbia University suggests that this proposal could reduce the poverty rate among children from 13.6 percent to 7.5 percent.

Currently, the tax credit is helpful to low-income families but it is not targeted to them.  

There may be better ways to collect data on homelessness
Due to safety concerns, 175 continuums of care have asked for permission to postpone or cancel this month’s point-in-time (PIT) count of people experiencing homelessness.

Advocates say this is an opportunity to improve methods of data collection; currently, the PIT is only mandated to take place every other January, which may lead to an inaccurate count of unhoused people.

In some regions, more frequent data collection has helped eliminate chronic homelessness.

Study explores path for young adults to escape poverty
A study from the UC Davis Center for Poverty and Inequality Research found that when young people leave their homes and transition to adulthood, they often move to neighborhoods very economically different from the ones in which they were raised.

The authors suggest that this transitional period may present an opportunity for policy interventions to narrow the poverty gap between people from advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds.

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