ISSUE 228 | October 27, 2023

The Institute is an economic research and applied research and consulting group that provides customized client solutions and strategies to facilitate decision making and planning that enhances growth, impact, and sustainability for organizations.
From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News

Nonprofit Produces Farm-Fresh Crops


A Luzerne County nonprofit called the Food Dignity Movement started buying local produce to distribute to about 20 community organizations.

The group also runs a pay-what-you-can produce stand that pops up at various locations in NEPA.

They aim to support small businesses, reduce food waste and improve access to healthy food options, partnering with universities, shelters, and recovery programs to aid food insecure Pennsylvanians. 

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Veteran Led NEPA-Based Transitional Housing Program Serves Other Veterans 

Local veterans are upholding the principle of serving others above themselves by running an integrated healthcare and housing program.

At VALOR, veterans’ financial, physical, and emotional needs are addressed by an action plan aiding veterans in achieving personal goals, as well as an outdoor program Unstoppable which combines peer support and outdoor retreats to help with trauma and make local peer connections.

VALOR hopes to start a continuing education class that would educate healthcare providers on military behavior norms to teach them how to better relate to and treat veterans.

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Millions of Federal Dollars Could Help PA Build a Climate-Ready Electric Grid

The federal government has announced billions of dollars to prepare the country’s electric grid for the impacts of climate change and the clean energy transition; three of the 58 projects that could receive grants are in Pennsylvania.

PECO, which serves Philadelphia and several of the surrounding counties, could get up to $100 million to move its substation equipment away from flood-prone areas, and create a microgrid with battery storage to replace a diesel generator at the utility’s storm response center.

PPL Electric, which serves communities in more than two dozen counties in eastern Pennsylvania, could get nearly $50 million for new technology to automate its grid in order to predict failures, reduce outages, and improve resilience.

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From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News

LA Nonprofit Creates Real Estate Agency for the Unhoused


Nonprofit Brilliant Corners, which partners with L.A. County's Department of Health Services to act like a kind of real estate agency for the unhoused, finding rent-ready apartments so that people leaving homelessness can move in as soon as their documents are in order.

The program draws on state, local and federal funds, and its budget has grown to more than $200 million in recent years, placing an average of 192 people into permanent housing every month.

The program can fund move-in costs, including furniture, unexpected needs, and also provides social support such as mental health care and job counseling. 

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An Illinois Food Bank Removes Barriers to Healthy Food Access Via Delivery and Online Ordering

Northern Illinois Food Bank’s My Pantry Express (MPX) program leverages technology and flexible funding to improve autonomy and privacy by offering online ordering, delivery or limited-contact pickup, and food choice for residents facing food insecurity.

The MPX program is challenging the traditional model of food banking, which has historically involved making people stand in long lines to pick up their food boxes, requiring they provide personal information, and offering limited or no choice in what food is included in the boxes they receive if they can’t shop in person.

In just a few years, MPX has shown that when food banks invest in technological innovations and prioritize people’s choice and dignity, they can remove long-standing barriers people face in accessing the food they need to lead healthy lives and support their families.

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Georgia Awareness Campaign Identifies Suicide Care and Prevention for Pregnant and Postpartum Patients

Earlier this year, Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) worked directly with health care providers in the state to help increase suicide risk screening for pregnant and postpartum individuals, a particularly high-risk group.

The network of public television and radio stations launched a statewide mental health and suicide prevention public awareness campaign to promote access to resources for preventing suicide and treating suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

At a workshop focused on perinatal mental health, medical students and a broad range of clinicians who regularly interact with pregnant and postpartum patients came together for specialized trainings on how to identify symptoms of mental distress and suicidality, a broad set of signs of suicide risk, where participants also discussed best practices for implementing prevention efforts, including evidence-based practices on risk screening and referral protocols for follow-up care.


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Research Spotlight: Last year, The Institute's Jobs, Economy, and Economic Development (JEED) Task Force released a study of caregiver barriers to workforce participation in Northeastern Pennsylvania. These barriers disproportionately affect women. Use the link below to learn more.

Read the full study here

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