ISSUE 67 | June 19, 2020
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
What does the Supreme Court’s ruling on discrimination mean for PA?
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers from discrimination by employers on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.

This ruling has implications for employment in Pennsylvania, where such discrimination had not been explicitly prohibited.

Experts believe the ruling may lead to similar protections in areas such as housing and education.

Pennsylvania releases data on COVID-19 deaths among Latinos
Healthcare professionals are concerned that inconsistent data collection regarding the impact of the coronavirus on various demographic groups may endanger vulnerable populations.

Pennsylvania recently published its first estimate of virus-related deaths among Latinx residents, but counties have not been consistent in how they collect and report ethnic data.

Lack of accurate information complicates understanding of the ways the pandemic affects certain populations.

Calls to report child abuse dropped significantly during PA shutdown 
Since Pennsylvania shut down to protect residents from COVID-19, there has been an unusually large decline in reports of suspected child abuse.
Unfortunately, this is not a sign that there are fewer instances of abuse; it is likely that much of the decrease is due to school closures.

Social distancing has also made it difficult to investigate reports of abuse.

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Pandemic upends the lives of people with disabilities — and their caregivers
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges for people with disabilities and the service providers who work with them.

Caregivers face safety risks when working closely with their clients, and many agencies have struggled financially in recent months.

The pandemic has also exacerbated shortages of caregivers in some regions, limiting the extent to which people with disabilities can live independently. 

States are leveraging Medicaid to respond to COVID-19
Many states have taken steps to strengthen their Medicaid programs in response to ongoing public health crisis. Measures that have been proposed or implemented include:

  • expanding home- and community-based services (HCBS)

  • improving access to coverage and care

  • helping people access care while maintaining social distance

  • strengthening the health care workforce

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recommends that more states adopt these types of policies. 

How much assistance is needed to support renters through the COVID-19 crisis?
A new brief by the Urban Institute examines the pandemic’s impact on renter-occupied households and the amount of rental assistance those households need to stay in their homes.

The authors determined that when state and federal unemployment assistance expires, over $15 billion per month will be required to alleviate cost burden (when a household pays 30 percent or more of its income on housing costs).

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