ISSUE 78 | September 14, 2020
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
Wolf calls for more funding to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19
Governor Tom Wolf has called on Pennsylvania’s General Assembly to approve additional pandemic relief funding for small businesses throughout the commonwealth.

He is requesting $225 million from the CARES Act in the form of forgivable loans and grants through the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program.

Thousands of businesses have received funding from this program so far.

Study: Truck traffic will only put more pressure on key interchanges
A recent study by The Institute’s Planning, Land Use, Transportation, and Infrastructure Task Force found that traffic has been increasing at major highway interchanges in Northeast Pennsylvania, as the region’s business parks continue to grow.

This increased truck traffic and other transportation issues point to a need for infrastructure improvements, but the funding sources for such improvements have been severely impacted by the pandemic.  

Want to help renters avoid eviction? Give them cash directly, experts say.
Pennsylvania’s $150 million rental assistance program, which was created to help prevent mass evictions resulting from the pandemic, has faced challenges surrounding landlord participation.

This is partly because the program requires landlords to forgive outstanding rent above a $750 monthly cap.

Some experts suggest that a more effective solution would be to give assistance payments directly to tenants.

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Why schools are struggling to feed students
More than 30 million children in the United States rely on schools for free or reduced-price meals, but a recent study found that only 15 percent of eligible households have been receiving those meals.

This is partly because parents have returned to work and are therefore unavailable to pick up food at the schools.

Additionally, the pandemic has strained meal service budgets in some districts. 

HHS plan to improve rural health focuses on better broadband, telehealth services
Rural Americans tend to be older and sicker and have lower incomes than Americans in more heavily populated areas, and they often struggle to access hospitals and healthcare.

A new plan by the Department of Health and Human Services aims to address these issues by improving telehealth services.

Healthcare experts have said that the plan has potential, although developing the necessary technology and infrastructure may be difficult and expensive.  

An Atlanta park is connecting people to housing through place-based social service provision
Homelessness has spiked since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and there is greater need to connect people to housing and support services.

Cities may be able to learn from programs that take advantage of public spaces to engage with homeless individuals and help them find the assistance they need.

A Brookings article discusses how this approach has been helpful in Atlanta’s Woodruff Park.

Research Institutions
Relaying Relevant News & Research to Local Stakeholders