ISSUE 168 | August 3, 2022
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
National broadband availability map shows PA’s deficits
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In 2018, the University of Utah received federal funds to map broadband availability.

Pennsylvania was among 40 states that provided the data to be mapped, and although the map shows deficits, the coverage areas may be misleading due to missing details surrounding broadband speed, service providers, and costs.

Lawmakers need to be cognizant of these deficiencies because coverage alone doesn’t dictate accessibility or broadband capacity.  

Redlining verdict announced 
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A mortgage company owned by Warren Buffett was found guilty of modern-day redlining in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware.

The company did not grant mortgages in predominantly Black neighborhoods, and certain neighborhoods were labeled “ghettos.”

Minority homeownership lags in Philadelphia – more so than in the most diverse neighborhoods across the country. 

Alley housing may become a solution in Bethlehem 
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The practice of building small houses on larger family properties is not new – these homes often allow older relatives to age in place, for instance.

Bethlehem is considering a similar solution to accommodate the need for affordable housing.

Homeowners may construct the units on their own properties or developers may do so on empty lots, with fronts facing the city’s many alleys.

Research Spotlight: The Institute's study of redlining in NEPA found that targeted neighborhoods are still poorer today than non-redlined neighborhoods in the same communities.
From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Concern grows for economies hurt by the wealth gap  
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According to the Menino Survey of Mayors, people are growing more concerned about the failure to address wealth gaps in large cities – and the subsequent economic implications.

This concern is greater for cities with low housing costs than those with high housing costs.

Seven in 10 respondents do believe the economy is a top priority and that the racial wealth gap is an issue, though only four in 10 think it should be addressed as a primary issue. 

Milwaukee mayor plans to uplift neighborhoods during downtown revitalization
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As the city welcomes new downtown development in its downtown, the Residents Preference Program (RPP) is prioritized.

It targets individuals who are unemployed or underemployed, and awards them 40 percent of the construction work hours.

The Mayor believes that crime rates will decline if more people earn family sustaining wages. 

Equity shrinks as legal proceedings go digital  
The pandemic prompted many court proceedings to shift online, making dispute resolution in particular less costly and more efficient.

Legal aid agencies fight against continued use of these systems, however, because inequities are apparent for people who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with them.

For instance, Utah’s online system showed payday lenders winning a large number of cases because defendants couldn’t log on and therefore didn’t show.  

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