ISSUE 193 | February 8, 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

Communities face detrimental effects of Philly hospital closure 

A major Philadelphia hospital that closed three years ago disproportionately affected Black and low-income communities.


Urban hospitals, such as the Hahnemann University Hospital affiliated with Drexel University College of Medicine, have faced permanent closures in rising rates.


Patients struggle with the growing distances required to travel for care, and many hospitals struggle with diminishing revenue and rising costs.  


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PSSA standardized test results remain below pre-pandemic levels 

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Similar to 2021 results, the 2022 Pennsylvania System of State Assessments (PSSAs) administered to students in third through eighth grades fell short of pre-pandemic levels.


English language arts (ELA) scores dropped slightly among students in third through sixth grades but increased among students in seventh and eighth grades, and math scores increased among all students except those in fifth grade.


The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) average exam scores also decreased slightly and the number of individuals taking the Keystone Exam dropped by half from 2019 – though their algebra scores did increase.


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Enthusiasm flourishes for local gardening and foraging 

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Foraging and organic gardening are gaining momentum, with research revealing various benefits to consuming many plants.


One group, Foraging and Organic Gardening in NEPA, maintains a social media presence with hundreds of members.


The individual who runs the group provides helpful classes and educational blogs about this type of foraging. 


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From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News

Colorado voters agree to innovation in achievable housing 

A ballot initiative in Colorado will set aside .1 percent of income tax revenue for jurisdictions to create affordable housing units.


It will also provide support for renters and develop programs for teachers, nurses, and others in public service to secure their first homes.


The measure, Proposition 123, was passed by voters.


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Case studies highlight effectiveness of free public transit 

A number of U.S. cities implemented free bussing in 2021 and 2022 as an incentive to increase ridership of pre-COVID passengers and cultivate a generation of new ones.


Several reported initial successes and some operational challenges, as well as concerns about long term sustainability.


Initial reviews are generally positive, however, as demonstrated by a number of case studies. 


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Austin employs tiny houses to reduce homelessness 

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Nearly 350 individuals formerly experiencing homelessness reside in a village of tiny houses outside Austin, Texas.


A three-step screening process is required for admission into the housing.


Once they are admitted, residents are expected to pay rent and utilities on a sliding scale. 


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