ISSUE 254 | April 25, 2024

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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News

Study Identifies Traffic Congestion Chokepoints in Lackawanna, Luzerne Counties 

The Lackawanna-Luzerne Transportation Study Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has drafted a study on the 45 most congested traffic points in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties.

Working alongside Michael Baker International, the MPO is using the study as an introduction to new traffic efficiency projects.

PENDOT has also recently announced a $350 million reconstruction of Interstate 81 through Luzerne County.  

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PA to Receive Millions for Solar Energy Projects that will Benefit Residents with Low Income

The Solar for All grant was announced on Earth Day, giving low-income families in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware more access to solar power.

Funded by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, the Solar for All grant is expected to serve over 900,000 households.

The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority will receive more than $156 million for residential serving solar infrastructure. 

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Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania April 2024 Legislative Update

The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania has announced several legislative announcements this month.

Two bills have been introduced to prevent access to open eviction records and three bills have been introduced to reform land limited by zoning ordinances.

See below for more information on bills and funding goals for April. 

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From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News

US Small Businesses: Key Facts and Public Views on Small Firms

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 86 percent of Americans say that small businesses have a positive effect on nationwide operations, outranking both the military and churches.

Defined as institutions with 500 or fewer employees, small businesses account for 99 percent of U.S. firms.

Pew Research discusses data on small businesses, as well as public opinion of them. 


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Food Insecurity Increased for the Second Straight Year in 2023


The Urban Institute has reported that food insecurity has increased for the second straight year in 2023.

From 2019-2021, government and private response to the COVID-19 pandemic caused a decline in food insecurity, but from 2021, the expiration of aid and rise in inflation has caused a sharp increase in food insecurity.

The Urban Institute examines the factors behind decreases to food access, and which groups are most effected by food insecurity. 

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Rural Jails Turn to Community Health Workers to Help the Newly Released Succeed

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, across the nation, 63 percent of individuals booked into local jails struggle with substance use disorder, more than six times more than the general population.

Additionally, the rate of mental illness in local jails is more than twice the rate of the general population.

A new program seeks to pair up community health workers with those newly released from local jails to increase success of reintegration and to present community and health resources. 

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