ISSUE 260 | June 6th, 2024

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

Harnessing the Diverse Strengths of a Few to Serve the Many 


Two inmate-operated agencies are working with nonprofit organizations and inmates in the State Correctional Institution to identify the most pressing community issues and drafting solutions.

TriumpH and LineLife support nonprofits through donations, as well as provides services for incarcerated individuals.

Over the last four years, both organizations have raised almost $200,000 in funds to Coal Township, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and more areas in order to provide early intervention for at risk individuals and other community building services.  

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Philly Trash Cleanup on Every Block Begins

Over the next 13 weeks, a cleanup of every city block is underway.

An effort from 12 city departments, the efforts will include trash cleanup, pothole repair, cite abandoned properties, remove abandoned cars, and more.

This is in response to local concerns of city-wide quality of life, and aims to make the city more walkable, clean, and provide more opportunities for business growth. 

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Why Unreliable Water Has Plagued Ferguson Township PA for a Decade

For the last decade, Ferguson Township has experienced an unreliable water system, providing issues and concerns for residents.

Following a four month investigation by Spotlight PA, evidence suggests that the water system, nearly 20 miles long, has suffered neglect by state regulators and private companies alike.

However, a complete overhaul of the system would mean significantly higher bills, after a 2016 state law empowered private utility companies to pass acquisition costs to customers, which resulted in major water bill increases across the state.

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From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News

Which Cities Would Benefit Most From Converting Offices to Housing

Across the nation, there are unprecedented rates of commercial vacancy, with remote work becoming more prevalent.

Additionally, there is a national shortage of about four million homes.

To resolve both issues, local governments are exploring the possibility of converting vacant offices into living spaces; The Urban Institute discusses which cities would benefit the most from this project. 

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The State of the American Middle Class

Americans in the middle class category are a smaller share than in the last few decades, having fallen approximately ten percent since 1971.

However, the number of Americans who live in lower income households has also increased along with those who live in upper class households.

The Pew Research Center discusses the change in the American middle class since 1970, as well as potential new trends. 

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The Affordable Connectivity Program for Rural Americans is Running Out of Funds

During the pandemic, the federal government enacted the Affordable Connectivity Program, allowing people in lower income and rural communities to gain internet access for employment and school.

The plan serviced more than 23 million households nationwide.

However, the Affordable Connectivity Program is now out of money, causing concerns for those residents benefitting, especially regarding those who need telehealth care. 

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