Institute of Politics

Suburban Poverty

In the summer of 2015, the Institute assembled a special advisory committee led by Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus Chair, Dan Frankel, and Pennsylvania House Majority Leader, Dave Reed, to examine the issue of suburban poverty in Southwestern Pennsylvania. To inform the deliberations of the committee, the Institute identified and invited regional experts to present and participate in the discussions. The committee’s work culminated in the development of a policy brief entitled “Poverty: Beyond the Urban Core,” which was released in September 2016.

The goal of the policy brief is to educate regional leaders on the changing demographics and landscape of poverty in Southwestern Pennsylvania by examining the unique obstacles that municipalities, human service providers, and nonprofits face while addressing poverty-related issues in the suburbs. The policy brief addresses the issues of housing, transportation, income inequality, and education, and provides recommendations to public, private, and nonprofit entities in their efforts to improve community outreach and help those living in poverty move towards self-sufficiency.

The policy brief recommends regulatory changes at the state level, legislative policy options, and guidance for nonprofit and community organizations at the local level. Administrative and policy options for community partners—outlined within the policy brief—may assist organizations in developing and implementing short- and long-term strategies to address barriers within their specific areas of focus.


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