In case you missed it: This week’s good reads about Pennsylvania cities

     Christina Moffett lives in a five-bedroom apartment on the second and third floors of a multi-unit building with five of her six children and a baby on the way on North Washington Avenue in Scranton, Pa. (Photography by Jessica Kourkounis)

    Christina Moffett lives in a five-bedroom apartment on the second and third floors of a multi-unit building with five of her six children and a baby on the way on North Washington Avenue in Scranton, Pa. (Photography by Jessica Kourkounis)

    New year, with winter weather and new reads.

    One street, many housing perspectives

    As part of our housing series, Keystone Crossroads looks at One Street in three different cities — Philadelphia, Scranton and Pittsburgh. Home can feel vastly different, depending on which part of the street you live. Housing is a challenge for ex-offenders. Pennsylvania counties differ on their approach to transitional housing and their ability to get funding.

    Baltimore has come close to creating a housing voucher program that works fairly well. Maps tell the story of how some low-income families are finding affordable housing in more affluent areas. (CityLab)

    Politics as usual?

    A new year and no new budget — just some temporary financial help for schools. Will politicians be willing to take risks in this 2016 election year, or are positions now weaker because the political stakes are higher?

    Thaddeus Kirkland is on double-duty. He is the new mayor of Chester and has declared he will also continue as state representative of the 159th Legislative District.

    Allentown Managing Director Francis X. Dougherty is known for blowing the cover of consultant Mike Fleck. In his prior position as acting chief of operations for the Philadelphia School District, Dougherty blew the whistle on a contract that he believes was awarded improperly and was fired. After suing the school district for violating his first amendment rights, a jury awarded Dougherty $725,000 in damages. This week, the School Reform Commission votes whether to approve the award and drop its appeal.

    Gun laws and sales

    The mayor of Harrisburg is showing his dissatisfaction with the NRA by refusing to provide police security at the NRA-sponsored Great American Outdoor Show.

    Shira Goodman, the president of Cease Fire PA, discussed how Pennsylvanians would be impacted by President Obama’s executive order. (NewsWorks)In Pennsylvania, news of the executive order has resulted in an increase in gun sales and mixed reaction among lawmakers. (WITF)

    Mad for Midcentury

    If you like the set of “Mad Men,” you may find that you’re a fan of Midcentury Modern, a period of architecture and design that lasted from the  1930s to the 1970s. Work by Louis Kahn and Frank Lloyd Wright and others can be found throughout the state. Efforts are underway to preserve these old, but not-too-old structures.

    Communities, carrots and sticks

    Lancaster’s low cost of living and affordable housing make it an attractive hub for refugees. Most residents welcome their new neighbors, but there was recently a rally for and against resettlement.

    Mahanoy City, a borough in Schuylkill County, may enter the commonwealth’s Act 47 program for distressed cities. The program offers taxing opportunities and the borough has not reassessed property values for nearly 20 years.

    Asheville, N.C. is trying a new approach to upping the wages of some residents. Businesses that offer “livable wage” are rewarded with a certificate that program planners say attracts business and ups average income.

    The wheels on the bus

    In some cities, we have discovered that there are challenges to riding the bus. Pittsburgh is trying to make it easier and in Philadelphia, one rider created a DIY SEPTA bus map. (PlanPhilly)Whether it’s working on your own DIY project or relaxing with friends, enjoy your weekend.

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