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

     Nymiura Lee stands in the third floor bedroom of her grandparents home in North Philadelphia.  Conditions in the home became so bad the family had to move out.  (WHYY/Lindsay Lazarski)

    Nymiura Lee stands in the third floor bedroom of her grandparents home in North Philadelphia. Conditions in the home became so bad the family had to move out. (WHYY/Lindsay Lazarski)

    Home. Home for refugees, immigrants and the launch of Keystone Crossroads’ housing series.

    Home. Home for refugees, immigrants and the launch of Keystone Crossroads’ housing series.

    Far from home

    Farhan Al Qadri sits in a tiny rowhome. He is one of a few Syrian families who found refuge in Lancaster. “We were not expecting to leave,  we did not want to leave – not to any other country.” Lancaster’s low unemployment, affordable housing and accepting community have brought more refugees to this city than to Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.A majority of Pennsylvania counties do not comply with federal immigration laws regarding the detention of illegal immigrants. Why? It may be more about avoiding costly lawsuits than compassion. A proposed bill may compel these sanctuary cities and municipalities to cooperate. 

    Housing values

    The U.S. Census data collected from 2010-2014 shows that for some Pennsylvanians, the recession is far from over. Income and housing values have dropped, poverty and demand for food stamps has increased. Cities that were vulnerable before the recession, were the most hard hit. But the report had a silver lining. Some cities, including Williamsport, Lancaster and Jeanette, have seen an increase in average wage and housing values, and large cities are holding their own.

    There’s no place like home

    For too many Pennsylvanians, affordable housing is elusive. That’s why Keystone Crossroads chose housing for its new series. “Locked out: Pennsylvania has a housing problem” explores the obstacles faced by many in trying to rent or buy an affordable home. We cover possible solutions that could help make finding a place to live a reality. There is video, audio, photos, statistics and the voices of those most impacted by these problems and those working on new initiatives to find a place to call home. Their voices eloquently capture the challenges and opportunity for change.Aging homes –  “Everything that we had was here. Once this was gone, we didn’t have anything else.” – Nymiura Lee

    Making rent – I’m tired of having to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet, and that’s me bypassing being a mother for my child. It’s like, when I’m being a mom I can’t be [making] money, and whenever I do be a mom I’m missing out on work. So it’s very, very difficult.” – Ashona OsborneChanging neighborhoods –”High class, higher-end apartments in that neighborhood doesn’t even go together… Who is going to afford to live in there?” – Olga NegronFixing public housing – This is actually our first home…We’ve always lived in the projects or rented… where we had a slumlord or something.” – Selena StrothersHousing help –”If you don’t have a place to live, you can’t really hold a job, you can’t really do your homework. If we don’t have that basic human need, really nothing else can fall into place.” – Liz HerschLancaster housing – “We have the two biggest age cohorts converging here, Baby boomers who are getting older and want to downsize, and young people who don’t want to or can’t afford to buy a house.”  – Ray D’AgostinoEmployer housing – “Housing is your largest expense. If we (the employer) can help offset some of that, then that may be a thing to tip the scale in our favor, if they’re looking at our company versus another company,” – Bob AstorHomeless encampments – “The homeless, they have a lot for us here,” – Frank FairweatherLook for future posts on Section 8 housing, housing rights for the LBGTQ community and more.

    Enjoy your weekend. Even if you are just staying home.

     

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