Saturday, July 2, 2022


The U.S. Supreme Court strips the EPA's power to curb pollution, California takes a big step toward universal health care, and a Florida judge will temporarily block the state's 15-week abortion ban.


SCOTUS significantly limits the Clean Air Act and rules against the "Stay in Mexico" policy, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in to office, and President Biden endorses a filibuster carveout for abortion rights.


From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

After Fire, Advocates Say Philly Must Address Affordable-Housing Crisis


Monday, January 10, 2022   

A devastating fire in a Philadelphia public-housing rowhome last week killed 12 people, eight of them children.

In the aftermath, advocates say government leaders need to address the city's affordable-housing crisis to ensure the tragedy doesn't happen again.

According to officials, 26 people were living in the duplex apartment at the time of the fire. The Philadelphia Housing Authority does not limit the number of people who can live in a single unit.

Jenna Collins, staff attorney for Community Legal Services, pointed out there are very few large affordable-housing units for multigenerational families. She said it is a symptom of inadequate funding for subsidized housing.

"If you look at the HUD budget for public housing today adjusted for inflation, it has gone down significantly since 30 years ago," Collins observed. "As families do grow, there's nowhere to transfer them and allow them to keep that subsidy that is often the difference between them affording rent and becoming homeless."

An investigation by Philadelphia Fire, the city's police department and federal support from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is under way. The property, which is owned and operated by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, last received an inspection last April and May.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority said the cost of repairs to its buildings exceeds one billion dollars. It could receive some increased funding if Congress passes the Build Back Better Act. Collins said PHA struggles to keep up with repairs that do not appear immediately life-threatening.

"The housing authority is trying to respond to things that feel emergent in the moment like three inches of sewer water in a basement," Collins explained. "So they do not have the funds to update the really old housing stock, so we really are seeing the result of that lack of funds to improve infrastructure."

Some solutions PHA could implement to make older units safer include hard-wiring smoke detectors, which new public housing units in Philadelphia already have. All six smoke alarms in the building were inoperable at the time of the fire, officials said.

get more stories like this via email
While most classrooms are empty right now, lingering concerns from the previous school year, such as the pandemic's effect on students and staff, are being dissected ahead of next year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…

Health and Wellness

A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …


The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …

The only memorial to Anne Frank is located in Boise. (Kencf0618/Wikimedia Commons)

Social Issues

Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …


Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …

Medicare fraud costs taxpayers an estimated $60 billion each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …

Social Issues

A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…

Social Issues

Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021