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MidPenn Legal Services is a non-profit, public interest law firm that provides high quality free civil legal services to low-income residents and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in 18 counties in Central Pennsylvania.
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News & Notes

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - A new report says student homelessness has increased in Pennsylvania in recent years, but evidence exists that the number of students experiencing homelessness in the state remains under-counted.

The report from Research for Action, a Philadelphia-based, nonprofit education research organization, also raised concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic will deepen the problem.

Anna Shaw-Amoah, a policy associate with RFA who authored the report, said state and local officials must act quickly to provide support to students experiencing homelessness.

“There’s already many years of evidence showing that students experiencing homelessness are not being identified and therefore are not receiving the services that would help them to have an equal educational experience to that of their peers,” Ms. Shaw-Amoah said. “Now in the midst of COVID, there is so much evidence showing that there are likely going to be more students and families in temporary housing.”

LANCASTER, Pa. — Pennsylvania had an unusual problem in 2020. It had $150 million in emergency funds for rent relief—and a whole lot of trouble spending it. FOX43 Reveals what happened to all of that money and how some county agencies are now creating their own programs for rental assistance. Boxes of paperwork and applications from the state’s previous rent relief program once flooded offices at the Lancaster County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities. Staff scrambled to get the money into tenants’ hands before a statewide deadline.

This time around, a countywide program will set the parameters for rental assistance in Lancaster County. It is one of 18 counties in Pennsylvania to receive direct federal funding for rent relief, giving them the ability to create their own locally-driven programs.

“We know our community the best. We know the needs in our community. We have the partnerships and relationships to be able to put this money out much more efficiently and effectively,” said County Commissioner Ray D’Agostino.

Lancaster County received $16.2 million dollars from the federal government for rent relief and is expecting more aid from the state. The program is on track to launch online applications March 1, pending guidelines from the U.S. Treasury Department. The program’s start date could be delayed if those guidelines are not released in about a week or two.

The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration (SSA), Gail S. Ennis, is designating Thursday, March 4, 2021 as the second annual National “Slam the Scam” Day, to raise public awareness of government imposter telephone scams, which continue to spread across the United States. This is part of National Consumer Protection Week, February 28 – March 6.

Last year, we received over 718,000 reports of Social Security-related telephone scams—with a total of $44.8 million reported lost. Victims who lost money reported an average loss of $5,800. On National “Slam the Scam” Day, we will work to spread the word far and wide about these scams—and encourage people to warn their friends and family to just Hang Up!