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Arizona jobless rate continues decline, fell to lowest rate in 15 years

The Arizona unemployment rate dropped to 3.6% in February, well below pre-pandemic levels and the lowest it has been since 2007, but industries like public service, hospitality and education are still suffering from vacancies created by COVID-19.... Read more»

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Tucson hires Laurice Walker as first chief equity officer

The city of Tucson hired Laurice Walker as the first head of the Office of Equity, ending an almost two-year search to fill the position. Walker worked in racial equity offices in Minneapolis and Plymouth, Minn., over the last five years. ... Read more»

Decline in federal grant funding for local elections criticized by advocates

The $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last week includes $75 million in Help America Vote Act grants — a major reduction compared to years past, and experts say the amount is insufficient to fund local elections and leaves local election offices without resources.... Read more»

As pandemic ends, so does rent aid, leaving uncertain future for Pima County tenants

The pandemic brought a windfall in rental assistance in Pima County, but as COVID-19 winds down, so will that aid. The local housing crisis hasn't ended, and community workers, government officials and tenants alike say rent hikes will mean spikes in the number of homeless people here.... Read more»

Az House wants to limit emergency powers, as COVID declaration continues

Arizona House Republicans approved severe limits on states of emergency - a clear move against proclamations made during the pandemic, such as the ones which which allowed Gov. Doug Ducey to mobilize efforts to support vaccination and monitoring of the virus and receive funds.... Read more»

PimaRecovers.com site tracks county's COVID relief spending

Pima County has launched a website to publish how federal COVID relief has been spent during the pandemic. PimaRecovers.com details the use of more than $300 million, including for eviction relief. ... Read more»

Cinco cosas que deberías saber sobre las pruebas caseras 'gratis' para COVID

Las pruebas, así como el uso de máscaras, son para vencer a COVID y restaurar las rutinas normales. Para obtener pruebas más baratas para los estadounidenses, el gobierno federal ahora planea que las compañías de seguros las paguen.... Read more»

5 things to know about ‘free’ at-home COVID tests

Testing, as well as mask-wearing, is an important measure if the country ever hopes to beat COVID, restore normal routines and get the economy running efficiently. To get Americans cheaper tests, the federal government now plans to have insurance companies pay for them.... Read more»

‘You can’t staff for that’: Chaos looming for millions restarting their student loan payments

On February 1, 2022, barring one last extension, nearly 43 million people with federal student loans will have to start making payments on them again, and as the deadline looms, advocates are raising alarms that the loan system is not ready for the pressure.... Read more»

HUD got $9 billion to combat COVID-19 impacts. Only a quarter has been spent.

Tucked in the pandemic relief act in 2020 was about $9 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to divvy up between cities and states for housing-related coronavirus fallout - but 20 months later, cities and states have only spent about a quarter of the funds.... Read more»

Fraudsters stole $4.4 billion from Arizona DES, and it could happen again

During the pandemic, fraudsters stole $4.4 billion in federal COVID CARES Act unemployment money from the Arizona Department of Economic Security, and experts say it is bound to happen again. ... Read more»

Arizona veterans struggle to get access to health care as backlogs grow. Can it be fixed?

Despite a massive budget dwarfed only by that of the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration is facing health care delivery crises due to miles of red tape and an arcane bureaucracy that blocks veterans from receiving the care they deserve from their service.... Read more»

The racist and sexist roots of child care in America explain why the system is in shambles

The pandemic decimated the child-care industry and highlighted the vast gulf in America that separates K-12 teachers from many child-care professionals when it comes to pay, job protection, and respect - a disparity rooted in race, class, gender, and nativism.... Read more»

Tucson wireless program helps connect people to Internet

The City of Tucson is providing wireless internet access to some members of the community so they can engage in support remote learning, teleworking, and access to virtual services. ... Read more»

Major insurers running billions of dollars behind on payments to hospitals and doctors

Anthem Blue Cross, the country’s second-biggest health insurance company, is behind on billions of dollars in payments owed to hospitals and doctors because of onerous new reimbursement rules, computer problems and mishandled claims, say hospital officials in multiple states.... Read more»

COVID relief highlights complexity of issues facing Native Americans

For some Indigenous communities, the historic amount of federal funds allocated to tribes through the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act was beneficial - for others, the pandemic highlighted deeper systemic complexities that federal funding cannot fully address.... Read more»

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