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By Kelly Thomas

The federal government, despite being sidetracked by the health care debate, continues to leak Recovery Act money into the lagging economy.

Out of $787 billion meant to revitalize the job market and provide relief for the un- and under-employed, just over $110 billion has made its way into projects, non-profits, cities and states, according to Recovery.gov. That puts us at a 14 percent completion rate.

Recovery.gov, the fed’s stimulus dollar tracking website, also says that $256 billion is available so far, and that $309 billion in projects have been announced and awarded, but not all paid out.

So what does that mean for the Northside?

It means that so far, out of that $787 billion, the Northside will receive about $26 million. Not bad considering that $26 million is 23 percent of the $112 million the City of Pittsburgh as a whole received.

Don’t forget that most statewide and citywide projects — like the soon-to-be-announced Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing program run by the city and the county — will help Northsiders as well.

About half of the Northside’s $26 million comes from city organizations (like the Housing Authority City of Pittsburgh) for specific projects (like the renovation of 52 public housing apartment units in Northview Heights). The other half is mostly grants to non-profits (like the North Side Christian Health Center).

To put further perspective on the situation, the government has announced that — so far — Pennsylvania will receive about $9 billion, or 1 percent of the $787 billion.

Larger states with larger populations will get more. For example, California will get about 3 percent ($26 billion) and Texas will get around 2 percent ($17 billion). Other states with smaller populations will get much less. North Dakota, for example, will get about one-tenth of 1 percent ($853 million).

Out of Pa.’s $9 billion, Allegheny County received about $221 million, or about 2 percent. Philadelphia County gets about $443 million, or about 5 percent.

Since Philadelphia County and the City of Philadelphia are one and the same, Pittsburgh gets about one-forth of the money Philadelphia does, but Pittsburgh also has one-fifth the population of Philadelphia. Pittsburgh actually gets more money per person than its eastern counterpart.

And since the Northside contains 14 percent of the City’s total population (according to the 2000 census report) and received 23 percent of the City’s total stimulus money, the Northside is also getting more money per person than the rest of the city.