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Navigating Inflation: Lifelong Tyrone resident Tyler Kessinger 'can't get ahead' as bills go up

Tyler Kensinger, 29, is a Tyrone resident and a candy cook at Gardners Candies Factory.
Alicia Chiang
News Lab at Penn State
Tyler Kensinger, 29, is a Tyrone resident and a candy cook at Gardners Candies Factory.

A lifelong resident of Tyrone, Tyler Kessinger has a 6-year-old son and a baby on the way.

Growing up, the rural town has always been calm. “It seems pretty mundane, even,” he said.

Tyler and his family moved into subsidized housing six years ago, but the rent has jumped from $548 to $670 since 2019. And with the rising cost of electricity and other bills, Tyler’s expenses are a stressor.

This is something every Pennsylvania resident is navigating. Between 2020 and 2023, the cost of electricity went up an average of 35% for residential users statewide.

While subsidized housing offers Tyler’s family greater stability and he is not burdened with the additional costs of owning a home, his efforts to make extra income are frequently met by an increase in rent.

But Tyler is determined to make ends meet and build something better for his growing family.

“We don’t need a lot,” he and his girlfriend agree.We just want to be comfortable.”

He recently learned how to drive – a feat that required overcoming some anxiety. This skill, and the mobility it brings, has proven invaluable to his family’s everyday life in a town where Uber and Lyft are not an option and public transportation is mostly focused on leaving town.

Tyler is also recently sober.

Employed locally with side hustles on top, he works hard. But, even with his efforts, over the last few years, he’s taken in a tough reality.

“I can’t get ahead,” he said.

Read the rest of the profiles of Tyrone area residents Navigating Inflation.

Abby Chachoute is a student reporter for the News Lab at Penn State.
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