- The New York Post, September 30, 2014: De Blasio to sign order to expand living wage law
"Mayor de Blasio on will sign an executive order implementing a massive expansion of the city's living-wage law Tuesday, increasing the hourly rate from $11.90 to $13.13, according to a report. The order will have an immediate effect on employees working on commercial projects that have received more than $1 million in subsidies from the city, The New York Times reported. Under the new plan, the living-wage law will be changed to include workers employed by businesses located in properties that get the subsides. The change is expected to boost the number of workers covered by the law from 1,200 to 18,000, the report said."
- Chicago Sun-Times, September 30, 2014: (Op-Ed) Single moms need a minimum wage hike
"I believe that nobody who works for a living should ever have to raise a child in poverty. That is why I recently introduced an ordinance in the City Council to raise the minimum wage to $13 per hour in Chicago by 2018 and tie it to inflation. That way, as the cost of essentials goes up, so will the family's income. That is also why I recently signed an executive order to require all city contractors to pay their employees no less than a $13-per-hour minimum wage. This is a critical issue for families, but it is especially critical for women. More than half of all minimum-wage earners in Chicago are women. Many of them are single mothers, who in my view, already have the hardest job there is: raising a child on their own. Even in families where both parents work, women usually shoulder more child-care responsibilities."
- Insurance News Net, September 30, 2014: No final deal from gov. on health plan yet
"Gov. Gary Herbert isn't ready yet to announce a final deal has been reached with the federal government on his Healthy Utah alternative to Medicaid expansion, even though he's holding his annual health summit today. The governor will only be able to provide an update on the ongoing negotiations with the Obama administration in his opening address today to the fourth annual gathering to discuss health care reform."
- Columbus Business First, September 30, 2014: Get ready for another battle over Medicaid and Obamacare
"When Gov. John Kasich bucked his party to accept the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Ohio, the fight wasn't over. In a fraught political maneuver in 2013, the Ohio Controlling Board voted to accept about $2.6 billion from the federal government over 18 months to expand eligibility to low-income single adults and more parents."
- Baltimore Business Journal, September 29, 2014: 2 Baltimore nonprofits want to build an apartment building for the homeless
"Baltimore's Episcopal Housing Corp. wants to build a new 12-unit efficiency apartment building for homeless individuals. Episcopal Housing is in talks with the city about potential sites for the project and is searching for grant and foundation funding. The building would need between 6,000 square feet and 10,000 square feet of space, ideally near public transportation and fresh groceries. The project is expected to cost about $1.2 million, or about $100,000 per unit."
- Plain Dealer, September 29, 2014: Obamacare is helping Ohio hospitals, but several factors have yet to play out
"A year ago, hospitals worried that they’d lose money and have to cut staff or expenses because of the Affordable Care Act. The full results are not in yet, but in some areas, hospitals report seeing gains, not losses. For President Barack Obama’s administration, these gains, largely from hospitals seeing more patients who have health insurance, are part of the ACA’s good-news story."
- Capital Journal, September 29, 2014: 34,000 workers would see raise with minimum wage jump, study finds
"A new analysis of raising South Dakota ’s minimum wage found as many as 34,000 workers would be directly affected but up to 357 jobs could be lost in the process. The non-partisan South Dakota Budget and Policy Institute issued an analysis of Initiated Measure 18, which seeks to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour. The analysis was aimed at dispelling some of the myths surrounding minimum wage workers, said SDBPI Director Joy Smolnisky."
- The Virginian-Pilot, September 28, 2014: (Editorial) Taking aim at vet homelessness
"GOV. TERRY McAuliffe announced a worthwhile campaign and admirable goal last week to draw attention to a shameful problem: Hundreds of Virginians who served their country are homeless. The '100 Day Challenge' began Wednesday, an initial effort to house as many veterans as possible by year's end. It's part of an expansive goal to find homes for every veteran in Virginia by the end of 2015. The 2014 Point in Time count showed 617 veterans without shelter in the commonwealth, but that number is based on a 24-hour period in January when officials count the people at homeless shelters and in locations known to attract those with no place to go. That count misses people who live on the streets the other 364 days a year, and those who live day-to-day in cheap motels or bunk with family or friends."
- Rutland Herald, September 28, 2014: (Op-Ed) Invest in women and girls
"Nationally, women head just 22 percent of all working families, but they are nearly 40 percent of all low-income working families. And the trajectory is getting worse: Between 2007 and 2012, the share of low-income working families headed by women increased from 54 to 58 percent."
- The New York Times, September 27, 2014: For Many New Medicaid Enrollees, Care Is Hard to Find, Report Says
"Enrollment in Medicaid is surging as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but the Obama administration and state officials have done little to ensure that new beneficiaries have access to doctors after they get their Medicaid cards, federal investigators say in a new report. The report, to be issued this week by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, says state standards for access to care vary widely and are rarely enforced. As a result, it says, Medicaid patients often find that they must wait for months or travel long distances to see a doctor."
- Deseret News, September 27, 2014: Low-income families are depending on this one thing for help
"Low-income families depending on federal child care support got a boost last week when the GOP-controlled House passed a bill requiring better quality control and more clear eligibility guidelines. That the House did pass the bill is partly smart politics as House members on both sides of the aisle wanted a success to bring home to their districts. But experts also say the bill's passage reflects a newly deepened consensus on the urgency of early childhood day care and education as a means of combating poverty."
- The Topeka Capital-Journal, September 27, 2014: Controversial private school tuition program could start in January
"Under the program, nonprofit organizations can collect donations from businesses to fund scholarships that would move low-income children from public schools with low test scores to private schools. The businesses would receive a tax credit that subtracts 70 percent of the amount they donated off their bill for state corporate income tax, privilege tax (for financial institutions) or premium tax (for insurance companies)."
- Houston Chronicle, September 26, 2014: Texas, Xerox, dentists in high-stakes blame game over Medicaid abuse
"Six years after auditors discovered signs that some Texas orthodontists were putting unneeded braces on teeth of the state's poorest children, an army of lawyers is battling over who is liable for one of the biggest instances of Medicaid abuse in recent history. The state's estimate for how much was spent between 2007 and 2012 on Medicaid dental and orthodontic services that were medically unnecessary, improperly documented or not provided at all has climbed to $823 million."
- Investor's Business Daily, September 26, 2014: Centene Races Ahead As States Shift Medicaid To HMOs
"Medicaid-focused managed-care firm Centene is having its moment as states turn over Medicaid patients to managed-care firms. St. Louis-based Centene has been expanding in Florida and Mississippi, and may get a lot bigger in Illinois next year. It already gets a big slice of Medicaid business from Texas. And Texas will likely hand over more business to Centene next year for a new pilot program for low-income "dual eligibles" -- those on Medicare and Medicaid."
- Plain Dealer, September 25, 2014: Employers support a $10 minimum wage, but most are against raising it to $15, poll finds
"More than half of employers say the hourly minimum wage should be raised to at least $10, though few support the $15 level many low-wage worker advocates are demanding, according to a Harris Poll released last week. Fifty-five percent of the nearly 2,200 human resource managers interviewed say the minimum wage should be at least $10, but only 7 percent say it should be $15 or more. When it comes to raising the federal minimum wage above the current $7.25, 62 percent of the managers said the minimum wage should be increased. Ohio’s minimum wage is $7.95."
- The Seattle Times, September 23, 2014: Seattle officials ask new housing affordability committee to seek solutions
"Seattle Mayor Ed Murray vowed Tuesday to address Seattle's housing-affordability crisis the same way he handled the debate over raising the city's minimum wage earlier this year: by seeking recommendations from an advisory committee. The 28-member Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee, established by a City Council resolution that Murray signed Tuesday, will be co-chaired by Faith Li Pettis, a partner at Pacifica Law Group, and David Wertheimer, who oversees homelessness work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation."
- The Gazette, September 24, 2014: Three Iowa senators take on $77 a week minimum wage challenge
" Sen. Joe Bolkcom says he took the challenge to live on the $77 in weekly net proceeds that a typical minimum wage worker has to spend on food and transportation and found that he couldn’t do it. Even though he rode his bike to work, planned a “no frills” diet and declined some invitations to attend events, the Iowa City Democrat said he came up short when his legislative duties required him to drive to the state Capitol in Des Moines for a hearing that blew his money on gas and lunch."
- The Wisconsin State Journal, September 24, 2014: Group hopes to force Scott Walker's administration to raise the minimum wage
"A group of low-wage workers hopes to use an obscure 101-year-old state law to force Wisconsin to boost its $7.25-an-hour minimum wage. On Wednesday, Wisconsin Jobs Now plans to present petitions from about 75 workers who say they are paid wages that are not self-supporting. The group said that violates a state law dating back to 1913 requiring that the minimum wage in the state 'shall not be less than a living wage.'"
- McClatchyDC, September 24, 2014: Labor activists look for wage-hike support from red states
"President Barack Obama isn’t expected to get the federal minimum-wage hike he’s wanted anytime soon, but advocates hope that public support for the issue gets a boost from an unusual set of states this Election Day. Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota — four solid-red states whose voters often oppose the president’s agenda — might be next to raise the wage floor of America’s lowest-paid hourly workers. On Nov. 4, they will vote on ballot measures to increase their minimum wages. Some advocates hope that victories on the ballot, especially in four Republican strongholds, will change the national narrative of the economic debate."
- The Daily Illini, September 24, 2014: SNAP enrollment in Illinois outpaces jobs added, but stagnant wages could be the problem
"While the total number of SNAP enrollees decreased by 7,850 from August of last year, enrollment is trending upward. In August 2010, nearly 1.7 million Illinois residents were receiving SNAP benefits; today that number is approaching 2.03 million, an increase of almost 20 percent."
- The Dallas Morning News, September 24, 2014: White House says Texas forgoes huge sum by not expanding Medicaid
"Texas taxpayers and hospitals pay a steep price for the state's refusal to expand Medicaid, top White House officials said Wednesday, citing fresh cost projections for treating the uninsured. Hospitals nationwide will see uncompensated care drop $5.7 billion this year, according to a Department of Health and Human Services report. Three-fourths of that savings will go to the states that expanded Medicaid."
- Dallas Morning News, September 24, 2014: (Op-Ed) Health care battles continue to roil
"Last winter, Virginia's Republican legislative majority blocked Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe's plan to extend Medicaid to 400,000 Virginians without medical insurance. Afterwards, McAuliffe vowed to take executive action but discovered legal restrictions limited him to adding 25,000 people to the rolls, mostly those with mental illnesses, though he included funds to encourage 160,000 more to enroll in private insurance. As a result, he was denounced for failing to live up to his vow by the same Virginia GOP whose legislators blocked Medicaid expansion in the first place."
- The Christian Science Monitor, September 23, 2014: Record number of homeless children enrolled in US public schools
"A record number of homeless students were enrolled in US public schools last year, according to new numbers released Monday by the Department of Education. The data - which most experts say underreport the actual number of homeless children in America - showed that nearly 1.3 million homeless children and teens were enrolled in schools in the 2012-13 school year, an 8 percent increase from the previous school year."
- The Jambar, September 23, 2014: Youngstown Activists Stand Against Poverty
"Recent data from the United States Census has shown that Youngstown is the city with the highest poverty rate in Ohio, standing at 40.2 percent, with 63.3 percent of these impoverished being children. Youngstown is devastatingly below the national average. The Youngstown City Schools provide students with one free breakfast and lunch a day, and other schools throughout the Mahoning Valley offer programs that help with the situation. Beatitude House, an organization that helps to create homes for women with children who are in need and promotes education, is one of the many organizations in Youngstown that are helping to combat childhood poverty."
- The Daily Herald, September 23, 2014: (Op-Ed) America’s ‘War on Poverty’ is a failure
"Last year, government spent $943 billion dollars providing cash, food, housing and medical care to poor and low-income Americans. (That figure doesn't include Social Security or Medicare.) More than 100 million people, or one-third of Americans, received some type of welfare aid, at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient. If converted into cash, this spending was five times what was needed to eliminate all poverty in the U.S. The U.S. Census Bureau has just released its annual poverty report. The report claims that in 2013, 14.5 percent of Americans were poor. Remarkably, that's almost the same poverty rate as in 1967, three years after the War on Poverty started. How can that be? How can government spend $9,000 per recipient and have no effect on poverty? The answer is - it can't."
- The Buffalo News, September 23, 2014: Education is one key to lifting Buffalo’s children out of poverty
"Perhaps the saddest result of poverty is how it affects children, a situation spotlighted in the recent News article showing that more than half of Buffalo's children live in poverty. It is disturbing to think that many of these children face a lifelong struggle just to get by. There is no single solution to poverty. But there are paths that can break the cycle of poverty. These include Buffalo Promise Neighborhood, Say Yes to Education and the Buffalo Arts and Technology Center, which will train the unemployed and underemployed in skills geared toward jobs at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus."
- San Jose Mercury News, September 23, 2014: San Jose poised to close 'The Jungle'
"By the time 'the Jungle' became America's most notorious homeless encampment, its name alone conjured up a mix of desperation and shame so potent that public officials insistently refused to acknowledge it, referring instead to 'the encampment on Story Road.' Now, those same officials must make the actual site disappear. After years of allowing the Jungle to fester and boil, the city plans to finally dismantle it in early December, the culmination of an unprecedented 18-month social experiment designed to identify 200 suitable candidates from the encampment, fortify them with services, and place them in affordable homes before it's closed, once and for all."
- Mobile Register, September 23, 2014: (Op-Ed) Ignoring the homeless and poverty-stricken will only cost us more in the long run
"Forget that more than half the homeless population is employed. Forget that we have created a world of few second chances; where a drug conviction from 20 years ago can mean the difference on whether or not a person qualifies for housing or food assistance. Forget that the very act of being homeless is illegal and that states such as Alabama tend to fund incarceration over rehabilitation. Yeah, the numbers must surely be wrong … how could a state like Alabama, where 20 percent of its population lives below the federal poverty line, see a dramatic increase in homeless students? That’s just crazy talk."
- The Morning Call, September 23, 2014: (Op-Ed) It's time for leaders to champion increase in minimum wage
"As the ranks of the working poor grow, low-wage workers are unable to support themselves and their families, even though they may work several jobs. In the Lehigh Valley, more than 50,000 workers receive wages so low that they are forced to turn to supplemental nutrition assistance to feed their families, according to a recent report by anti-poverty organization Oxfam America."
- USA Today, September 22, 2014: Homeless camp's closure may offer model for other cities
"No longer do Cincinnati police raid such camps, giving people just hours to clear out before destroying shelters and throwing away their possessions. Officers no longer set a deadline for vacating, arrest homeless people or slap them with trespassing citations that they won't be able to pay. Officers in this case worked with social workers over four to six months to gain trust of camp residents and convince them that it was in their best interests to move as fall and winter approached. People were helped according to individual needs."
- The Los Angeles Times, September 22, 2014: L.A. small-business owners weigh both sides of a wage hike
"Like officials in other high-cost cities such as San Francisco and Chicago, Garcetti has framed the issue as a 'moral imperative' to support working-class citizens struggling with stagnant wages. But how the proposal could affect employers in Los Angeles -- which has one of the nation's largest concentrations of small businesses -- is a complex question at the center of the national minimum wage debate. In the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana metropolitan area, 273,173 businesses operated with fewer than 100 employees in 2011, according to the Census Bureau. That's 97% of all firms in the area -- employing 1.8 million people."
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September, 22, 2014: (Editorial) Missouri's hunger problem gets worse and worse
"If you are poor, hungry live in Missouri, you don't need a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to tell you how bad things are. Those Missourians who are more fortunate need to know. Every year, the USDA issues its "food security" report, which analyzes hunger problems across the country. In Missouri, the news is very, very bad. In a state that is getting used to ranking poorly in things that count - like education funding, poverty and health-care outcomes - Missouri is No. 1 in a dubious category for the second year in a row. Over the past decade, as a percentage of population, more Missourians have fallen into hunger, defined in the report as 'very low food security,' than in any state in the nation."
- Providence Journal, September 22, 2014: Sentences handed down in Providence food-stamp fraud case
"Eleven people who were arrested last fall following a two-year investigation into $3.6-million worth of food stamp fraud have been convicted of federal crimes and sentenced to prison terms. The convenience stores that the convicted felons worked out of also have been disqualified from participating in the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP. Investigators from a host of federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, the Office of the Inspector General and the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, said the investigation revealed that the store owners charged with crimes and their employees allowed recipients of SNAP benefits to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards and exchange their SNAP benefits for cash."
- The State, September 20, 2014: South Carolina poverty rate nearly steady but still ranks 9th highest
"South Carolina’s poverty rate remained ninth highest in the nation according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey data released last week. More than 860,000 South Carolinians lived below the poverty threshold in 2013, which for a family of four amounted to $23,550 in annual household income. The percentage of South Carolinians classified as in poverty during the 12-month data period between 2012 and 2013 rose slightly, from 18.3 percent to 18.6 percent."
- The Columbus Dispatch, September 22, 2014: Data link poverty, school performance in Ohio
"As another round of state report-card data in Ohio shows a significant performance gap between low-income and wealthier districts, one key state lawmaker says it's time for Ohio to get serious about addressing the 'crisis.' No matter what measure is used - performance index, proficiency scores, ACT scores - the latest results are clear: Poverty rates continue to have a direct, negative link to Ohio student achievement."
- The Los Angeles Times, September 20, 2014: Census data on poverty show results of economic policy gone wrong
"The headline number in last week's release of Census Bureau data on poverty was pretty good. It was widely noted that the rate dropped significantly for the first time since 2006, with especially sharp declines among children and Latino families. A peek under the hood, however, reveals the dismal realities of the modern U.S. economy. Other than the population over 65 and under 18, wages and economic mobility are frozen solid. The national safety net is barely keeping up with need. And years of austerity politics -- cutoffs of unemployment benefits, premature termination of low-income assistance programs, resistance in some regions to bringing healthcare coverage to low-income residents via Medicaid -- have kept millions of Americans mired in near-poverty or in economic stagnation."
- The Desert Sun, September 20, 2014: RedBlue America: Did the 'War on Poverty' fail?
"Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson launched the War on Poverty, an unprecedented federal effort to reduce the nation's then-burgeoning poverty rate. 'The war on poverty is not a struggle simply to support people, to make them dependent on the generosity of others,' Johnson told Congress in 1964. 'It is a struggle to give people a chance.' But conservative critics argue that five decades and more than $22 trillion later, millions of Americans remain as dependent as ever, despite the controversial reforms of 1996 that required welfare recipients to work and placed lifetime limits on benefits."
- The Courier-Tribune, September 20, 2014: Medicaid expansion: 9,000 Randolph residents fall in coverage gap
"An estimated 9,000 people in Randolph County do not have health insurance today because North Carolina did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Based on income levels reported in census data, that's how many adults may have been eligible for the program, according to figures from the Randolph County Department of Social Services (DSS). But not getting access to Medicaid is only part of their trouble."
- Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum, September 19, 2014: Ohio prisons credit $10M savings to Medicaid changes
"Ohio's prison system saved $10 million in medical expenses as a result of changes to Medicaid and is on the verge of releasing inmates with health care in hand. The savings from fiscal year 2014, which ended on June 30, are expected to climb to $18 million for the current fiscal year. Officials credit the savings to a combination of changes implemented with the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion. The expansion occurred midway through the 2014 fiscal year."
- Deseret News, September 19, 2014: Intergenerational poverty the result of misdiagnosis
"Recently, there has been much talk from Republicans about poverty and reforming the welfare system. On the national level, the discussion has been initiated primarily by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. Both are sincere in their exploration for better ways to tackle the problem of poverty. They should be congratulated for caring about the poor."
- Tulsa World, September 19, 2014: Broken Arrow poverty rate climbs while state and Tulsa levels remain steady
"The poverty rate statewide remained relatively unchanged in 2013 compared to prior years, while the rates in Broken Arrow and Muskogee County appear to be on two different paths, according to Census Bureau data released Thursday. The number of Muskogee County residents living in poverty has declined by more than 4,300 people from 2011 to 2013, data in the Census Bureau's American Community Survey indicates."
- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, September 19, 2014: Rejecting Medicaid expansion is a bad deal for Florida
"For many Americans, this is the reality. They are part of a household that can afford good health insurance and they have come from a culture that goes to the doctor when needed and can pay for medicines when prescribed. Another sizable number are able to access basic medical services thanks to the Medicaid programs administered by the states with funding from the federal government."
- Anchorage Daily News, September 19, 2014: Increasing Alaska's minimum wage: A moral question, not economic one
"This is one face of the minimum-wage earner in Alaska: Hard-working, dedicated, and trying to care for her children, but unable to make ends meet because despite working full-time, her paycheck leaves her below the poverty line, desperately seeking a fighting chance, and crying out for justice. This November will provide an opportunity to provide that justice, by voting to increase the minimum wage."
- Daily Press, September 19, 2014: House Republicans reject Medicaid alternative
"The House of Delegates on Thursday took less than an hour to debate, and dispose of, the one proposal on expanding coverage for low-income Virginians to come before it during its special session on Medicaid. It voted 64 to 33 to kill the measure, with virtually all Republicans opposing the plan and virtually all Democrats supporting it."
- The New York Times, September 17, 2014: Number of Children Living in Poverty Drops Sharply, Census Bureau Reports
"The report showed significant improvements for children. The poverty rate for children under 18 declined last year for the first time since 2000, the bureau said, and the number of children in poverty fell by 1.4 million, to 14.7 million. Over all, the bureau said, 14.5 percent of Americans were living in poverty last year, down from 15 percent in 2012."
- Chattanooga Times Free Press, September 17, 2014: Tennessee, neighbors buck U.S. trend of falling poverty levels
"The nation's poverty rate dropped last year for the first time since 2006, but the number of Tennesseans living below the poverty line increased in the most recent two-year period, the Census Bureau said Tuesday."
- The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 17, 2014: U.S. poverty rate drops for first time since 2006
"The U.S. poverty rate has decreased for the first time since 2006, according to U.S. Census figures released Tuesday. Children's poverty also declined, while median household income barely changed between 2012 and 2013. The report further shows that 42 million people, 13.4 percent of Americans, were without health-insurance coverage in 2013."
- Columbus Dispatch, September 17, 2014: Fewer Ohioans lacking health insurance after Obamacare
"The number of people without health insurance fell by 47,000 during the past year in Ohio, one of 15 states that saw a decline in its pool of uninsured from 2012 through 2013, the federal government reported yesterday."
- The New York Times, September 16, 2014: U.S. Poverty Rate Declines Slightly, Census Bureau Reports
"The poverty rate declined slightly last year for the first time since 2006, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday, but there was no statistically significant change in the number of poor people or in the income level of the typical American household. Over all, the bureau said, 14.5 percent of Americans were living in poverty last year, down from 15 percent in 2012."
- The Washington Post, September 16, 2014: (Blog) What the new uninsured numbers don’t tell us about Obamacare
"This much is clear: Obamacare has already put a major dent in the nation's uninsured rate. By just how much is less clear, and a couple of new government surveys out this morning could make the situation seem a bit more confusing. The U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey out Tuesday morning found that the nation's uninsured rate in 2013 was 13.4 percent, or about 42 million people. The Census data, though, covers the year leading up to the Affordable Care Act's coverage expansion, so it doesn't offer much information on Obamacare's impact — though it provides a baseline of the country just before the law went into effect."
- The Washington Post, September 16, 2014: (Blog) Child poverty is finally declining for the first time since 2000
"The Census Bureau released new poverty and income data on Tuesday morning, drawing on results from the 2013 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements. The data is used to calculate the official poverty rate in the U.S., as well as to track how changes in the economy — such as in the employment prospects of workers — impact the incomes of American households, and the differences between them."
- The Washington Post, September 16, 2014: Poverty dropped but household incomes didn’t rise, Census Bureau says
"The nation's poverty rate dipped slightly last year as more Americans shifted from part-time work to full-time jobs, but wages barely kept up with inflation, so there was no significant change in incomes, according to Census Bureau statistics released Tuesday. The new census figures reflect a nation that is still struggling to emerge from the severe recession that officially ended almost five years ago. Poverty, though in decline, remains high. The increase in jobs has not affected the degree of income inequality. And median wages have been stuck at the same level since 2009."
- The Seattle Times, September 14, 2014: Obamacare helps slash hospital charity costs in state
"This year, for the first time, low-income and uninsured patients whose care was previously covered under hospitals' charity-care programs were able under the ACA to qualify for Medicaid coverage or subsidized private insurance. About 600,000 Washington residents signed up for health insurance through Medicaid under expanded eligibility guidelines or through private plans."
- The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 16, 2014: Jews are the hidden poor
"Often unseen and rarely discussed, Jewish poverty in the Philadelphia area hobbles lives in the same way it does among other ethnic and cultural groups. In fact, Jews may be among the poorest white people in the region. According to an analysis by Allen Glicksman, director of research for the Philadelphia Corp. for Aging, 7 percent of Jewish people aged 18 to 39 were living at the poverty level ($19,790 for a family of three) in the five-county area in 2012. That's compared with 6 percent of white Protestants and Catholics."
- The Huffington Post, September 16, 2014: 45 Million Americans Still Stuck Below Poverty Line: Census
"Despite five years of economic recovery, poverty is still stubbornly high in America. More than 45 million people, or 14.5 percent of all Americans, lived below the poverty line last year, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday. The percentage of Americans in poverty fell from 15 percent in 2012, the biggest such decline since the year 2000. But the level of poverty is still higher than 12.3 percent in 2006, before the recession began."
- McClatchyDC, September 16, 2014: U.S. poverty declines in 2013, median income stagnant, Census Bureau finds
"An improved economy with more full-time workers spurred a decline in the national poverty rate in 2013 - the first in 7 years - and the first decline in the nation’s child poverty rate in 13 years, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Tuesday. The number of men and women working full time, year round increased by 1.8 million and by 1 million, respectively, from 2012 to 2013, as America’s recession-battered workforce continued to find jobs and move from part-time to full-time work status."
- The Hill, September 16, 2014: Census: Poverty rate has first decline in 7 years
"The Census Bureau reported that the nation’s poverty rate now stands at 14.5 percent, down a touch from the 15 percent recorded in 2012. In addition, the number of children living in poverty was also down slightly for the first time since 2000. In 2013, the government determined that a family of four would be considered living in poverty if they made less than $23,834."
- Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, September 16, 2014: 42 million people lacked health insurance in 2013, Census Bureau says
"An estimated 42 million people, or 13.4% of the population, were without health insurance coverage for all of 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The estimate released Tuesday is based on a new survey and cannot be compared to previous years. The Census Bureau's estimate on the number of people without health insurance has long conflicted with others surveys and its methodology questioned by researchers."
- The Daily Caller, September 16, 2014: Census: 45 Million Americans Still Live In Poverty
"There were 45.3 million Americans living in poverty in 2013, according to new Census Bureau numbers — a statistical tie with 2012. That’s more than the entire population of California, estimated at just north of 38 million in 2012. The official poverty rate fell slightly to 14.5 percent of the country in 2013, down from 15.0 percent in 2012 — a statistically insignificant difference. The takeaway: The economy really isn’t doing that much better. Before the recession began in late 2007, the poverty rate was just 12.3 percent."
- Oklahoma Watch, September 12, 2014: Tribes Pushing Minimum Wage Higher
"Though the minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour for most Oklahomans, several American Indian nations pay more or have boosted their entry-level wage above the federal level, a move that could cause the Oklahoma Legislature to take another look at the issue."
- Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, September 15, 2014: (Editorial) A tragic charade (Subscription Only)
"Forget about Ferguson, and about Trayvon, too. Here are the most important facts about black America, courtesy of a recent column by economist Walter Williams. In 1950, female-headed households represented only 18 percent of black households. They now comprise more than 70 percent of black households. In 1940, the black illegitimacy rate was 14 percent. It is now 72.3 percent. The poverty rate among blacks as a whole is 28.1 percent. For married blacks the rate is only 8.4 percent. Although blacks represent just 13 percent of the nation's population, they account for more than half of its murder victims, 93 percent of the time with the murderer being black."
- Bangor Daily News, September 16, 2014: (Editorial) Building a healthy Maine: Michaud plan calls for comprehensive approach
"On a more tangible level, it encourages the treatment of mental health, substance abuse and dental disease as part of physical health care, not as a separate type of care. This is overdue. Not surprisingly, the first item in the Democratic gubernatorial candidate's plan is to expand Medicaid under provisions of the Affordable Care Act."
- The Wichita Eagle, September 16, 2014: Report: More rural families using child health insurance program
"A new report has found that public health coverage through the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is relied on more by rural children in Kansas than urban children. In Kansas, CHIP is known as Healthwave. It covers health coverage for children under 19 in low income families that do not qualify for Medicaid but have family incomes under 232 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. It differs from Medicaid because it is not open-ended and states are awarded yearly allotments for coverage."
- Mansfield News Journal, September 16, 2014: Ohio school performance tied to poverty
"Poverty was a driving factor in whether Ohio school districts succeeded or struggled on their most recent report cards, according to state education groups. District scores in the performance index category - which measures student performance on state tests - closely followed the percent of students in a district that are labeled economically disadvantaged, according to a study by the Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators and the Ohio Association of School Business Officials."
- Deseret News, September 15, 2014: New definition of homeless would give kids more help
"They are the hidden homeless. They are families, out of economic necessity, that share a dwelling with another family. Some live out of their cars or couch surf with someone they may or may not know. Some bed down in tents along the Jordan River or other places hidden from view. Others stay in hotels as they are able. Because they live outside of shelters, they're not eligible for federally funded programs that could connect them with supportive housing, food and mental health services. A bill before Congress aims to amend the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's definition of 'homelessness,' which would help children and families living in motels, cars or temporarily with others to obtain needed services."
- Tampa Bay Times, September 15, 2014: (Op-Ed) For too many, working more means making less
"Today, someone working at minimum wages (discounting any overtime differential) would need to work slightly more than 63 hours a week for 52 weeks to earn the $23,850 a year required to support a family of four at the poverty line. But, a family of four cannot live on that amount of money. Some of the shortfall is made up through subsides such as food stamps, Medicaid and the free school lunch program - which last year served more than 30 million children. To qualify for these subsides, a family's income must be below an eligibility criterion. For the school lunch program, it is 130 percent of the poverty line. Even if it was possible to work more than 63 hours, it would simply remove the eligibility and leave the person no better off in the end."
- Governing, September 15, 2014: Southern States Face an AIDS Problem
"States in the South have the least expansive Medicaid programs and the strictest eligibility requirements to qualify for assistance, which prevents people living with HIV/AIDS from getting care, according to a Southern AIDS Coalition report. In the South, Campbell said, people living with HIV have to reach disability status before they qualify for aid. This is significant, because nationally the vast majority of HIV/AIDS patients rely on Medicaid for their health care, according to research conducted by the Morehouse College of Medicine."
- The Tampa Tribune, September 15, 2014: Crist would consider bypassing lawmakers to expand Medicaid
"Charlie Crist says he believes there is a good argument that a Florida governor could expand the state's Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act through an executive order without approval by the Legislature and that he might seek to do so if elected governor."
- The New York Times, September 14, 2014: (Op-Ed) Beyond Marriage
"For every child lifted out of poverty by a social program, another one is entering poverty as a result of the continued breakdown of the American family. If we could turn back the marriage clock to 1970, before the sharp rise in divorce and single parenthood began, the child poverty rate would be 20 percent lower than it is now. Even some of our biggest social programs, like food stamps, do not reduce child poverty as much as unmarried parenthood has increased it."
- The Los Angeles Times, September 14, 2014: A higher minimum wage makes sense for L.A., but it's no cure-all
"Hardly a week goes by without some new study, quarterly report or economic forecast proclaiming the same troubling news -- a combination of stagnant, low wages and a high cost of living has left far too many Angelenos struggling to make ends meet. About 25% of families with children in the city of Los Angeles live below the federal poverty line. Half of households in the metropolitan area spend more than a third of their income on housing. And the money that is left over has significantly less purchasing power here than it would in a less expensive city; the L.A. region is among the most pricey in the nation."
- Sun Journal, September 14, 2014: (Op-Ed) Poverty in Maine needs to be addressed (Subscription Only)
"Implementing singular, disconnected 'programs' or strategies does not move individuals and families toward self-sufficiency. One-in-four Maine children lives in poverty. In the rural 'rim' counties, such as Piscataquis County where I have lived for the past 35 years, one-in-three children live in poverty. Since 2011, 8,629 children lost their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits. Meanwhile, the poverty rate for children age 5 and under grew from 19.3 percent to 25 percent (that is 17,000 out of the roughly 65,000 Maine children ages 0-5)."
- St. Paul Pioneer Press, September 14, 2014: (Op-Ed) Real World Economics: Minimum wage hike imperfect, but it's OK
"In certain circumstances, a minimum-wage law can make an economy more efficient. In other words, the economy can produce more goods and services to meet people's needs from the same amounts of labor, capital and natural resources. That is why, on balance, I support the recent increase in Minnesota's minimum wage, though I think indexing it to inflation is a mistake. I also support a modest increase in the federal minimum, though certainly not to the $15 or $18 levels called for by some."
- Boulder Daily Camera, September 14, 2014: (Op-Ed) September is hunger action month
"September is Hunger Action Month nationwide and as a Feeding America food bank, Community Food Share is joining food banks across the country in recognizing that hunger and food insecurity in our communities is a year-round challenge. It is easy to become "hunger-blind" in our community when all around us we see affluence and healthy people. Who would ever think that there is a serious hunger problem here and that thousands of families worry daily about where their next meal will come from? Indeed, poverty, food insecurity, and hunger are invisible in a suburban community like ours."
- The Daily Journal,September 14, 2014: Map shows where in NJ most struggling families live
"A growing number of people are finding themselves unable to afford life in New Jersey. While federal figures place the number of New Jersey households in poverty at 10.5 percent, a report out this week from the United Way of Northern New Jersey pegs the actual number of struggling households much higher: 1.2 million, or 38 percent, in 2012. That's up from 32 percent in 2007. The United Way report comes two weeks after the Legal Services of New Jersey Poverty Research Institute released a study declaring one in three people in the state struggles to make ends meet."
- The Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2014: Pasadena repurposes parking meters to collect change for homeless
"Pasadena is now testing an alternative to giving to the panhandler. Fourteen repurposed parking meters across the city will collect change for nonprofits that serve the homeless. The meters, painted bright orange and decorated with smiley faces and inspirational sayings, are supposed to raise awareness for the city's homeless programs. Pasadena is the first city in Los Angeles County to try the donation meters, though Los Angeles has been talking about trying them out in downtown."
- Winston-Salem Journal, September 13, 2014: Program offers students one more chance to prove proficiency on third-grade reading standards
"A similar pattern has emerged in test scores and student achievement across not just this district, but urban districts across the country. Research shows that students from low-income households more often enter school already behind their counterparts. They can be one or two grades behind, meaning those students may need to grow a year and a half for every year they're in school to be on grade level by the end of third grade."
- Deseret News, September 13, 2014: (Op-Ed) Bridging the gap: Can empathy be taught?
"The idea behind a course on poverty, Blair says, is to teach students to be more empathetic. A growing movement in higher education (and even in elementary and secondary schools), is pushing to engage students in understanding poverty. But can empathy for the poor be taught as a life skill, like freshman writing or biology 101?"
- Brattleboro Reformer, September 13, 2014: (Op-Ed) The impact of homelessness on child development
"Children who are homeless are at risk for experiencing many complicating issues that impact their physical and emotional health. Unfortunately, this impact can have long term, cumulative effects over the course of a lifetime. The earlier we can support successful interventions to prevent or end homelessness, the better the outcomes will be for children and their families. The impact of homelessness on child development occurs before a child is born. Pregnant women who are homeless are at higher risk of experiencing a lack of prenatal care, poor nutrition, and chronic stress; all of which can impact the development of their baby."
- The New York Times, September 12, 2014: (Op-Ed) The Way to Beat Poverty
"One reason the United States has not made more progress against poverty is that our interventions come too late. If there's one overarching lesson from the past few decades of research about how to break the cycles of poverty in the United States, it's the power of parenting -- and of intervening early, ideally in the first year or two of life or even before a child is born."
- The Washington Post, September 12, 2014: (Op-Ed) Making the best choices for children
"Such a dilemma points to the need for a more comprehensive child-care policy to replace the inadequate patchwork of programs that has evolved. We funnel some money to low-income families for child care; that is an important support, particularly when we require parents to work or lose benefits. But funds are insufficient to meet the needs of all eligible families, and there are not enough child-care slots, especially during off-hours or for those who have erratic work schedules, as is the case for many low-wage workers."
- The Gainesville Sun, September 12, 2014: Agencies working to get local veterans off the streets
"The number of homeless veterans remains steady locally at least in part because the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System is based here, which attracts many veterans — homeless and otherwise — to North Central Florida, said Kim Smith, director of Alachua County Veterans Services. The 2014 Point-in-Time Count, an annual national survey of the homeless conducted each January, revealed there were 49,933 homeless veterans in the country, according to a news release from HUD, the VA and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness."
- Sacramento Business Journal, September 12, 2014: Health care reform faces twists, turns (Subscription Only)
"Since becoming law in 2010, the Affordable Care Act has been subject to a barrage of revisions and lawsuits designed to amend, improve or topple the controversial legislation -- depending on your point of view. During the past four years, more than 42 significant changes have been made to the ACA, according to the Galen Institute, a nonprofit health and tax policy research group. They include 24 changes made by President Obama, 16 passed by Congress and two by the U.S. Supreme Court. Hundreds of additional lawsuits are working their way through the courts, challenging key provisions of the law."
- Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, September 12, 2014: Private-option premium drops (Subscription Only)
"The per-person premium for Arkansans enrolled in the so-called private option Medicaid program fell for the fifth month in a row as younger people continued to enroll in the program, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Human Services said Thursday. The state Medicaid program made monthly payments to insurance companies on Thursday totaling $80.5 million on behalf of 166,359 enrollees for coverage this month, department spokesman Amy Webb said."
- San Jose Mercury News, September 12, 2014: More homeless students in California, but decline in some counties
"Like trying to count the revolving number of people who sleep under freeways and in doorways, gauging the number of Bay Area students who are homeless isn't easy to pin down. But their numbers are on the rise in California and some Bay Area counties, according to a report released earlier this week by the California Homeless Youth Project. California's homeless student population grew from about 220,700 in 2011 to nearly 270,000 in 2013 -- or about 4 percent of all students -- double the national average."
- The Boston Globe, September 11, 2014: Stoneham loses Chapter 40B ruling
"After reviewing documents submitted by the town's Board of Appeals and a developer who wants to build a large rental complex at Weiss Farm under the affordable housing law, Chapter 40B, the state Department of Housing and Community Development has rejected Stoneham's assertion that it meets the affordable housing threshold."
- The Boston Globe, September 11, 2014: Milton mulls housing production plan
"Milton officials are mulling over a plan to introduce more affordable housing to the town amid a developer's controversial Chapter 40B proposal for the former Hendrie's Ice Cream site. Filing a housing production plan with the state would give the town more control over projects proposed under the state's Chapter 40B affordable-housing law, said state Senator Brian A. Joyce of Milton at a joint Board of Selectmen and Planning Board meeting last week. Under the statute, developers can bypass some zoning bylaws in communities where less than 10 percent of the housing stock is considered affordable. Currently, Milton has about 4.5 percent."
- The New York Times, September 11, 2014: Budget Cuts Reshape New York’s Public Housing
"Thousands of New York City tenants are facing similar choices because of cuts to the federal Section 8 voucher program and the resulting belt-tightening by the city. The rental vouchers allow low- and moderate-income tenants to live in private buildings and to pay about 30 percent of their income in rent, with the voucher program making up the rest. The cost of the program is about $400 million a year. But federal budget cuts under sequestration last year have left the program $37 million short, the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development said."
- Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, September 11, 2014: Governor candidates weigh options for Wyoming Medicaid expansion
"Wyoming began discussions with the federal government this summer about crafting a plan for Medicaid expansion. As voters look toward the Nov. 4 general election, candidates for governor have staked out positions on the issue. Democrat Pete Gosar and Libertarian Dee Cozzens say they would expand Medicaid. Incumbent Gov. Matt Mead, a Republican, says he is committed only to looking at options that take into consideration Wyoming's specific needs. Independent Don Wills stands opposed. Whether Wyoming joins the growing list of states that have expanded Medicaid depends in part on the outcome of this election. At last count, some 28 states have accepted expansion; 21 states are not moving forward with the program."
- NC Policy Watch, September 11, 2014: Key pillars of a strong and fair economy are crumbling in North Carolina
"A strong state Earned Income Tax Credit and a robust minimum wage are twin pillars that together form the foundation of a stronger economy — even for those with low-income jobs. Unfortunately, North Carolina state leaders recently demolished one of those pillars and are letting the other one slowly disintegrate. In North Carolina’s current economy, where the vast majority of job growth is occurring in industries that pay wages below what it takes to make ends meet, the challenge of low-wage work is a reality for more and more families and individuals."
- Investor's Business Daily, September 11, 2014: ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion Hurdles Loom
"This is a big deal because the Arkansas approach has been seen as the most likely model under which GOP-friendly states might eventually expand Medicaid. But the GAO report is a reminder that the economics of the Arkansas model might not work and that the private-option waiver might not be funded after three years. But the big challenges facing the Medicaid expansion don't only involve the private variation. The public version of the Medicaid expansion is about to hit its own funding wall starting in January when the Affordable Care Act's boost in funding for Medicaid primary care doctors expires."
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, September 11, 2014: Understanding Next Week’s Census Figures on Poverty and Inequality
"Over time, poverty rates tend to move roughly in tandem with economic indicators, which generally improved slightly in 2013. The economy added 2 million jobs, the share of non-elderly adults with jobs edged up, and an index of total hours worked by all workers increased. Thus, the poverty rate—which jumped from 12.5 percent in 2007 to 15.1 percent in 2010 and remained essentially unchanged at 15.0 percent in 2011 and 2012 — may start to improve in 2013 as well, although the improvement might not be statistically significant."
- VT Digger, September 11, 2014: More Vermont schools make meals free for all students
"Twenty-nine of 50 eligible schools in Vermont have chosen to participate in this program, according to the governor's office. The program is part of the federal Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Concannon said. The 'Community Eligibility Provision' of that law has already been introduced in several states but this year opened to all 50 states. Schools qualify if they have a high number of children whose family income is 185 percent or less of the federal poverty level (for a family of four that means $23,850) and if they have a high percentage of children whose family income has been verified through another state or federal program, such as ReachUp or food stamps, Concannon said."
- The Los Angeles Times, September 10, L.A. will pay $725,000 to lawyers who stopped skid row police sweeps
"The Los Angeles City Council has agreed to pay $725,000 in fees to civil rights attorneys who successfully challenged police sweeps of overnight homeless encampments on skid row. As recently as July, the city had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the fee award in the long-running case. The council's vote Wednesday was 12 to 1, with Westside Councilman Mike Bonin dissenting. The decision comes as neighborhoods across the city complain of new homeless encampments springing up in their streets and canyons. Officials and residents of Highland Park, Lincoln Heights and Boyle Heights say they are being inundated by homeless people pushed out by the downtown Los Angeles revival."
- The Seattle Times, September 10, 2014: Bellevue becomes latest target in push for $15 minimum wage
"Fast-food workers and their union allies plan to take the fight for a $15 minimum wage to Bellevue on Wednesday, the first attempt to expand the movement regionally since the Seattle City Council passed a $15 minimum-wage plan in June. While the prospects for a $15 minimum wage in Bellevue aren't known, the city is generally considered more conservative and business-friendly than Seattle. And even in Seattle, supporters say the higher wage wasn't on local politicians' radar when fast-food workers first went on strike in May 2013."
- The Fresno Bee, September 10, 2014: Thousands of school children homeless in Fresno County
"Thousands of public school children in Fresno County are homeless and living in hotels or motels, shelters, doubling up with family or on the street, according to a study released Wednesday. The situation is even worse in Los Angeles, which has the highest number of homeless students in the state. In Trinity County, the percentage of homeless children is highest and growing, the report said."
- The Oregonian, September 10, 2014: Oregon 2014 test scores: Stagnant, with more than one-third of students failing math
"Oregon high schools made near-zero progress at getting more students prepared for college and careers last school year, according to test scores released Wednesday. Statewide, 30 percent of high school juniors failed the high school math test, 16 percent failed the reading test and 41 percent failed the writing test. Passing rates were essentially unchanged from the low levels achieved in 2013, and the wide gaps separating minority, low-income and limited-English students from the rest did not narrow."
- The Orlando Sentinel, September 10, 2014: (Op-Ed) A results-oriented approach to solving chronic homelessness (Subscription Only)
"Every day in Central Florida, there are hundreds of chronically homeless people like Anne. We see them. We hear them. And most of the time, we try to remove them from our collective conscience. Chronically homeless people are not as attractive as the families from Seminole County featured on '60 Minutes' in 2011. Our hearts are moved by families but more annoyed by a chronically homeless person, and yet, they are the most vulnerable among us."
- The Asheville Citizen-Times, September 10, 2014: (Op-Ed) We can't build our way out of the homeless fix
"We cannot build our way out of the homelessness crisis. The only real solution is enlightened economic policies that lead to good jobs. Traditionally, the image of homelessness was a man with mental or substance abuse problems. Those people are still with us, but they are joined by growing numbers of downsized workers, women with children, and even intact families."
- Anchorage Press, September 10, 2014: Substance abuse safety net?
"And according to RurAL CAP, recent Medicaid billing changes have led to a crippling budget shortage that could reduce local housing options even further. The issue surfaced earlier this month at an Anchorage Assembly committee meeting addressing drug and alcohol abuse among the municipality’s chronically homeless. Bill Evans, the committee's chairman, said the group planned to gather information from various sources before making a final policy recommendation to the full Assembly. "
- Daily Trojan, September 10, 2014: (Op-Ed) L.A.’s minimum wage plan will benefit city residents
"On Labor Day, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti recognized the city's hardworking, underpaid laborers with a proposal that would raise the city's minimum wage to $13.25 an hour over the course of three years. Garcetti's proposal should be supported because of its potential to lift Angelenos out of poverty. Instead of sparring over potential changes in inflation rate, price level and gross domestic product, city council members should focus on one concrete statistic: the one million L.A. workers living in poverty. The raise would be a significant increase from the current minimum wage of just $9 an hour, barely enough to cover basic living expenses in Los Angeles."
Community Action Agencies were established to fight the War on Poverty in 1964. Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership, located at 357 Constitution Way in Idaho Falls serves the nine eastern Idaho counties with services to help low-income individuals become independent and self-sufficient. EICAP is one of over 1,000 Community Action Agencies in the United States that provide services to every county in the nation.