- 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 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 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."
- 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 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."
- The Los Angeles Times, September 9, 2014: $213 million earmarked to track L.A. homeless by computer, house 1,400
"A coalition of public and private agencies announced Tuesday that it is funneling $213 million to house 1,400 homeless people and to expand a tracking and placement system it hopes will end chronic and veteran homelessness in Los Angeles County over the next two years. The placement tool, called the coordinated entry system, is designed to replace a confusing patchwork of entry points to homeless housing and services with a single computerized portal that reaches every corner of the county."
- The Desert Sun, September 9, 2014: Desert agencies find some affordable housing solutions
"Faced with growing populations here and no more redevelopment money, some city officials and developers are challenged in finding permanent housing for the valley's poorest individuals and families. By law, cities must explain to the state how they are providing enough affordable housing. But city officials say they are now without a crucial arm of financing. A fifth of the tax increment revenue generated under redevelopment agencies was once set aside for affordable housing. The state eliminated those agencies in 2011. Many housing projects that relied on that redevelopment funding have been stalled."
- The Hoya, September 9, 2014: Winter Homelessness to Rise
"The new Winter Plan released by the District of Columbia's Interagency Council on Homelessness predicts a 16 percent increase in the number of homeless families seeking services in Washington, D.C, from last year. The report estimates that more than 820 homeless families will need access to resources once the temperature drops below freezing. The recently approved Winter Plan outlines how the city will ensure it fulfills its obligation under D.C. law to shelter adults and families to keep residents from suffering hypothermia and possible death."
- The Eureka Times-Standard, September 9, 2014: Hunger Action Month: 30 ways in 30 days to learn and do something about hunger
"In Humboldt County, where the poverty rate is higher than both the state and national averages, hunger is a daily experience for many people. The California Center for Rural Policy reported in their Humboldt County Community Food Assessment that more than 31 percent of low-income Humboldt County adults experience food insecurity, or lack of access to enough food. Households with children are at particularly high risk of hunger and experience the highest poverty rates in the county. "
- San Jose Mercury News, September 9, 2014: (Op-Ed) San Jose's Jungle: It will close, but homelessness will remain a huge problem
"The Jungle -- one of Silicon Valley's largest homeless encampments -- has attracted much media attention this past year. Story after story articulated shock and dismay at the magnitude of our region's homeless population and the number of men, women and children living outdoors, noting the juxtaposition of such an encampment within this wealthy area. But when the Jungle is closed, the most visible reminder of this problem will be lost. Before it does, the city of San Jose is leading a massive cross-sector effort to ensure many of the residents will be housed and employed. But the ones who can't will quietly scatter to hide in other shadows, and the thousands more like them who never lived there will still need our help. The crisis of homelessness remains."
- Newark Advocate, September 9, 2014: Study: Children here less likely to live in poverty
"Children in Licking County were less likely to live in poverty, fail a fourth-grade reading test or receive Medicaid services than the rest of the state, according to the 2014 Kids Count report released Monday. However, children were more likely to become teen mothers and report being maltreated than state averages, according to the report, which reviewed a variety of recent data on children's health, economic stability, safety and education. Of the 15 standards reviewed, Licking County performed better than the state average on nine, tied on two and performed worse on four."
- The Chicago Tribune, September 8, 2014: (Op-Ed) How the suburbs trap the poor (Subscription Only)
"You might be wondering why poor families are moving to the suburbs in large numbers -- the number of suburban poor grew more than twice as quickly as the number of urban poor between 2000 and 2011 -- if they are such hard places for poor people to get ahead. Part of it is that as middle- and high-income households moved to the suburbs, the low-wage workers who look after their children had little choice but to follow. Then there is the fact that as America's most productive cities experience a revival, gentrification is displacing low-income families."
- The MIami Herald, September 8, 2014: (Op-Ed) Homeless advocates achieve milestone
"More than two decades ago, the homeless problem had reached epidemic levels in America, perhaps nowhere more severe and evident than in Miami. We couldn’t then have imagined one day having admitted and helping 100,000 homeless residents. This milestone, which we have just achieved, is an opportunity for sincere reflection. But the bigger story and, I think, the more-important one is found looking at the faces of the 100,000 residents and the impact we have made on their lives, instead of just the numbers, which by themselves are impressive."
- The Dallas Morning News, September 8, 2014: (Op-Ed) Calls to boost minimum wage food for thought
"Larry James wasn't among those picketing at a fast-food restaurant in Dallas this week. But the president and chief executive officer of CitySquare definitely is cheering for the employees who are pushing for a higher minimum wage."
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 8, 2014: (Editorial) Difficult to justify $7.25 an hour
"Tipped workers fare even worse. Their wages have been stuck at a paltry $2.13 an hour for 20 years. If worker productivity was the basis for determining the minimum wage, it would be $18.67. If it had kept pace with wage growth of the country's top 1 percent, the pay would be $28 an hour. Imagine that. Is it any wonder that workers are striking, taking to the streets, using civil disobedience to push for a living wage? Missouri's puny effort, tied by law to inflation, is to raise the wage in January by 15 cents, to $7.65 an hour. The state is among 22 that set a wage floor above the federal minimum."
- The Cincinnati Enquirer, September 8, 2014: Food banks call for more state help
"Child-welfare and food-assistance organizations said the food-insecure data translate to more than 650,000 Ohio children. The foodbanks association is asking for $20 million a year in the state's next biennial budget to boost its work in all 88 counties. Under the current budget, the association receives $14.5 million a year."
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 8, 2014: A clinic brings needed health care to patients
"One small area of agreement in the health-care field is that no group is harder to help than patients who are homeless. That is true for a variety of easy-to-understand reasons: They move around a lot, their lives are less sanitary than that of someone with a home, they often don't eat properly, they often lack health insurance."
- Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, September 8, 2014: (Editorial) Hooray for all on Healthy PA
"Rather than simply expanding Medicaid - a program that sometimes essentially denies care to the poor because doctors avoid its low reimbursement rates - Corbett sought to reform it. Corbett's program seeks to provide coverage to an estimated 600,000 additional Pennsylvanians by offering them federal subsidies to purchase private insurance. This will reduce disruption for those whose incomes rise enough to no longer qualify for the program and likely provide better coverage overall."
- The Salina Journal, September 8, 2014: (Editorial) Battle between rich, poor
"It's very obvious that as a society we equate low income with low class. I have not found that to be true. We see/read the story of a homeless man who finds a diamond ring in his alms cup, picks it out and saves it for the owner, who returns, as expected, the next day. Why are we surprised? Why is this newsworthy? Are poor people out to get something for nothing?"
- The Mesa Press, September 8, 2014: Former Foster youth and homeless students struggle to capitalize on Mesa’s resources
"Roughly 100 students on Mesa's campus are registered as Homeless or Former Foster Youth. These students, who struggle to finance their basic needs along with their academic expenses, frequently find themselves living in their cars and showering at the gym."
- THe Hoya, September 8, 2014: (Op-Ed) Waging War for the Working Poor
"While it is true that, according to the Pew Research Center, only 4.7 percent of the nation's 75.3 million hourly-paid workers make minimum wage, more than half of them are women, who, like Kelsey, could greatly benefit from an increase in the minimum wage - and this statistic does not include those who make only slightly more than minimum wage."
- The Daily Iowan, September 8, 2014: Affordable-housing proposal to be reviewed by federal agency
"A proposal to allow low-income individuals the chance to reside downtown in high-rise condos is still being reviewed. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will examine a proposal for Iowa City to purchase five high-rise luxury condominiums in the Chauncey for $1 million, which would then be rented out to low-income individuals who are primarily disabled or elderly."
- The Washington Post, September 7, 2014: Affluent Montgomery County has pockets of poverty, mostly in the east
“The poverty can be hard to spot. There's a busy shopping center on Briggs Chaney Road, anchored by Safeway. Along Castle Boulevard, $300,000 townhomes are going up next to well-maintained garden apartment complexes, some with swimming pools. But unemployment in parts of the neighborhood is as high as 20 percent - about five times the county average. And the ‘near poor’ - those with minimum-wage or low-paying, part-time jobs - also struggle in pricey suburbs like this one. A calculator developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology places the ‘living wage’ for a family of four in Montgomery County at $49,979 a year, more than double the federal poverty threshold. According to a 2010 study by Impact Silver Spring, almost half of the residents who live in apartments in Briggs Chaney spend 35 percent or more of their income on rent--exceeding the 30 percent generally regarded as the upper limit for housing costs.”
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 7, 2014: Poor Health: How to fix what's broken
“The relentless economics of the U.S. health care system have sapped resources in poor areas for decades as hospitals and doctors follow the money in the form of well-insured patients. Doctors and medical care facilities serving large numbers of poor patients have trouble staying afloat because uninsured patients and those on Medicaid are expensive.”
- Winston-Salem Journal, September 6, 2014: (Op-Ed) Defining Poverty
“The poverty rate for all people in Forsyth County increased from 11 to about 18 percent, and the rate for children almost doubled, increasing from 15 to 27 percent. In addition, poverty is becoming more concentrated in high poverty census tracts, which are census tracts with a poverty rate of 20 percent or greater. In Forsyth County, two-thirds of people in poverty live in high poverty tracts, and almost a quarter of people in poverty live in distressed census tracts (a tract with a poverty rate of 40 percent or greater). This is an increase from 2000 when almost half of people in poverty lived in high poverty tracts and 12 percent lived in distressed tracts.”
- Southwest Times Record, September 7, 2014: (Op-Ed) Focus On Working, Not Fairness
“Arkansans in November will vote on whether or not to raise the minimum wage incrementally from its current $6.25 an hour to $8.50 by the beginning of 2017. There is no organized opposition, the State Chamber of Commerce doesn't have an opinion, and polls have shown it is likely to pass.”
- The Los Angeles Times, September 5, 2014: L.A. mayor's minimum wage plan doesn't go far enough, activists say
“Activists behind a grass-roots campaign to boost Los Angeles' minimum wage argue that a new plan touted by Mayor Eric Garcetti does not go far enough to pull low-paid workers out of poverty. Garcetti wants lawmakers to gradually hike the citywide minimum wage -- to $10.25 in 2015, $11.75 in 2016 and $13.25 in 2017 -- with future increases tied to an inflation index. The mayor argues his plan would aid poor workers and their families without dealing a blow to L.A.'s recovering economy.”
- USA Today, September 5, 2014: Maine's health care model: Go smaller
“Gov. Paul LePage's decision to shrink Medicaid instead of expanding it was a radical departure from a decade-long effort to cover more people in this small rural state of farmers, lobstermen, craftsmen and other seasonal workers, which at least until recently, boasted one of the lowest rates of uninsured in the nation. Maine was the only state in New England, and one of 23 nationally, to decline federal money to expand Medicaid under the federal law.”
- The Boston Globe, September 5, 2014: Leap in aid to disabled kids reflects crushing gaps in welfare
“Yet while SSI expenditures may now exceed those for welfare, the real problem is the devastating changes in welfare that leave many poor children and families without sufficient income to assure basic food, shelter, and clothing. Eligibility for welfare is a complex calculation in Massachusetts. For a family of four, yearly income must generally fall below $12,000. Families who do receive welfare have not had an increase in the cash payment support since 2000, and the current payment is only about $24,000 for a family of four — certainly not enough to provide food and clothing for a family, much less adequate housing.”
- The Los Angeles Times, September 5, 2014: Dozens arrested nationwide in rallies for higher minimum wage
“Rallies and sit-ins erupted outside fast-food restaurants in more than 100 cities across the country. Organizers backed by local activist groups and the Service Employees International Union have tried to spotlight low wages by staging protests and walkouts in several one-day demonstrations over the last year. The fast-food industry has accused the union of orchestrating an expensive campaign to bolster its dwindling membership. A sharp hike in wages, they warn, could force restaurants to bump up their prices and thin their workforce.”
- Governing, September 5, 2014: Why Declining Medicaid Costs States Money
“If the 23 states that have rejected expanding Medicaid under the 2010 health-care law continue to do so for the next eight years, they'll pay $152 billion to extend the program in other states -- while receiving nothing in return. This exodus of federal tax dollars from 2013 through 2022 would pay 37 percent of the cost to expand Medicaid in the 27 remaining states and Washington, D.C., over that time. Most of the money, nearly $88 billion, would come from taxpayers in just five non-expansion states: Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia.”
- The Baltimore Sun, September 4, 2014: Md. colleges show mixed results in improving minority graduation rates
“University System of Maryland schools have had mixed success in improving the graduation rates of minority and low-income students, according to an annual progress report released this week. Some colleges, including the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, have been able to boost minority and low-income achievement. But at other schools, the gaps between those students and middle-class whites have increased in recent years.”
- The Asheville Citizen-Times, September 5, 2014: Expanding shelters 'can't build fast enough'
“Both shelters are undergoing expansions to meet the need, but shelter directors say they can't expand quickly enough - and even doubling their capacities won't meet the demand for emergency and transitional housing.”
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 5, 2014: (Op-Ed) Higher wages would benefit society in many ways
“Increase the minimum wage and our expenditure on the food stamp program will be reduced. Increase the minimum wage and the cost of Medicaid will decrease. Increase the minimum wage and the incidence of domestic violence will decrease as young couples will be able to replace the constant frustration of poverty and empty promises with hope and plans. Give that same young family a living wage between them and the divorce rate will decline.”
- The Eureka Times-Standard, September 5, 2014: 'Fair Wage Folks' seek $12 minimum wage in Eureka
“Calling themselves the 'Fair Wage Folks,' the group behind the measure has been working to pass a law that would raise the city's minimum wage to $12 per hour for businesses employing 25 or more people who work in Eureka at least two hours a week.”
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 4, 2014: Missouri Republicans may need to shift Medicaid strategy after Pennsylvania decision
"Some Missouri Republicans say they're willing to expand Medicaid - provided that new recipients look for jobs as a condition of eligibility. But a new agreement between the federal government and Pennsylvania suggests that strategy probably won't work. Pennsylvania's plan to provide coverage to as many as 600,000 low-income residents was approved last week, but only after its work-search requirement was dropped after stiff resistance from the federal government"
- Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, September 4, 2014: (Op-Ed) Fast-food workers want $15 an hour? Let's start with $10.10
"A number of fast-food workers make close to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or $15,000 a year if they work full time. Some say that is not a living wage, especially for those who are supporting a family. Nobody should work 40 hours a week and not make enough money to pay rent, buy food but still need to rely on public assistance to survive, which in the long run costs everyone more."
- Aberdeen News, September 4, 2014: Transportation, Medicaid top topics for seniors
"Transportation tied in with one of the other main topics discussed at the meeting, the expansion of Medicaid in the state. Medicaid funds can be used as match money for new vehicle and operational costs, Seurer said. Perhaps not surprisingly, Democrats and Republicans debated the pros and cons of Medicaid expansion. Earlier this year, the Legislature voted along party lines not to expand Medicaid benefits to more low-income residents."
- The News and Observer, September 4, 2014: (Editorial) Medicaid holdout exacts an intolerable price
"It turns out that the Republican-led General Assembly did give a substantial tax break to people other than the rich. The problem is that the relief went to people in other states. A McClatchy Newspapers analysis shows that the legislature’s refusal to expand Medicaid means that North Carolina taxpayers could spend more than $10 billion by 2022 to provide medical care for low-income residents of other states. For its largess, North Carolina will get nothing."
- Marietta Daily Journal, September 4, 2014: Georgia not expanding Medicaid, but on hook for others’ growth Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal
"Georgia has opted out of expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, aiming to avoid increased costs. On top of that, at the close of this year’s legislative session Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill making sure Medicaid cannot be expanded in Georgia without approval by the legislature. HB 990 bars any expansion of Medicaid eligibility 'through an increase in the income threshold without prior legislative approval.' The law specifies the approval must be by a legislative act or joint resolution of the General Assembly. Maybe this is a hedge against the possibility of pro-Medicaid expansion Democratic nominee for governor Jason Carter winning in November? Carter, trailing Deal, is trying to make Medicaid a key issue in the race."
- Sanford News, September 4, 2014: DHHS commissioner talks MaineCare with Rotarians
"MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program, has an annual budget within the DHHS of roughly $2.4 billion a year, Mayhew told the Rotarians. She added that at the start of his administration, Governor Paul LePage requested more than $200 million to stabilize the foundation of the program. In Fiscal Year 2014, she said, there was zero-percent growth in MaineCare spending as the DHHS seeks to identify deficiencies and provide services to those who need it most — namely, seniors and individuals with disabilities."
- The Los Angeles Times, September 3, 2014: Los Angeles joins the local movement to raise the minimum wage
“L.A. would join 14 other cities and counties that have raised their own minimum wages, many of them in the last year or two. Leading the movement is Seattle, which enacted a $15 minimum this year. In California, San Jose voters approved an inflation-linked increase in 2013 that currently sets the minimum at $10.15, and the San Diego City Council this summer approved an increase to $11.50 by 2017. Measures to raise the minimum to $12.25 in Oakland and $15 in San Francisco are on those cities' ballots for November.”
- The New York Times, September 3, 2014: After Slow Growth, Experts Say, Health Spending Is Expected to Climb
"From 2013 to 2015, the new report says, federal spending on Medicaid will increase 27 percent to $323 billion, from $254 billion. In those years, it said, Medicaid spending by state and local governments will rise 12 percent to $218 billion, from $195 billion. The federal government will initially pay all the costs resulting from the expansion of Medicaid eligibility in states that choose to cover certain childless adults with low incomes. States will have to pay some of the cost for new beneficiaries who could have qualified for Medicaid under old eligibility rules."
- The Capital Times, September 3, 2014: (Editorial) First things first: hike minimum wage
“Americans know that increasing the minimum wage is necessary to address income inequality and the injustice of a circumstance where millions of citizens work full time and yet earn so little that they cannot get above the poverty line. That's a daily reality, but it is one that we are reminded of with particular power and poignancy around Labor Day. On Monday, we celebrated the dignity of labor, and the value of hard work. Yet, when the parades are done, we still face the reality that American families are struggling because that hard work is not adequately compensated.”
- Las Vegas Review-Journal, September 3, 2014: Bill sought to boost Nevada minimum wage
“State Sen. Tick Segerblom has requested the drafting of a measure to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Nevada, but it won’t happen anytime soon even if it is successful in the 2015 legislative session. The Senate joint resolution sought by the Las Vegas Democrat would have to pass two legislative sessions and then go to voters in 2018 before it could take effect. The proposal comes as fast-food workers prepare to strike at restaurants across the country, including Las Vegas, on Thursday to win a $15-an-hour minimum wage as well as the right to unionize.”
- Kaiser Health News, September 3, 2014: Indiana, Several Other States Look To Expand Medicaid Next Year
“With the long-awaited deal to expand Medicaid finally struck last week between Pennsylvania and the Obama administration, 27 states and the District of Columbia have adopted a key coverage plank of the Affordable Care Act. And the momentum continues to grow in Republican-led states as Tennessee and several others look to expand coverage to low-income residents in 2015. Indiana has an expansion plan pending with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.”
- The Times-Union, September 3, 2014: (Op-Ed) War on Poverty needs a renewal
“In the cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Troy and Binghamton, more than half of minorities live in poverty. Statewide, one in five children are destitute and suburban poverty is increasing, appearing where it did not exist. The major accomplishments of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 are being dismantled today by a dangerous and growing trend of income and wage inequalities.”
- The Charlotte Observer, September 2, 2014: North Carolina’s $10 billion Medicaid challenge: Pay for other states or take federal money?
“North Carolina taxpayers could spend more than $10 billion by 2022 to provide medical care for low-income residents of other states while getting nothing in return, a McClatchy Newspapers analysis shows. The Affordable Care Act tried to expand Medicaid to millions of low-income, uninsured adults. But many Republican-led states, including both Carolinas, opted out of the plan championed by President Barack Obama. If the 23 states still rejecting Medicaid expansion stick with that decision, they'll contribute $152 billion over 10 years to states that take the federal money, the analysis shows. North Carolina would be one of the top five contributors.”
- Deseret News, September 3, 2014: Why the poor can't afford to eat better
“Americans are eating better — filling up on more heart-healthy whole grains, fruits and vegetables than they were a decade ago. On an index of healthy eating in which 110 is a perfect score, U.S. adults averaged 40 points in 2000 but climbed to 47 points in 2010, according to a 12-year Harvard study. For low-income, adults, however, the score has barely budged. They averaged almost four points lower than high-income adults, putting them at higher risk for obesity and chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. Researchers call the ‘diet gap’ disconcerting and predict that it will ‘have important public health implications,’ according to study co-author Dr. Frank Hu.”
- The Chronicle Express, September 3, 2014: Grants help local programs
“The poverty rate in Steuben County is 16.2 percent; over 5,600 children (25.2 percent) in Steuben County live in poverty. Forty-eight percent of public school children in Steuben County are eligible for free or reduced lunch. A Poverty Simulation is a realistic portrayal of living in a low-income household for one month. Participants face the challenges that millions of Americans face as they attempt to keep their home safe, the utilities on, their medications current, their kids in school and fed. The simulation helps participants understand that poverty is about a lack of resources such as support systems, positive relationships, and role models, having the mental abilities and acquired skills to deal effectively with everyday life.”
- Los Angeles Times, September 2, 2014: (Op-Ed) Hiking L.A.'s minimum wage is a win-win
“Of all major cities in the country, Los Angeles has the highest percentage of population living in poverty. After decades of slow job growth and stagnant wages, 28% of Angelenos -- 1 million people -- today live below the poverty line. Our city's African American and Latino residents face disproportionately higher rates of poverty. The situation is heartbreaking and unconscionable. That's why I'm supporting the plan that Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Monday to raise the minimum wage to $13.25. The men and women earning minimum wage deserve, at the very least, a paycheck that enables them to support their families.”
- Los Angeles Times, September 2, 2014: Garcetti calls for $13.25 minimum wage by 2017
“Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday launched an ambitious campaign to impose a $13.25-an-hour minimum wage requirement for all workers in Los Angeles by 2017, calling it the ‘largest anti-poverty program in the city's history.’ The most far-reaching initiative of the 14-month-old Garcetti administration would increase incomes for an estimated 567,000 workers by an average of $3,200, or 21%, a year, according to an analysis commissioned by the mayor's office and conducted by researchers from UC Berkeley.”
- The New York Times, September 2, 2014: Obama Calls for Minimum Wage Rise and Equal Pay as Elections Approach
“President Obama on Monday renewed his call to raise the federal minimum wage and to protect the right to equal pay for women as the midterm elections come into sight. In spite of opposition from Republicans, Mr. Obama said, addressing a crowd of about 6,000 people gathered in Milwaukee at a festival hosted by the local A.F.L.-C.I.O., his goal is to make sure all Americans can meet simple goals, like being able to pay their bills and send their children to school.”
- The New York Times, September 2, 2014: (Op-Ed) Help Families From Day 1
“Families are the ultimate pre-pre-school. Research in neuroscience and other fields has established that parents and caregivers provide a crucial foundation during the first few years of life. Our public policies, however, make it much harder for families, especially families living in poverty, to lay this foundation. In my research, I have cataloged government policies that undermine parent-child relationships during early childhood. Our legal system, for example, destabilizes low-income, unmarried families, distracting them from parenting."
- The New York Times, September 2, 2014: (Op-Ed) What Makes People Poor?
“Let's imagine for a moment that there are no political pressures distorting our discussion of poverty and that we can look at it as a technical problem, not a moral one. Maybe we would find that most explanations -- left, right and center -- are not mutually exclusive but mutually reinforcing. Before we take this thought experiment further, we should consider the ramifications of new research that provides insight into urban social disorder, worklessness, the rising salience of education and the shortcomings of government policy.”
- The Baltimore Sun, September 2, 2014: (Op-Ed) Smarter approach to food stamps
“We've watched food stamps pull millions of Americans out of deep poverty; improve the health and nutrition of children, veterans and seniors; and boost the economies of urban and rural areas. When we moved from actual stamps to electronic cards, the process became more efficient and less stigmatized, which resulted in more low-income working families participating, with a low fraud rate that is the envy of other programs.”
- Orlando Sentinel, September 2, 2014: Sanford warns panhandlers to play by rules
“Sanford has long struggled with its homeless population, particularly in its downtown district where the city is in the midst of beautification efforts to attract visitors. About 75 percent of Seminole County's homeless population resides in Sanford, according to the Homeless Services Network in Orlando. In 2011, Sanford considered restricting community groups that regularly fed poor people at city parks and in the historic business districts after residents complained that the large numbers of homeless people were causing problems in the surrounding neighborhoods after events.”
- Milwaukee Business Journal, September 2, 2014: Paul Ryan opposes minimum wage hike, says it would nix jobs
“One day after President Barack Obama appeared in Milwaukee and called for increasing the federal minimum wage- $10.10 per hour has been the Democrats' goal - Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan was in town opposing the idea as hurting job creation. Ryan, at a luncheon in downtown Milwaukee, pointed to a report in February from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that found an increase to $10.10 an hour would reduce employment by about 500,000 jobs. Ryan said the job-loss figure could be as high as 1 million. The same CBO report found such an increase would lift almost a million Americans out of poverty, according to The Wall Street Journal.”
- Deseret Morning News, September 2, 2014: Laundry Love: Groups across the nation are helping families with this simple task
“According to an estimate from The Simple Dollar, a popular finance blog, the average cost of laundry load done at a laundromat is around $3.12, while the average cost of a load at home is about 97 cents. Laundry Love's estimates are a little higher, at $3.25 to $4 a load (for washing and drying). So an average family doing laundry for four people once a week would need up to $64 a month for laundry. That's 3 percent of the monthly income of a family living at the poverty level - and that's just for four loads a week, almost half the amount of laundry the average family does.”
- The News Tribune, September 2, 2014: Lakewood project aims to help homeless families with disabilities
“A local nonprofit is kicking off construction of its first multi-unit permanent housing complex in Lakewood in the hopes of doing more for families who are homeless or on the verge. Twenty-five years ago, a group of Pierce County ministers formed Living Access Support Alliance to provide financial aid for individuals who needed help paying utility costs. Since then the program has expanded to provide housing for families before they end up on the streets as well as offering financial assistance for utility bills, prescription payments and bus tickets. Now LASA is partnering with Tacoma Housing Authority to build a 15-unit permanent housing complex on Gravelly Lake Drive to help prevent recurring homelessness, said Executive Director Janne Hutchins.”
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 1, 2014: (Editorial) Annual school report cards highlight St. Louis disparity in poverty
“Every school building in the poor-performing districts is full of children who come to school hungry, with as many as 90 percent of them in some cases qualifying for the federal free-and-reduced-cost lunch program. In the high-performing school districts, only a handful of school buildings have even a third of children living in that level of poverty. Over the decades in St. Louis, we deliberately concentrated our poverty in specific geographic clusters and allowed school districts in those areas to bear the burden of dealing with the massive challenge of educating children dealing with the most difficult of life's circumstances. In some cases - not all - we have devised a system that requires them to get by on less.”
- York Daily Record, September 2, 2014: (Op-Ed) Healthy PA a better system
"As attorney general and now as governor, Gov. Tom Corbett has continually fought against Obamacare. That's why, when states were given the choice to expand Medicaid, an entitlement program, he said no. Expansion would have put 1 in 4 Pennsylvanians on public welfare, which is simply not sustainable for our taxpayers. Obamacare has significantly increased government bureaucracy and served only to drive up costs for families and small businesses. There is a better way to achieve true health care reform for Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvanians deserve more than a Washington, D.C., one-size-fits-all approach. Healthy Pennsylvania is an innovative, Pennsylvania-specific plan to reform Medicaid, protect taxpayers and increase access to quality, affordable health care on the private, commercial market."
- Battle Creek Enquirer, September 2, 2014: Escaping poverty, but not hardship
“Although nearly 9,000 households in Calhoun County live below the poverty line, a far greater number earn too little to afford basic needs, according to a new study of financial hardship in Michigan released Monday. The county's percentage of households below the so-called "ALICE threshold," the income needed to meet basic needs, is 46 percent - among the worst in Michigan. The report paints a picture in which large numbers of working families lack the means to pay for housing, child care, food and other basic necessities.”
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.