Monday, November 30, 2009

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: November 30, 2009

Federal

Reproductive Rights National Day of Action - December 2

Are you outraged over the Stupak-Pitts Amendment? Do you want to help fight this attack on women's reproductive rights?

Please join the Raising Women’s Voices of Southeastern PA Coalition as we travel to Washington, DC for the reproductive justice community’s National Day of Action on December 2nd. Help raise a collective voice to lobby Congress for health care reform that ensures access to the full-range of reproductive services for all women, which includes access to abortion services!

Busses will depart from Love Park (16th and JFK Streets) in Center City, Philadelphia at 6:00 am and return between roughly between 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm.

The bus is FREE. You will receive breakfast on the bus in the morning and snacks on the ride back to Philly. There will be a restroom on the bus.

Click here to register. Please do so by 3:00 today.

If you plan to travel down to DC separately, let Rebecca Foley know that are attending so you can join the Philadelphia region lobby efforts in DC! Please be sure to provide your full mailing address and your cell phone number in the email.

If you are unable to attend, but would like to help pay for food and materials for this mobilization, please click to give via our online donation form. Please write in "Send Someone to Day of Action" in the In Honor Of field.

Agenda for the National Day of Action (Subject to Change):

9:30 am - 10:30 am: Orientation and Lobby Training
10:30 am - 12:00 pm: Lobby visits
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm: Rally and Press Conference
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm: Lobby visits


Raising Women’s Voices of Southeastern PA is a coalition working to ensure women’s voices are heard during the health care reform debate. We are advocating for policies that support the full-range of comprehensive reproductive health care services for all women, and ensuring that women’s reproductive rights are not jeopardized during the health care reform process.

If you have questions or would like to find out more about this new coalition effort, please contact Rebecca Foley.


Be an Advocate for Incarcerated and At-Risk Girls – Tell your Senator to Stop the Practice of Putting Runaways in Jail

The percentage of girls in the juvenile justice system has been on the rise for 20 years. The vast majority of incarcerated girls have committed nonviolent offenses, and studies have found that up to 78 percent are victims of prior sexual or physical abuse. Many are jailed for the noncriminal offense of running away from home. Some judges lock up girls to keep them "safe" from the streets, but juvenile facilities are often mentally and physically unsafe places for girls.

The Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) was first passed to separate youth from adult offenders for safety and keep noncriminal offenders (runaways, truants, curfew violators) out of jail altogether, in addition to providing funding to states. This year, the JJDPA is set to expire, and must be re-authorized with improvements to correct erosions in these vital protections. This bill would:
  • Prohibit the incarceration of "status offenders" (runaways, curfew violators [who are disproportionately girls]);
  • Remove pre-trial youth from adult jails even if they are being prosecuted as adults;
  • Require states to address racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system; and
  • Improve safety in juvenile detention and corrections facilities.
In December, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to take action on major legislation to improve conditions for all youth and potentially divert thousands of girls from incarceration. Please urge your Senator to support this bill.

To read more about the growing number of runaways, please read, The New York Times series Running in the Shadows.


Contact Your Member of Congress to Support the National Housing Trust Fund

Help ensure the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) receives its funding before Congress adjourns for the holidays.

Please call your Representative and Senators on December 1 or 2. Ask them to fund the NHTF to at least $1 billion before they adjourn later in December. Urge them to support any bill moving through the House or Senate that contains money for the NHTF.

Let them know that providing money for the NHTF will create needed jobs. Every $1 billion investment in the NHTF, at $100,000 per unit of housing, will create 15,100 construction jobs and 3,800 jobs in ongoing operations. Also, the NHTF will support local economies as low income families will be able to afford to spend more money on goods and services when they are not spending half or more of their income on housing.

The goal is to create an early December blizzard of phone calls from all over the country in a compressed period of time to demonstrate strong and urgent support for an initial infusion of money for the NHTF.

If you have any questions, contact the Outreach Team at (202) 662-1530 or at outreach@nlihc.org.


State

Urge PA Lawmakers to Oppose Bill Taxing Charities

On December 7, 2009, PA Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) and PA Representative Tim Solobay (D- Washington) plan to introduce legislation in both the State Senate and State House to impose partial property taxes on Pennsylvania's charities.

The bill would allow municipalities to impose "Essential Services Fees" on real estate owned by charities. The tax would be based on the square footage of the property (most likely a fee of up to $100 per 1,000 square feet of tax-exempt property, with the first 5,000 square feet exempt.) Municipalities that choose not to exercise their "local option" may still impose "voluntary" agreements on charities for payments in-lieu of taxes.

This bill poses a major problem for thousands of nonprofit organizations in Pennsylvania that own property or will acquire property to further their charitable mission. Many nonprofits are already contributing to their local municipalities through "voluntary" payments in lieu of taxes or fair share agreements.

Taxing charities diverts precious charitable resources at a time when the need is greatest. It also fails to consider the value of nonprofit services to the communities they serve.

Please contact your State Representative and State Senator. Ask them to send a strong message of support for charities by not co-sponsoring the bill and opposing it when it comes up for a vote.


Information/Events

Take Action on Earned Sick Time

48 percent of workers in the United States (46 percent of workers in Pennsylvania) have no access to earned sick time, which means that if they are sick (or if their family members are sick) they must choose between working sick or losing their pay (or their jobs). If you are one of the 48 percent who have no earned sick time - or one of the 52 percent who do - please take our survey and tell us more!

There are bills at the federal, state, and local level to support earned sick time for everyone - here is what you can do:
  • Support the Federal Healthy Families Act! Under The Healthy Families Act, workers would have the opportunity to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 7 days of sick time per year. This time could be used to care for workers or their families, or could be used as "safe days" in cases of domestic violence. Tell your legislators that we need paid sick days now!
  • Support the paid sick days campaign in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia! Become our friend! Show your support for earned sick time by visiting Facebook. You can support earned sick time in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia. Support both!
  • If you don't live in Pennsylvania, you can still support earned sick time. Visit The National Partnership for Women and Families website to learn more about campaigns in your area.
  • Tell us your story! Are you a parent who lost their job to stay home with a sick child? Are you a business owner who provides/supports paid sick days? Email your story to us at policy@pathwayspa.org.
  • Call your Representatives! If you live in Philadelphia, call your City Councilperson and urge them to support "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces," which guarantees earned sick time for all working Philadelphians. Not sure who your City Councilperson is? Click on this link and type in your home address to find out which district you live in: http://www.phila.gov/citycouncil/districtform/districtform.html.
  • If you live in Pennsylvania (but outside of Philadelphia), call your state Representative. Tell him/her you support earned sick time for workers. Not sure who your Representative is? Simply type your address here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm.

Webinar: Hunger in American at Record Numbers

One in six Americans is in a struggle against hunger. In just one year, the number of people in households that sometimes lacked the money for enough nutritious food rose from 36 million to 49 million - the highest number on record. Among them were 17 million children - 4 million more in 2008 than in 2007. This is called food insecurity and the recession is making it worse.

The Coalition on Human Needs is holding a webinar on Tuesday, December 8th, from 2:00-3:00 EST.

Learn more:
  • What the USDA food security survey means
  • How to use the data compellingly, simply, and accurately
  • Research showing how food insecurity hurts children
  • What policy choices can halt this very disturbing trend
Presenters:
  • James D. Weill, President, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)
  • Dr. Deborah Frank, Founder and Principal Investigator, Children's HealthWatch; Professor of Pediatrics at Boston U. School of Medicine and Director of the Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center
  • Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs
  • Moderator: George A. Braley, Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy, Feeding America
To register for the webinar, click here. You will receive information about connecting to the webinar (by computer and phone) after you register.


Nonprofits and the 2010 Census: Effective Messaging and Mobilization Strategies

Join Nonprofits Count on Thursday, December 3rd at 2:00pm Eastern for a special webinar.

As we move closer to the start of Census 2010, nonprofits should be planning activities to promote participation among hard-to-count populations. Successful outreach campaigns will depend, in part, on effective messaging and strategies to provide assistance at appropriate points in the census process. This webinar will summarize key research findings about effective census messages for different population groups and highlight census operations and milestones around which nonprofits can organize their outreach activities.

Click here to sign up for the webinar.


Do You Need Help Paying for Post-Secondary Education?

PathWays PA offers Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), a matched savings program that offers financial education while helping you save for school. Through the program, your savings can be matched at a rate of three-to-one. If you save $500, we will give you an additional $1500 to go towards your school expenses.

Applicants must meet program income guidelines, be working (full or part time), and be enrolled or accepted into an accredited institution.

If you are interested or have any questions, please e-mail Kelly Binder at kbinder@pathwayspa.org.


Need Assistance With Public Benefits Applications?

PathWays PA provides assistance to those who need help applying for food stamps or other benefits. For further information, you can contact our office in Philadelphia 215-387-1470 or Delaware County 610-543-5022.

For more information about the services provided by PathWays PA please visit our website.

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