Monday, December 7, 2009

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: December 7, 2009

Federal

Urge Your Senator to Support Full Reproductive Rights

Millions of women are on the verge of losing access to private health insurance coverage for abortion. Members of the Senate are going to vote on an amendment to the health care reform bill modeled after the Stupak amendment that passed in the House. If this amendment becomes law, it will be the most serious restriction of abortion coverage in a generation.

A vote on this amendment is expected today. Senate leadership may be calling for a vote to table this amendment. This action will require 50 votes.

Please contact your Senators today and ask them table this amendment. Health care reform is meant to allow individuals more access to coverage, not to make more limitations on the care one can received.


CHIP and Health Care Reform

Right now, there is an important debate happening in the U.S. Senate about health coverage, and we must make sure that all kids are represented.

Last week, an amendment to the Senate Health Bill was introduced by Senator Casey to ensure the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continues with full funding through fiscal year 2019. This program provides high quality and comprehensive coverage to about 7 million children. The amendment would continue to fund and maintain CHIP until there are concrete assurances that the new health insurance exchange provides low-income children with coverage that is comparable or better than what kids currently get through CHIP.

Contact your Senators and ask them to co-sponsor and/or support the Casey CHIP Amendment to the health reform bill.


State

Support the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund

Since September 2005, the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund has expanded housing opportunities for more than 4,000 families and individuals while leveraging over $281 million in additional funding to support the development of 1,279 new affordable homes, repair of 1,200 existing homes, and assisted 1,583 families to stay in their homes through foreclosure and homelessness prevention programs.

Despite this success, revenues for the Housing Trust Fund have declined by nearly half Two bills have been introduced to expand dedicated funding for the Trust Fund.
  • Bill No. 090849 would increase local Deed and Mortgage Recording Fees by $30 and dedicate these funds to the Housing Trust Fund.
  • Bill No. 090850 would dedicate half of the $30 increase in the Deed and Mortgage Recording Fees approved by City Council in Spring 2009 at the request of the Nutter Administration to the Trust Fund, instead of the General Fund.
Both bills have been scheduled for a hearing before City Council’s Finance Committee on Wednesday, December 9, at 1:00 p.m.

In addition, House Bill 1645, introduced by Representative Taylor, would enable Philadelphia to decide whether to raise its Deed and Mortgage Recording Fees to support the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund when the City raises such fees for the General Fund (the maximum fee for the Trust Fund is currently capped at the fee level in affect on January 31, 2005). The bill was approved by the House Urban Affairs Committee and Rules Committee in July and is currently in the Appropriations Committee.

What can you do:
  • Please call the Mayor’s office today (215-686-2181) and urge Mayor Nutter and his Administration to support expanded dedicated funding for the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund.
  • Call your District Councilmember and At-Large Councilmembers today and let them know you support expanded funding for the Trust Fund as well.

Information/Events

CLASP Audio Conference: Hourly Workers and Scheduling

Fluctuating hours are a glass half full or half empty, depending on your perspective. Typically, employers like the idea of having employees at work when they most need them, but for employees changing hours may translate into unpredictable or unstable work periods. This instability can have huge implications not only for home life and income but also access to benefits.

On Friday December 11th from 12:30 to 1:30 EST, join CLASP to learn about the latest research regarding how employers with low wage workers are addressing this issue and hear first-hand how Costco approaches scheduling of workers.

Register now by clicking here. Make sure to register soon, as spaces may be limited!


Webinar Invitation: Highlights of Youth ARRA (Recovery Act) Summits

In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) invested $1.2 billion in WIA Youth Activities. The Employment and Training Administration hosted two "Recovering America's Youth Summits" which addressed how to use Recovery Act funds to develop and strengthen programs and service delivery systems that provide employment opportunities for youth in emerging industries.

On December 15th at 11:30 AM, Workforce3 One is holding a webinar that will summarize the content of each of the themes of the summit and highlight one local service delivery provider that participated in the summits in each of the segments.
Summit themes include:
  1. Lessons learned from ETA's involvement with the 2009 summer employment programs with a workforce development topics including work readiness, employer engagement, and ensuring quality work experiences.
  2. Capacity building activities for state and local areas to serve older out-of-school youth, ages 18-24, in year-round activities and
  3. Strategies for creating pathways in emerging industries such as "Green" jobs and Healthcare.
Registration for this Webinar is limited and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please click here to login to Workforce3 One and register today!


Take Action on Earned Sick Time

48 percent of workers in the United States 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.

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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