Monday, December 14, 2009

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: December 14, 2009

State Budget Update

While the announcement of next year’s budget is less than 60 days away, the state legislature is still working to complete the table games legislation that plays a key part of the FY 2009-2010 budget. The legislation, and the $200 million it is supposed to raise, must be approved before authorizing payments to the universities, hospitals, and museums.

There is speculation that further delay in table games legislation may lead to more layoffs and potentially second semester tuition increases at universities.

A vote on the bill is anticipated this week



Federal

Send a Holiday Health Care Message to Your Legislator

The Pennsylvania Health Access Network is working with Georgeanne Koehler to collect health care stories or messages of support for health care reform. Georgeanne has devoted herself to working tirelessly for health care reform. She has a her own personal message to share: her brother lost his job and his health insurance, and, because of a serious heart condition, he lost his life. Watch a short video of Georgeanne telling her brother's story.

Submit your story on the PHAN web site or mail your postcard directly to Georgeanne Koehler, 4114 Penn Avenue, Second Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15224.

Georgeanne will deliver the messages to Congress before they leave for recess. Please share your story now.


House Passes Bill to Protect Consumers

On Friday, the House of Representative passed legislation that will protect consumers with the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). The CFPA would be a single federal agency whose mission would be to protect consumers from dangerous financial products and practices. This would include credit cards, mortgages, debit cards, all consumer loans, payment systems, bank accounts, and more. For years, consumers have dealt with toxic mortgages, outrageous interest rates, and unreasonable bank fees, all in a largely unregulated market.

The action will now go onto the Senate. Please contact your Senator and tell them the importance of the CFPA, which will protect consumers from abusive lending practices, thus supporting low- and middle-income families as they work to find sound financial footing.


Support the Casey CHIP Amendment

Urge your Senators to stand up for kids in the health reform debate. In just a few days, Senators will vote on the Casey CHIP amendment, which would make sure that the 7 million children enrolled in the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continue to have high-quality and low-cost coverage after the enactment of health reform. Ask your Senators to co-sponsor and support this important amendment.

Please contact your Senators. In Pennsylvania, please thank them for their support of health care reform and ask them to continue their support for children.

Health reform holds the promise of finally providing secure and stable healthcare for families. We must take action now to make sure that it does not inadvertently cause some kids to have more expensive and less comprehensive coverage than they have now.


Information/Events

Homeless Memorial Day

On the first day of winter and the longest night of the year, we come together to remember homeless and formerly homeless Philadelphians who have passed away in 2009, honor those still living on our streets and in shelters, and call for a renewed commitment to end homelessness.

WHEN: Monday, December 21, 4:30 to 5:30 PM
WHERE: City Hall

For more information about the event contact Kendra Johnson at 215-232-7272 or kendrajohnson@projecthome.org or click here.

To help someone who is homeless: Call the Philadelphia Homeless Outreach Hotline at 215-232-1984


Save the Date: Healthy Philadelphia Community Meeting

Join the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to share your health care stories in the first Healthy Philadelphia Community Meeting on January 28th in North Philadelphia (time and location to be announced).

Healthy Philadelphia is a non-profit organization dedicated to working to solve heath care problems Philadelphians face. It grew out of a voter mandate, which passed by 87% in North Philadelphia, that required the Department of Health to develop a plan for universal health care.

Please attend and tell your story about the challenges you or your family have faced in getting high quality on-going health care. Please RSVP to Mayla Henderson at 215-686-5263 or mayla.henderson@phila.gov.


PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

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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