Monday, January 11, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: January 11, 2010

State Budget Update – Table Game Legislation Signed

With only a month to go before the next year’s budget objectives are announced, the Governor signed a bill legalizing table games at Pennsylvania’s slot casinos on Thursday. The table games include poker, blackjack, and roulette.

The new law is expected to generate millions in license fees to close a gap in the current year's budget, and to produce revenues for state and local governments in future years. Passage of the bill also prevents the Governor’s proposed layoff of 1,000 state workers.

According to the bill, table games would be taxed at a rate of 16 percent, with 14 percent going directly to the state and 1 percent to each the casino's county and its municipality. The state's share would go to the general fund to fill budget shortfalls until the state's Rainy Day Fund reaches $750 million. After that, all table-game revenue will go toward property-tax relief. $3 million will be set aside for gambling and other addiction treatment programs.

It is expected to take between six to nine months to get the table games up and running.


Federal

Action Needed: Two New Bills to Help Ensure Children Do Not Go Hungry

In preparation for the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, members of Congress are introducing child nutrition-related legislation, which may be incorporated in the final bill.

The Universal Classroom Breakfast Expansion Act (H.R. 4325) establishes a grant program to help schools with high numbers of low-income children establish universal classroom breakfast programs. Universal classroom breakfast - where all children can eat a free breakfast in their classroom at the beginning of the school day – has been proven to boost participation among low-income children. This bill would ensure that more low-income children have access to a healthy breakfast at school.
  • Individuals Take Action: Send a letter asking your Member of Congress to co-sponsor the Universal Classroom Breakfast Expansion Act.
  • Organizations Take Action: Sign on to this letter in support of the Universal Classroom Breakfast Expansion Act.
The Ensuring All Students Year-round (EASY) Access to Meals and Snacks Act (H.R. 4274) would allow local government agencies and private nonprofit organizations to feed children meals and snacks 365 days a year - after school, on weekends and school holidays, and during the summer - through the Summer Food Service Program. This bill would expand the year-round program that currently is being piloted in California to all states. The bill also would allow meals and snacks to be served after school, on weekends, and during school holidays through the year-round program. Currently, only snacks can be served through the California pilot.
  • Individuals Take Action: Send a letter asking your Member of Congress to co-sponsor the Ensuring All Students Year-round (EASY) Access to Meals and Snacks Act.
  • Organizations Take Action: Sign on to this letter in support of the Ensuring All Students Year-round (EASY) Access to Meals and Snacks Act.

Information/Events

Free Webinar - Federal and Local Efforts to Modernize the Poverty Measure

In the United States, we measure poverty by using a methodology developed in the 1960s. The Federal Poverty Level is set by multiplying the cost of food by three – a factor derived from data indicating that families spent 1/3 of their income on food. Since then, the cost of food has fallen to less than one-seventh of a family’s budget, while the cost of housing, child care, health care, and transportation have grown disproportionately. Despite these changes in family consumption, the poverty levels have been updated annually for inflation but have otherwise remained unchanged. Efforts to develop a modern poverty measure that reflects current spending patterns, geographic differences in the cost of living, and government tax and benefit policies are underway.

WHEN: Monday, January 11th 1:30 to 3:00

Join the National Center for Children in Poverty for this webinar as the following questions are tackled:
  • How do we currently measure poverty in the United States?
  • What are the problems with the current measure?
  • What are alternative measures and what difference would they make?
  • What is the federal Measuring American Poverty Act of 2009?
  • What are the implications of a revised measure on current poverty rates?
  • What are the key issues that remain under debate?
  • What are some models for revising how we measure poverty?
  • How does New York City’s Center for Economic Opportunity measure poverty?
  • How and why does poverty in New York City look different using the NYC CEO measure?
  • What big picture lessons emerge from this new look on poverty?
To register for this event please click here.


Save the Date: Hunger Action’s 11th Annual Budget Briefing

Please mark your calendar for Hunger Action’s 11th Annual Budget Briefing. The meeting will be held from 10 am to 3 pm (times approximate) on Thursday, February 11 in Harrisburg.

Meeting details and registration information is forthcoming.


National Institute for Literacy - Achieving Student Success: Transitions to Post-secondary Education

Transitioning students through their educational experience and on to post-secondary education can be a challenging process. Join the National Institute for Literacy’s live Webcast. Learn what local programs, in partnership with colleges, are doing to ensure that students are ready to move from adult literacy classes to post-secondary education and beyond.

WHEN: January 20 – 1:00-2:30

In this Webcast, designed for program administrators, experts will explore successful student transitions as well as discuss current research, state office technical assistance, and adult education program perspectives.

Topics Include:
  • Elements of successful transitions programs
  • Research-based and best practices for providing transitions programming
  • Forming college-adult education partnerships
  • How states support transitions programming
  • Resources on transitions to post-secondary education
Click here to register for the webcast.


PA Career Link Delaware County Newsletters


The PA CareerLink of Delaware County has two monthly e-newsletters that are useful for businesses and job seekers:
  • The PA CareerLink Delaware County Workforce Development Newsletter is created specifically for businesses in Delaware County. The newsletter gives important information on local and national business trends.
  • The Delaware County PA CareerLink Connection is written for job seekers in Delaware County. This newsletter gives tips and hints to help residents of Delaware County find a job.
To sign up for either newsletter, please send your e-mail and which newsletter(s) you would like to receive to sarah.careerlink@gmail.com.


Blankets Available for Homeless People

The Defense Supply Center of Philadelphia (DSCP) has been funded to provide blankets to non-profit and/or local government agencies serving homeless people. In the past, the blankets were the "disaster" type of blankets that were made of 30% recycled wool and 70% man-made fibers, and they were gray in color. Please follow the instructions below to receive the blankets.

1. The non-profit or local government agency must send a letter to DSCP requesting the blankets. The request should:
  • Be on organizational letterhead.
  • State the quantity of blankets needed.
  • List a point of contact and that person's phone number.
  • Show a "Ship to" address.
  • Show a FAX number.
2. The requesting organization must send a letter of endorsement along with the request for blankets. The letter may be from a state, local or federal organization stating that the requesting organization is serving the homeless. (Examples of agencies from which the letter of endorsement might come: Veteran's Administration, any federal organization, local government, police department, state agency, Congressional staff, etc.)

3. The DSCP will fax a disclosure statement for the requesting organization to sign. This statement says that the organization requesting the blankets will not sell the blankets or make a profit from them.

4. Once the disclosure statement is signed and returned to DSCP, the request for the blankets will be processed.

5. Mail the request to:
Defense Supply Center Philadelphia
Attn: DSCP-COEH (Jane Koons, Bldg. 6)
700 Robbins Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19111-5096


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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