Monday, January 25, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: January 25, 2010

Federal

Urgent Request to Sign Petition: Support the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Today

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) recently launched a petition campaign supporting the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).

The CFPA passed in the House bill, but it is currently being debated in the Senate. Senators are debating whether to instead pass a different regulatory reform bill, which would likely result in only nominal changes in the financial system. The CFPA will be an independent consumer financial protection agency with enforcement authority that will increase transparency and serve as the sole agency dedicated entirely to consumer rights.

Please take a moment to sign the petition. For more information on banking reform, please click here.


Information/Events

Conference Call Invitation - How to Secure Unemployment Insurance Reforms for Women and Families in Your State

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) set aside $7 billion to encourage states to modernize their unemployment insurance programs and improve coverage for women. Since ARRA was enacted, more than half the states have put in place reforms that qualify them for incentive funds -- and expand eligibility and benefits for low-wage workers and women. But many states could be doing more to get jobless women and their families the help they need now.

WHEN: Thursday, January 28, at 2:00 p.m.

The goal of this conference call is to help connect advocates for women and families to coalitions that are working on unemployment insurance reforms in targeted states.

Registration for the call is required. To register, please click here.

During the conference call, experts from NWLC, NELP, and successful state campaigns for unemployment insurance reform will provide an overview of what these reforms are, why they are important to women, and what you can do to help.

If you have any questions, please contact the National Women’s Law Center by e-mailing Melanie Ross Levin at mrosslevin@nwlc.org.

For more information about the importance of unemployment insurance reforms, especially to women and families, please check out our fact sheet, Making Unemployment Insurance Work for Women: The Unfinished Agenda at http://www.nwlc.org/pdf/MakingUIWorkforWomen2010.pdf.


Earn It. Keep It. Save It! In Erie!

Every year it is estimated that several thousand tax payers, mostly families, throw away money when filing their federal income tax returns. They leave money on the table, money that is owed to them, money that can use to stabilize otherwise shaky financial situations.

The Earned Income Tax Credit Program (EITC) is designed to support low-to-moderate income working individuals and families. But plenty of working people simply aren't aware of the EITC or don't know if they're eligible.

But that's changing. Thanks to efforts from United Way and The Erie Community Foundation, Erie FREE Taxes and its local partners are working to keep more of families' hard-earned money in Erie County.

16 FREE tax preparation sites in the community will complete and file tax returns. These sites can help you get 100 percent of your tax refund quickly and easily - usually in less than 10 days. Wage earners with children and 2009 household incomes under $48,000 are eligible to have their taxes filed at an Erie FREE Taxes site and may also be eligible to claim the EITC. Join over 21,500 local households who claimed nearly $40 million in federal refunds in 2007.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 1-888-829-5680 or visit erieFREEtaxes.org.

To learn more about VITA sites in Philadelphia and Delaware County, please see the Free Tax Preparation from PathWays PA.


Girl Gov

Girl Gov is a one-day legislative shadowing program for girl’s grade 8-12 who live in Allegheny County. The Girl Gov shadowing program will take place on Monday, March 8th.
Participants in the program will be selected to shadow a state representative for a day in Harrisburg, PA. The Women and Girls Foundation will sponsor a day-long trip to Harrisburg for all participants. Transportation and meals will be included.

The goals of the Girl Gov initiative include:
  • Girls will learn about effective government practices;
  • The initiative will provide an opportunity for girls to explore a career in government service;
  • The initiative will help to influence girl’s future professional decisions and career aspirations;
  • The initiative will inspire girl’s to be more interested in politics;
  • The initiative seeks to make participating legislators more aware of issues effecting women and girls in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
To apply to be a Girl Gov shadow, please must fill out the application (word format or PDF format) by 5:00 Tuesday, February 2nd and submit it to:

The Women ad Girls Foundation
425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1860
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Fax: 412-227-0417
Email: changeagents@wgfpa.org


Town Hall Meeting: No Neighbor Left Behind

Some Philadelphia residents have made more money selling their home recently than they could have ever imagined. And new business openings in formerly underserved areas have been impressive. But rising values also mean that some may soon be forced out by increased taxes and property values.

In other neighborhoods and suburban towns, the issue is not gentrification, but disinvestment as some businesses and residents move out leaving abandoned houses and vacant land behind.

Attend a town hall meeting on organizing to prevent gentrification and disinvestment.

WHEN: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 5:30-7:30
WHERE: Bright Hope Baptist Church, 1601 North 12th Street (12th and Cecil B. Moore)
(Parking lot on site or take the Broad Street Subway to Cecil B. Moore and walk three blocks.)

Sign-up to attend: please click here.

Not only will you get to hear from four great local community organizing groups, but they compile all of the ideas generated at the town hall and publish them on a website. The recommendations can then be passed on to local legislative leaders and be used to guide the Bread & Roses Community Grantmaking Committee as it makes decisions about which groups to fund in their next grant cycle.

The town hall is an important chance for you to share your ideas and to pick up some tips to make your community a better place to live in.


PA Hunger Action Center Budget Briefing

On Thursday, February 11, Hunger Action will hold its 11th annual Budget Briefing in Harrisburg. Focused on food and nutrition program line items in the just-released Executive Budget, the briefing provides an opportunity to hear comments from representatives of the Governor’s Office, as well as House and Senate Appropriations Committees, regarding these line items, the broader state budget and the upcoming negotiations process. The session also marks the beginning of the state budget advocacy season, with attendees sharing ideas and strategies during an interactive luncheon.

If you are interested in registering, please contact Joe Quattrocchi at jquattrocchi@pahunger.org.


PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

Free Tax Preparation from PathWays PA

PathWays PA’s basic tax preparation service is designed to provide free tax filing for households whose income does not exceed $50,000. We can also assist tax filers who are disabled or who do not speak English as their first language.

If you or someone you know would like to have taxes prepared by the Self Sufficiency team, please call the numbers below to schedule an appointment.
Philadelphia

PathWays PA West Philly Office
3617 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia, PA
To schedule an appointment call Linda at 215-387-1470.
Mondays 10am – 2pm (starting February 1st)
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2pm -6pm

PathWays PA EARN Center
926 W. Allegheny Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19133
To schedule an appointment call 215-226-2600.
Wednesdays and Fridays 9:30am -12:30pm (starting January 27th)
Saturdays January 30 and February 6 10am - 2pm


Delaware County

PathWays PA Administrative Office
310 Amosland Road Holmes, PA 19043
To schedule an appointment call Ann DelCollo at 610-543-5022.
Mondays and Wednesdays 2pm - 6pm
Fridays 10am-2pm (starting January 29th)

J. Lewis Crozer Library
620 Engle Street Chester, PA 19013
To schedule an appointment call 610-494-3454.
Wednesdays 4pm - 7pm (starting January 27th)
The following Saturdays:
Feb 13, March 6, April 10 9:30am -12:30pm

Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union
Wharf at Rivertown- 2501 Seaport Drive, Chester
To schedule an appointment call 610-619-7000.
The following Tuesdays:
January 26, February 9, February 23, March 9, March 23
10am - 2pm

Please feel free to refer your eligible friends and family to our services!


Change a Life: Become a Mentor to Foster Youth

The Achieving Independence Center (AIC) wants caring and supportive adults willing to build a friendship with a foster care youth. You can be that big brother or sister a youth in foster care needs by sharing your life experiences, time, and friendship. Having a shoulder to lean on when times get tough helps young people stay focused and not lose hope.

Whether it is providing them with caring support, friendship, or helping them with their aspirations (personal and professional), the AIC Mentoring Program can match you with a young person between the ages of 16-21 who could benefit from your knowledge and experience.

The AIC is a “one-stop” center designed to assist young people ages 16-21 achieve their future goals of self-sufficiency. The AIC is dedicated to providing support and real life tools for youth who want to make an investment in their future!

Help a youth build their self-esteem and achieve their personal goals. You make a difference by simply getting involved.

For additional information please call 215-574-9194.


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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