Monday, March 29, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: March 29, 2010

PathWays PA Invites You to a Resource Fair and Publications Release

Please join PathWays PA and other local nonprofit organizations at a resource fair for the release of our newest publication, Making Wages Work, which looks at the gaps between public benefits and wage adequacy. We will also be launching Keeping It Real: Teen Finances, a handbook for teens to help then manage their money.

The event will include an overview of our new report, handbook, and the release of the Online Training and Benefits Eligibility Tool (OTBET). The OTBET is an online tool that allows staff and clients to determine the personal Self-Sufficiency Standard and benefits eligibility for their own families.

Following the presentations, local nonprofits will have resources available to share regarding their services and publications.

WHEN: April 12, 2010, 9:00 – 11:00 AM
WHERE: The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 7 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103

To sign up, call PathWays PA at 610-543-5022 x209, or sign up at http://pathwaysparesource.eventbrite.com/. If you would like to have a resource table for your organization, please let us know!

Federal

Help Increase Funding for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a program sponsored by the IRS to help low- and middle-income people file their income tax returns. Through the program, community partners engage and train volunteers and set up sites where clients can come to have their basic returns completed. VITA was created especially to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable credit that means big returns for the low and middle-income filers.

Earlier this year the President released his proposed budget for FY2011, which includes decreased funding for the VITA Grant Program, even though working families need increased access to safe financial resources.

Please sign this petition if you feel that more funding is needed for this important program.

Health Care Reform Will Benefit Pennsylvania.

With the enactment of comprehensive health care reform this week, a great step forward has been taken to ensure that all Americans will enjoy more security and stability in their health coverage.

Pennsylvanians who have health coverage will keep their doctors but no longer have to worry about being denied care for a pre-existing condition or being dropped by an insurer when they get sick. Tax credits and other assistance will make health insurance more affordable for Pennsylvania's uninsured families and small businesses.

Despite these and many other benefits, heath care reform is being threatened by federal litigation challenging the law. Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has joined with 12 other state Attorneys General to sue the federal government to block meaningful health reform from taking root in Pennsylvania and across the U.S.

If you want health care reform to continue, please send a message to Tom Corbett that this litigation is bad for Pennsylvania. Call the Attorney General's Office at 717-787-3391 or email the office.

To learn more about the benefits of health reform, view one-pagers for each of Pennsylvania's 19 Congressional Districts. To learn more about health care reform in general, please visit our Policy Blog (suggested posts include: Online Tools to Help Decipher the Health Care Bill and What Does Health Care Reform Really Mean?)

State

Help Restore Cuts to State Supplemental Payments

In Pennsylvania 345,000 Pennsylvanians receive State Supplemental Payments (SSP). Individuals who receive SSP are usually people who are very-low-income elderly and/or disabled, struggling to live in the community. Of the recipients, 67,000 are children.

Until now, Pennsylvania provided a monthly SSP to help people afford food, transportation, and medicine. The amount of the payment was $27.40/individual or $43.70/couple. The cuts reduce that by $5.30/individual and $10.40/couple.

To these recipients, this cut is the difference of one meal, one bus trip to a grocery store or to a child’s school event, or one medical co-pay.

The Coalition to Restore SSP Payments to Older PA Citizens and the Disabled is asking people to call, write, or fax their legislators on April 1 from 9 AM to 5 PM. To find your legislators. visit http://www.legis.state.pa.us/.

If you have any questions, you may contact Bill Chrisner at 1-800-538-8070, ext 224 or wchrisner@drnpa.org or Linda Anthony at lanthony@drnpa.org.

Information/Events

Investing in a Prosperous Pennsylvania: A Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on the Future of Our Workforce and Economy

WHEN: April 19, 6:00 – 9:00 PM
WHERE: The National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street Philadelphia PA

The event is split into two parts. For the first hour there will be an interactive Workforce Open House where you can learn about innovative program that are moving youth an adults into learning and career pathways. The remainder of the evening will consist of a forum with Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial candidates regarding how the Commonwealth can best meet the needs of workers, businesses, and local economies in the 2010s and beyond. The discussion will focus on the candidates’ proposals for stimulating job creation and for ensuring that Pennsylvanians receive the education, training, and support they need to secure the jobs of the future.

For more information and to register for the forum please visit http://www.pagovforum.org/. Space is limited, so please register today!

Pennsylvania Health Access Network Health Reform Conference

Join the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN) for a conference in Harrisburg to tackle many questions about the next steps for health reform, including implementation at the state level. Speakers and workshops will focus on a variety of topics, including what health care reform will mean for Pennsylvania, how insurance reforms will change the insurance marketplace, steps to improve health care quality and much more.

WHEN:
Evening Reception (recognizing the work of health reform advocates)
Sunday, April 25, 2010, 7-9 p.m.

Health Reform Conference
Monday, April 26, 2010, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

WHERE: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 23 S. Second Street, Harrisburg

The cost for the entire event is $25 per participant but there are a limited number of scholarships available. Email Antoinette Kraus at akraus@philaup.org for more information on scholarships.

For more information please see the PHAN Conference Web Page.

To register click here!

PathWays PA is part of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN), which is a coalition of 50 groups from across the Commonwealth working to improve access to quality health care through the expansion of health insurance coverage. To learn more, go to www.pahealthaccess.org.

Grant Opportunity: Encore Volunteer Managers Program 

Fifteen $7,000 grants for Part-Time Volunteer Managers at Philadelphia-area nonprofits are available. The grants were created to increase nonprofit capacity by maximizing the power of volunteers to connect and contribute under the leadership of a trained and certified older adult Volunteer Manager. Volunteer Managers will receive a stipend of $7,000 for one year for 15 to 20 hours per week.

To be eligible the non-profit’s mission should on basic needs, refugees and immigrants, and older adult services.

Agencies that receive the grants will be asked to:
  • Accept approved participants for the exclusive role of Volunteer Manager
  • Ensure that participants are able to perform 15 hours per week as a Volunteer Manager
  • Provide Volunteer Managers with physical space, access to technology (including telephone and computer), staff supervision, orientation and training.
For more information and the application please click here. Application are due by Friday, April 2, 2010, at 5:00 pm. Applicants will be notified by e-mail by Friday, April 16, 2010.

If you have any questions, please e-mail JGlenn@comingofage.org or call (215) 204-6718.

PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

PathWays PA New Publication: Keeping it Real – Teen Finances

PathWays PA is excited to announce the completion of a new helpful handbook for managing money written specifically for teens, Keeping it Real: Teen Finances.

This guide not only discusses what teens should understand about their finances, it also assists them in planning for their future.

The guide focuses on such areas as understanding your paycheck, budgeting, banking, financial contracts, credit, and insurance. It also includes goal setting, finding a job, education, child care, and housing.


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!
  • 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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