Monday, February 27, 2012

PathWays PA E-Alert: February 27, 2012

State

Call-to-Action for Public Education

In February, Governor Corbett gave his Budget Address and cemented the $900 million dollar cuts he gave to public education funding.  These cuts have lead to increases in class size, the closure of school buildings, the elimination of successful programs such as full-day kindergarten and tutoring and the loss of many instructional and support staff, who teach and take care of students. On March 5, Education Voters of Pennsylvania will hold a Call-to-Action day to encourage individuals to share their thoughts on education cuts with legislators.

To learn more and to participate, please visit http://www.educationvoterspa.org/index.php/site/news/call-to-action-for-public-education11/.

Funding for Emergency Mortgage Assistance

The issue of the Homeowner’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) is becoming very prominent in Harrisburg and the news media at this time. The Governor’s budget includes no funding for HEMAP, a loan program for homeowners in danger of losing their homes. However, the state is getting $69 million from the federal Attorney General’s settlement with the big mortgage companies, which gives an opening to secure HEMAP funds. Both Republicans and Democrats are pressing for these funds to go to HEMAP (http://standardspeaker.com/news/bipartisan-support-in-senate-for-housing-aid-1.1274338#axzz1nK9zSqW1).

The funds come to PA Attorney General Linda Kelly whose web page has a link to email her with comments on the funding.  You can email her with your feelings regarding the funds by clicking this link: MortgageForeclosureSettlement@attorneygeneral.gov.

You can also contact your elected officials to urge them to support reopening HEMAP with these federal foreclosure prevention funds. Find contact information for your Senator and Representative at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/#address.

From our friends at PA Council of Churches and PUP

Go to Harrisburg with the Housing Alliance!

The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania is going to Harrisburg on Wednesday, March 7, to visit legislators to ask them not to cut homelessness prevention, but instead maintain the safety net for the most vulnerable people and keep what works - proven, cost-effective housing programs.

The Housing Alliance will organize the meetings, accompany participants and provide materials. Just show up with stories about what works in your hometown.  Click here to sign up, then show up.

Can’t make it to Harrisburg on March 7th? Click here and the Housing Alliance will work with you on local visits, closer to home and just as effective.

Federal

Mending the Safety Net - HR 32, the Homeless Children and Youth Act

The City of Philadelphia gets calls every day from families looking for emergency housing and has to turn them away.  Hundreds -- if not thousands -- of Philadelphia families are living doubled up or running away to another county to flee their abuser.  In fact, 60% of the families in one domestic violence shelter in suburban Philadelphia are from Philadelphia because there is not enough emergency housing or prevention services here in the city.

HR 32 is bi-partisan legislation that amends the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of homelessness to include children, youth, and their families who are verified as homeless by four federal programs: school district liaisons, Head Start programs, Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs, and early intervention programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part C. If enacted into law, HR 32 would eliminate HUD's regulatory obstacles to homeless children and youth qualifying for essential HUD services and would facilitate referrals of homeless children and youth for these services. HR 32 also would ensure that homeless children, youth, and their families are counted as homeless.

To get more information on HR 32 and the information supporting the proposal, view a new website created by the organizers at http://helphomelesskidsnow.org/take-action/

HR 32 now moves on for consideration by the House Financial Services Committee. Regardless of whether or not your U.S. Representative is on the full committee, if you support this bill, you can urge your Representative to sign on to HR 32 as a co-sponsor.  Find your Congressional House member and email addresses here.

From our friends at PEC

Send a Letter to Legislators if You Support Paid Family Leave

The arrival of a new child should be a time of pure celebration. Sadly, for millions of working parents in the United States without paid family leave, the joyous occasion can be short-lived. When a new child arrives, many of these parents have to make an impossible choice between taking the first few critical weeks off of work to bond with their new child, or returning to work in order to keep their job and protect their family's economic security.

If you think America's working parents and their children deserve better, you can sign a letter from MomsRising and send it to your legislators.   Find the letter at http://action.momsrising.org/sign/pfl_petition/?rd=1&t=3&referring_akid=3135.197376.WaODr9.

Supporting Clean Air

While the EPA is getting ready to release final regulations regarding the amount of mercury and other pollutants allowed in the air, some members of Congress have introduced legislation revoking these standards.  If you support the decision to regulate these pollutants, The Union of Concerned Scientists has created a letter you can send to Congress at  https://secure3.convio.net/ucs/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=3225.

Information/Events


A Conversation With Our Legislators

The Bucks County Women's Advocacy Coalition and the BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship invite you to attend “A Conversation With Our Legislators: PA Budget Challenges and Opportunities for Women and Girls” on Friday, March 30 from 8-10 a.m.  This year they will be presenting various perspectives on the PA Budget Challenges and Opportunities for Women and Girls.

This event will include leading fiscal policy expert Sharon Ward who will provide an analysis of what's at stake for women and girls in Governor Tom Corbett's second budget proposal.  Noted labor economist Mark Price of the Keystone Research Center will discuss the direction of the state's economy, with a particular focus on how working and low-income women are faring. Coalition partners will discuss the impacts of our current financial realities on women and girls in Bucks County.  Several of our local legislators will also speak about what they see as the opportunities and challenges in the 2012 PA State Budget.

Please join this event on Friday, March 30, 2012 from 8-10 a.m. at BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2040 Street Road (Routes 611 and 132), Warrington, PA. Please forward this invitation to anyone interested in the well-being of women and girls in Bucks County.

Click here to RSVP. For more information about the event, please send an email to convo2012@bcwac.org.

Town Hall Meeting on TXT 4 HELP

National Safe Place will be holding an online Town Hall meeting on March 13, 2012, regarding their TXT 4 HELP service and the latest updates to it, which will include Spanish availability.

TXT 4 HELP is a nationwide service offered by Safe Place to help teens connect to the closest location where they can get immediate help and safety. If a teen is in a crisis, s/he can text the word SAFE and current location (address/city/state) to the number 69866. National Safe Place will  text back an address of the nearest Safe Place site and contact number for the local youth shelter. In cities that don’t have a Safe Place program, the teen will receive the name and number of the nearest youth shelter. If there is no local shelter or safe place, the teen will be referred to the National Runaway Switchboard Hotline Number ,1-800-RUNAWAY.

To sign up for the Town Hall, please visit http://nationalsafeplace.ilinc.com/perl/ilinc/lms/register.pl?activity_id=bfpxrcw&user_id=.

A Millionaire’s Tax and the Economy

February 29, 2012, 10:30am – 11:15am
Watch Live Online

Featured speakers:
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse(D-RI)
Jason Furman, Deputy Director, National Economic Council
Michael Ettlinger, Vice President for Economic Policy, Center for American Progress Action Fund
Moderated by:
Tom Perriello, President and Chief Executive Officer, Center for American Progress Action Fund

A new bill by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the Paying a Fair Share Act, would end a tax policy that often asks middle-class workers to pay higher tax rates than millionaires. Please join Sen. Whitehouse, National Economic Council Deputy Director Jason Furman, and Michael Ettlinger, Center for American Progress Action Fund Vice President for Economic Policy, for a candid conversation on these important issues. The discussion will be moderated by Center for American Progress Action Fund President and CEO Tom Perriello.

The event will begin promptly at 10:30 a.m.

Washington DC Lobby Day on March 28

The People’s Emergency Center, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, and other groups will be traveling to Washington, DC, on March 28 to educate members of Pennsylvania’s Congressional Delegation.  For more infomration, contact Joe Willard at jwillard@pec-cares.org, or the Housing Alliance's Joyce Sacco at Joyce@housingalliancepa.org.

Policy Resolution on Women and HIV/AIDS

The Center for Women Policy Studies is proud to share with all of its global colleagues and friends the Policy Resolution on Women and HIV/AIDS prepared by the women state legislators who participated in our 2011 National Summit for State Legislators on Women and HIV/AIDS:  “Fighting For our Lives” in the 21st Century – Promoting Woman-Centered HIV/AIDS Policy.

They invite everyone to endorse the Resolution by sending an email to: cwps@centerwomenpolicy.org

They will publish the final list of endorsing individuals and organizations prior to the upcoming International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC.

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