Monday, August 13, 2012

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: August 13, 2012

Federal Policy Updates 

CONGRESS LEAVES WITHOUT A FARM BILL

Congress has been working on the reauthorization of the Farm Bill, which includes funding for the food stamp, or SNAP, program.

The House Agricultural Committee passed a bill out of Committee that cuts $16 billion from the program. If that bill becomes law 2 to 3 million people would lose their food assistance and 280 million children would no longer qualify for free school lunches. This at a time when in the United States 1 out of every 7 and in Philadelphia 1 out of every 4 people are struggling with hunger.

Congress left for the August recess without coming to agreement on a Farm Bill. The current 5-year bill is set to expire on September 30th. That leaves the SNAP funding and other farm programs unresolved until Congress returns in September.

If you support funding for SNAP there is still time to contact your legislators and urge them not to cut these important programs.


State Policy Updates 

ESTIMATED ANNUAL COST OF CHILD HOMELESSNESS IN PENNSYLVANIA: $363 MILLION

The People’s Emergency Center recently released a policy brief that not only looks at the issue and impact of childhood homelessness, but quantifies the cost to the state. This report shows that the societal cost of childhood homelessness reaches well beyond the cost of providing housing.

An examination of thirteen cost categories associated with child homelessness shows that the estimated annual marginal cost of child homelessness in Pennsylvania is $363,205,374. This averages to an annual marginal cost of approximately $40,235 per child for the 9,027 children who slept at least one night in shelter in 2011 as compared to the average cost of a child who is not homeless, $6,419.

Please click here to read more.


HEMAP IS BACK!

Applications for the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) are now being accepted.

The HEMAP program is officially back in business as of last week! Thanks to the efforts of many advocates and homeowners HEMAP has been restored in Pennsylvania. Funding has come from the National Mortgage Settlement which resulted from the law suit by the state Attorney's General against the largest mortgage banks. 90% of the $66 million coming to PA is targeted for HEMAP over the next five years.

To apply you can contact non-profit housing counseling agencies throughout Pennsylvania. Click here to find an agency near you.

From our friends at the Philadelphia Unemployment Project


Information & Events 

SPECIAL WEBINAR ON VOTER ID FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESS PROVIDERS

Housing and homeless providers work with people every day who may not have the ID needed to vote in November. Help is available.

Please join the Housing Alliance, the Pennsylvania Association of Housing and Redevelopment Agencies (PAHRA) and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) for a timely and important Webinar on Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law. Learn:
  • Details on what identifications are approved to use at the polls 
  • How can housing advocates and providers get the word out to their residents 
  • Overcoming id-challenges within the affordable housing population 
This special one-hour webinar will feature Department of State representatives and be held 3 times to allow for everyone's busy schedules.

NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY

The National Association of Secretaries of State has officially declared September 25, 2012 National Voter Registration Day!

This declaration further reinforces the importance of registering and voting in 2012. On September 25, nonprofits and volunteers across the country will engage their communities to help register or re-register thousands of voters ahead of various deadlines.

National Voter Registration Day is a great one-day activity that any nonprofit can leverage to help their community register and vote. Your organization can still sign on to participate in National Voter Registration Day. In order to receive a hard-copy toolkit, be sure to register before September 1st.

Learn how your nonprofit can get involved in National Voter Registration Day and help your community participate in 2012!

The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) is a nonpartisan professional organization for state officials that facilitates the exchange of information between states and fosters cooperation in the development of public policy--including voting and election initiatives. 


NATIONAL TELEPHONE TOWN HALL

Join Caring Across Generations for a National Telephone Town Hall on Democracy, Jobs, and the Budget. As Americans all over the country are dealing with difficult choices about balancing budgets within our own homes, the nation as a whole will be forced to do the same.

WHEN: August 23rd at 4:00

Sign up today.

Some questions to be discussed include:
  • What is at stake for seniors, people with disabilities, and young people in the budget debate?
  • What are the choices we will need to understand during the election and beyond? 
  • Are our rights as voters at risk? 
  • What are proactive solutions to bring the nation together? 
Caring Across Generations is a national effort to bring Americans together across generations to transform the increasing need for home and community based care and services into an opportunity to create quality jobs and a more caring economy for everyone.

IDENTITY THEFT: REDUCE YOUR RISK OF BECOMING A VICTIM

Up to 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Although nothing can guarantee that you won't become a victim, there are things you can do to help minimize your risk, including:
  • Guarding your Social Security number. 
  • Shredding documents with personal information before disposing of them. 
  • Using intricate passwords. 
  • Verifying a source before sharing any personal information. 
  • Being on the lookout for online scammers and thieves. 
  • Keeping your purse, wallet, and personal information secure. 
The best way to detect identity theft is to monitor your accounts and bank statements each month and check your credit report regularly. Learn more about how to detect identity theft.

If you discover that you are a victim of identity theft, take steps to respond and recover as soon as possible. You can find forms, sample letters, and other tools from the Federal Trade Commission.


PHAN POLICY PHONE CALL

In June the Supreme Court upheld health care reform as Constitutional. So...now what?

PHAN invites you to join their Tuesday Night Policy Call to get the latest updates. Hear where Pennsylvania is on implementation and what the options are to move forward.

RSVP for dial-in numbers here.

Our special guest speaker for this call will be our own Project Director, Antoinette Kraus. These calls are frequented most by directors of advocacy organizations and policy experts, but are designed to be welcoming to everyone. PHAN strongly encourages individual consumers interested in finding out just a little more about the process to dial-in. We will begin with an introduction to make sure everyone can follow along.

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