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Important Update on Pennsylvania SNAP

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If you live in PA and receive SNAP (food stamp) benefits, please read and share this message. You will be receiving your February benefits EARLY. Thanks to our friends at the Coalition Against Hunger for sharing this information.

DUE TO THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN, YOUR FEBRUARY SNAP BENEFITS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON YOUR EBT (PA ACCESS) CARD by the end of the day on Friday, JANUARY 18, 2019.
These are your February benefits coming early – they are not a bonus.You WILL NOT receive additional benefits in the month of February.USDA has directed all states to issue February benefits early – you will not be getting additional SNAP benefits until March at the earliest.New applications for SNAP are still being accepted and processed during the rest of January and during February. Eligible applicants who submit all required paperwork promptly will receive February benefits.If you are a current SNAP participant and do not receive your February benefits by the end of the day on Friday, January 18t…

What's affected by the government shutdown

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As of today (January 8, 2019), the government shutdown has gone on for 17+ days.  Over 800,000 federal workers in the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and Department of Agriculture have been furloughed or are continuing to work without pay. And while these workers will likely collect back pay when government funding resumes, an estimated 4.1 million additional people who are contract employees for the federal government probably will not.

Beyond those who work for the government, people throughout the country are feeling the effects of the shutdown. Funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) has already run out, although states have kept the program going with their own money so far. If the shutdown continues into February or March, it is likely that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) will also run out of money. According to the Coalition Against Hunger, the USDA …

Volunteer for the Delaware County Point-in-Time Street Count

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Volunteers are needed for Delaware County: Point-In-Time Street Count. As a street count volunteer, you will be asked to assist an outreach team canvass pre-determined locations for homeless individuals and families. This is a valuable opportunity for anyone who would like a better understanding of the homeless experience in our community.

Date for Point-in-Time (PIT): Jan 23 and 24, 2019.

Find posters and flyers here.

If you have any questions, or would like to volunteer please email Farea Graybill at graybillf@delcohsa.org.

Take Action for Immigrants and Refugees

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Several items in the news highlight the need to take action for immigrants and refugees this week:
Children remain in detention facilities months after the family separation policy ended. 140 children are still detained, including 117 children whose parents were deported without them.   Asylum seekers are waiting weeks for initial interviews and waiting months for determinations about their cases. This wait was cited among the factors leading to the use of tear gas at the US-Mexico border over the weekend.Citizenship wait times have also increased.Take Action: HIAS offers a number of ways to take action:Join a HIAS briefing call on November 28 at 2pm EST for an overview of the current issues facing refugees and asylum seekers, and the ways you can get involved in taking action. RSVP required.Talking points to use with CongressOther action steps are available at https://www.hias.org/take-actionWelcoming America offers a series of actions you can take with elected officials and in your ow…

Mid-Term Election Roundup

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One week after the November mid-term elections, there are still a few races yet to be decided - both at the federal level and in at least one PA state race.

Nationally, Democrats now have a majority in the House of Representatives, while Republicans keep control of the Senate. 36 states had elections for Governor last week. 16 Democrats and 18 Republicans were elected, while 2 races remain undecided.

The 2018 election brought a number of "firsts" to Congress, including the first Native American Congresswomen, the first Muslim Congresswomen, and, for some states, their first African American or female legislators. PBS and The Washington Post have more information on the most diverse group of people elected in American history. 

Here are some takeaways on the election:
From FiveThirtyEight: Voter turnout was huge, with an estimated 116 million additional people voting in the 2018 midterm compared to 2014. 104 new people are going to the House of Representatives.This Congress …

Supporting Pittsburgh, and supporting refugees

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On Saturday, Pittsburgh became one of the latest sites of gun violence in our country. At the Tree of Life Synagogue, 11 people were killed and 6 people injured after a shooter opened fire. Online postings that are being attributed to the shooter include rants against refugees, the Jewish community, and the organization HIAS, among others.

PathWays PA mourns for all those in Pittsburgh and all those affected by this shooting. We also stand with communities that support refugees, immigrants, and diversity. 
Our partner in Pittsburgh, the Women and Girls Foundation, wrote a beautiful letter which we encourage you all to read. They also suggested a number of actions which we've listed below.. Finally, they - and we - encourage you to use your vote to make a difference on November 6.
Take Action and Find Resources (from the Women and Girls Foundation and others)
If you have immediate needs, contact the Jewish Federation.Family Assistance Center at the JCC Squirrel HillDonate directly t…

Protect Trans Rights

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According to the New York Times, the Department of Health and Human Services plans to create a legal definition of sex within Title IX. This definition will limit gender to male or female, depending on one's genitals at birth, and will be considered unchangeable.

This action, if fulfilled, puts many people's health and well-being at risk, including those are transgender or non-binary. Civil rights protections, especially for people living in states without their own gender nondiscrimination laws, would be rolled back. Even as the medical community is issuing new guidelines for helping people who identify as transgender, this change in definition could lead to the end of important research and possibly the denial of healthcare.

Take Action

(These actions are from our friends at PolicyLink)

Contact senior Administration officials. Let them know that you are opposed to any proposed rule that would strip transgender — or any — people of their civil rights and other protections.Secret…