PathWays PA E-Newsletter: February 22, 2010


Proposed Cuts to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

VITA, or Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, 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 month the President released his proposed budget for FY2011 and it includes a decrease in funding for the VITA Grant Program. Working families need increased access to safe financial resources.

Please contact your members of Congress and ask them to fund this important program.

February 23: Call-in Day to Save Jobs and Protect the Jobless

At the end of this month, the federal program providing unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed will expire. If Congress does not take quick action, nearly 1.2 million people will not get benefits in March and 5 million people will lose benefits in June.

Cutting off unemployment benefits will cause more job loss and service reductions in our communities - up to 800,000 jobs nation-wide if benefits are not extended through the end of 2010. That is because every $1 of unemployment insurance benefits that is spent results in $1.69 in economic stimulus in the community.

Call now to urge Congress to act now to prevent the lifelines that families and our communities need from being cut off.


Urge your Legislators Support the Supplemental Security Income Program

Prior to this month, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) was adding $27.40 per month to each Supplemental Security Income (SSI) check for the state's low income, severely disabled, elderly, and blind.

Even with this supplement, many SSI recipients were only at 78 percent of the federal poverty line. As a result of last summer's budget agreement this amount is being cut by $5 for an individual or $10 for a couple. This affects 345,000 Pennsylvanians, including 67,000 disabled children. While $5-$10 per month might not seem like a lot for people already living below the poverty level, it is a missed meal, a medical or pharmaceutical co-pay that cannot be met, or a para-transit ride that cannot be taken.

Contact your state legislator and urge them to find ways to restore this cut.

Sign-On Today to Stop Cuts to Early Childhood Education Programs

Investments in high quality early childhood education are critical for Pennsylvania’s future, yet in the governor’s budget proposal these programs are being cut.
  • Pre-K Counts was cut by $475,000
  • Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program was cut by $784,000
  • Child Care Works and Keystone STARS rely heavily on nearly $41.7 million in federal ARRA funding, which will go away after 2011.
Support early childhood education programs by adding your organization’s name to a letter to the General Assembly urging them to support such important programs as Pre-K Counts, Head Start, Child Care Works, and Keystone STARS by Friday, February 19, 2010.


Career Readiness Course: Making Computers Work for You

This is a free four-week course that upon completion students will have:
  • Assembled an employment portfolio
  • Gained a better understanding of MS Office
  • Become more competitive in the job market
WHEN: Tuesdays from 4:00-6:00 pm or Saturdays from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
WHERE: PathWays PA Career & Education Center, 926 West Allegheny Ave, Philadelphia

For more information, please contact Marylou Fusco at 215-226-2600 ext. 311.

Catch the Bus to DC: Join the March to the Finish Line for the Final Mile

To show the need for health care reform, starting on February 17th individuals have been marching from Philadelphia to Washington, DC. They will arrive in DC on February 24th and want as many people as possible to march with them for the last mile to the Capitol Building.

A bus will be leaving Love Park at 8:30 AM on Wednesday, February 24th. To reserve your spot on the bus click here. You can also email or call 215-557-0822, ext. 106 for more information.

If you cannot make it you DC you can still share your story or your thoughts by contacting you members of Congress.

To follow the progress of the march and to learn of other events along the way please visit March to the Finish Line for Melanie.

Working Families Resource Summit

WHEN: Saturday, February 27th 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM

WHERE: Interboro High School
16th and Amosland Road, Prospect Park PA

The summit will include a service fair that connects community members with government agencies, nongovernment organizations, and local resources. Exhibitors will cover a variety of subjects including housing relief, employment, health services, adult education, credit counseling, legal issues, elder and child care, Veteran benefits, and more.

To RSVP and for more information please visit click here. If you have any question please contact Eve Massa at 610-892-8623 or

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

Occurring less than a month before the Commonwealth’s primary elections, this forum will offer an informative and interactive look at the candidates’ plans for stimulating job creation and moving Pennsylvanians back to work.

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

For the first hour, there will be a Workforce Open House, where there will be information about innovative programs that are moving youth and adults into learning and career paths. The remainder of the evening will include a forum with Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial candidates regarding how the Commonwealth can best meet the needs of workers, businesses, and local economies.

If you plan to attend, please save the date and RSVP at The forum is free, but space is limited.

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.

If you would like to have a copy or learn more about this handbook please email

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.


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
  • 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:
  • 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:

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

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Pennsylvania Plans to Reinstate Asset Limits on SNAP (Food Stamps)

Overlooked and Undercounted: Struggling to Make Ends Meet in Pennsylvania

Supporting PathWays PA throughout the year