“Thousands of poor Georgians are trapped in governmental purgatory with no clue when — or whether — they may finally get health coverage. The culprit: a chronic disconnect between federal and state systems that is still festering nearly six months into the Health Insurance Marketplace’s operation.”
“Top leaders in the Georgia Assembly are behind a bill to strip Gov. Nathan Deal of the power to expand Medicaid, as called for by the Affordable Care Act, and put that decision-making in the hands of the Legislature. Some Democrats are calling that political cover for the governor during this year’s election campaign.”
“Most of Georgia's child welfare system would be dismantled and turned over to private companies under a new bill introduced this week by Senate lawmakers.”
“As part of the federal health care law, also known as Obamacare, the federal government pays for the full cost of newly eligible Medicaid recipients under expansion for the first three years. Its share then drops to no lower than 90 percent of the cost. In Georgia, it's estimated that as many as 650,000 additional residents would be eligible for Medicaid.”
“Expanding Medicaid in Georgia would add more than 3,000 jobs and more than $300 million in economic impact, according to an analysis presented to an Augusta health care coalition Tuesday.”
“Since taking the reins of state government in January 2003, Georgia Republicans have implemented every bit of that agenda. They have slashed unemployment benefits and welfare benefits, and pay the lowest Medicaid reimbursements in the country.”
“With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, 2013 has definitely been a tumultuous year for health care, including Medicaid, the federally administered health-care program for the poor.”
“No child has ever chosen to be poor. Children have never caused the poverty that defines their lives and their education.”
“Thousands of Georgians saw their food stamps cut off this month after they did not receive a notice to renew their benefits, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned. The problem, which state officials blamed largely on a vendor’s computer glitch, left many struggling to provide a Thanksgiving dinner.”
“That snapshot isn't pretty. Rural counties have the highest unemployment rates, lowest incomes, worst high school dropout rates and so on. The poverty rate in rural Georgia is nearly 25 percent, versus 18 percent in urban areas.”
“Georgia’s hospitals and now its powerful association of doctors say the state should expand Medicaid to cover hundreds of thousands of people who won’t otherwise have health insurance.”
“If you want to understand the congressional Republicans who have forced confrontations with Obama on the ‘fiscal cliff,’ the government shutdown and the debt ceiling — and whether those lawmakers might feel encouraged to force more confrontations in the future — you need to understand the economic struggles of the Republicans’ home districts.”
“About 50 people recently learned what it feels like to live in poverty through a simulation project in western Georgia.”
“For more than a year, Georgians who need food stamps have battled a flawed call-in system that often thwarts their attempts to apply for or renew benefits, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.”
“New SAT details released Thursday had some Georgia school districts bragging about eager students and hardworking teachers, while others were left to explain how disadvantages such as poverty dragged down their scores.”
“Since I moved to Atlanta, I have experienced the plight of my homeless sisters and brothers in a manner quite different from times in the past. There is a vast difference between knowing people are homeless and seeing them walking around town and sitting down at the table for a meal with a homeless person. This is what happens at the Open Door and it can be a transformative experience.”
“More than three years after the Great Recession officially ended, a record 1.8 million Georgians are enrolled in Medicaid and the state's child health insurance program, the latest state figures show. That's nearly one in five residents.”
“Our state legislators and governor are running scared. What are they afraid of? Obamacare. Why are they afraid? Is it the cost of expanding Medicaid and opening up slots for 534,000 Georgians who would be eligible? No. They are bending to political ideology.”
“Obamacare is going to cost Georgia’s Medicaid program $26.9 million this year and $101.7 million next year, even though the state has chosen not to expand eligibility, the state’s Medicaid director said Wednesday.”
“Last week I was greatly disturbed by the news that Columbia, S.C., has passed an ordinance to make homelessness a crime. They are proposing to build a facility that will house about 250 persons outside the city limits for the homeless people who will be picked up by police. They will be confined to that area.”
“Medicaid has been a big issue in Georgia over the past year. The state's top political leaders have refused to join the Obama administration's plans to expand Medicaid coverage, starting in 2014. Sebelius told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an exclusive interview during her recent visit here that the state's stance would hurt many working-poor families.”
“Georgia's refusal to expand Medicaid will create the ‘worst of all worlds’ for poor, working parents --- leaving many ineligible for either the government health program or financial help to buy private insurance, the Obama administration's top health official said Tuesday.”
“We learned a couple of things about Obamacare last week. One is that the ‘Affordable’ Care Act will hit a lot of Georgians' wallets hard. Another is that Gov. Nathan Deal's decision not to expand Georgia's Medicaid program may be justified in an unexpected way.”
“The Atlanta Housing Authority has received acclaim for transforming the inner city’s bleak housing projects. But it’s also come under fire for large salaries paid to its CEO Renee Glover and many top employees.”
“Four years after the end of the recession, the economy has been growing, employers have been hiring and the number of people relying on food stamps in Georgia has been going ... up. A year ago, the program provided food assistance to a record 1.91 million people in the state, nearly one-quarter of them 6 years old or younger. By this June, the program had added 40,000 more recipients, according to the state Department of Human Services.”
“But there are some much more ominous numbers. A full 18 percent of Columbus residents live in poverty, and even more than that -- 19 percent -- lack reasonable access to adequate nutrition.”
“Health officials hope to save the state's ailing Medicaid program millions of dollars and improve the health of some of Georgia's most vulnerable children by hiring a for-profit company to oversee their care.”
“Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal was right to be cautious about expanding Medicaid under health care reform as the state needs to weigh all of its options, the co-chairman of the legislative Medicaid study committee said Wednesday.”
“’Our first and foremost policy is that we have to find housing in a 24-hour time span for anyone that comes through Living Room,’ said Executive Director Dolph Guldenburg. ‘We found that if someone reaches a seventh night on the streets, they wind up homeless for the next nine months.’ The aggressive policy comes from a statistic that states 35 percent of those affected with HIV/AIDS experience at least one night of homelessness.”
“Atlanta’s poor population more than doubled between 2000 and 2011 — from 301,294 to 780,078, according to Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, authored by Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program. That was the fourth-highest jump in poverty rate in the nation.”
“Many low-income families look to their children to assist with the family business or otherwise contribute to the family's income. They see the short-term need for money to support the family and not the long-term benefits of education. This is a crisis that has a solution. At Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, our 2020 goal is to have 90 percent of the children in our clubs graduate on time by providing valuable out-of-school programs.”
“Poor, uninsured military veterans and their spouses in Georgia won't gain the same access to critical health coverage that hundreds of thousands of their peers will receive in states that plan to expand Medicaid.”
“On average in Atlanta white students have higher scores than African American students and students from well to do families have higher scores than students from low income families. If the percentage of white and well to do students in Atlanta schools were higher in 2011 than in 2003 then Atlanta’s scores would be higher in 2011 because of the change in population. Such changes in the population could conceivably explain some or even much of the gains in Atlanta’s NAEP scores from 2003 to 2011.”
“Now remember that Muscogee Elementary, with 100 percent of its students on the free or reduced lunch program, has the most paddlings among elementary schools, and Baker Middle, at 91 percent, has the most among middle schools. The other schools that used corporal punishment most frequently were Eddy Middle (87 percent impoverished students) with 101 paddlings, Davis Elementary (94 percent) with 32 paddlings and Marshall Middle (90 percent) with 32 paddlings. In fact, every elementary and middle school that conducted one or more paddlings had at least 65 percent of its students classified as living in poverty.”
“Schweers said Talley is part of Intown's Heading Home program, a long-term effort focused on helping homeless people get off the streets and into permanent housing. Talley is one of more than 20 homeless men and women Intown Collaborative helped last year move from the streets to stable housing.”
“Taxpayers have shelled out about $1.5 million in recent years to renovate Tobie Grant Manor, a DeKalb public housing complex of brick single-family homes and duplexes in what’s described as a parklike setting.”
“David Brown, the executive director of Grace Scholars, an SSO that serves 900 students in the Augusta area and 17,000 in Georgia, said he hopes the new transparency encourages more individuals and businesses to donate to a child’s private education. Like GOAL, Grace already targets low-income families and publishes its financial data to the public voluntarily. However, he has seen evidence of abuses when donors call his office to ask whether they can contribute to their own child at a particular school and then receive a tax credit.”
“Because Georgia is refusing an offer to expand Medicaid, though, many of those people will buy their own insurance instead, which would greatly expand those numbers, the group said. Without that expansion, however, many adults and poor working parents would be without any coverage because they would not qualify for help.”
“We need sensible safety-net programs like Social Security and Medicare. Our country is too large and varied to rely entirely on individual compassion and private charities to help the most vulnerable. But government should be one of our last options in dealing with social ills, not our first.”
“More than a million dollars in federal grant money to four local service agencies can help a lot of people. One of the reasons these agencies earned the grants has to do with the people they've already helped. As recently reported by staff writer Ben Wright, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded a total of $1.3 million to four area service organizations who provide help mostly though not exclusively, to the homeless.”
“On Monday, members of the new collaborative workspace group The Clubhou.se and non-profit SmartKids.sc revealed the installation of a wireless Internet hot spot in Harrisburg. The hot spot at 606 Crawford Ave. is the first of planned installations in low-income neighborhoods, a project that Clubhou.se members call Operation Lighthouse.”
“If I told you about a place where 17.4 percent of the total population and 28.3 percent of its children are struggling with hunger, you would most likely think I was referring to an impoverished country on the other side of the globe. Those statistics apply to the state of Georgia, where 640,000 children live in food-insecure households.”
“Students will be required to work five days monthly in entry-level jobs to help finance their tuition, which averages about $1,000 a year at existing Cristo Rey schools across the country, Garrett said. Enrollment will be limited to children from families with low incomes — below $35,000 for a family of four.”
“No resolution has come from government throwing money at a problem. In fact, federal and state spending on means-tested welfare programs in 2011 totaled more than $1 trillion, or more than $61,100 for every family living in poverty. Yet the percentage of Americans living in poverty remains high.”
“State utility regulators decided last month that low-income Georgians should pay a monthly fee as a way to curb fraud and abuse in a longtime federal benefit program known as Lifeline. But CTIA, a national association of wireless companies, said the decision is illegal because state government agencies cannot regulate what wireless companies charge customers.”
“Supporters of the effort say it will encourage more primary care doctors to accept Medicaid patients. Many Georgia doctors limit the number of Medicaid patients they see or have stopped accepting Medicaid altogether because of low reimbursements. Medicaid provides coverage for roughly 1.7 million low-income Georgians, mostly pregnant women, children, the elderly and disabled.”
“The state of Georgia and city of Atlanta will use a $4.1 million grant to provide housing for low-income residents with mental and physical disabilities, officials promised Friday.
The federal grant allows people with disabilities who earn less than 30 percent of the area's median income to live in mainstream settings. Much of the money is expected to flow to Atlanta's homeless population.”
“Georgia’s faltering Medicaid program received a massive financial bandage Wednesday when Gov. Nathan Deal signed a measure into law to avert a roughly $700 million hole in the state’s health care budget. But the funding generated through the measure — which clears the way for renewal of a fee on hospitals — is not nearly enough to cover the health care needs of Georgia’s growing population over the next two years.”
“Georgia's pre-kindergarten program will get a turn in the national spotlight this week when President Barack Obama uses Decatur as a backdrop to promote an education initiative to give low-income preschoolers an earlier start on their schooling.”
“We are lucky enough to live in a country where we have the latitude to make choices in almost every arena of our lives. Yet when it comes to one of the most important aspects of a child’s upbringing -- education -- parents are too often offered frustratingly few choices. Our broken public education system can leave low-income students and parents with no alternatives to find a quality education.”
“A head count of Augusta's homeless population this week will take volunteers to the city streets and overnight shelters -- and for the first time to the jail, hospitals and health clinics. The annual ‘point-in-time’ count of the area's homeless population was expanded this year to better account for all individuals defined as homeless by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.”
“Low-income Georgians must start paying a $5 monthly fee to get a cellphone through a federal program that's been hit by accusations of fraud and abuse, state utility regulators decided Tuesday in a 3-2 vote. The charge for what has until now been a free phone is a byproduct of nationwide debate over the program, called Lifeline. Staff members at the Georgia Public Service Commission said similar monthly fees were approved in California and Indiana.”
“As part of an effort to place hundreds of homeless residents in permanent housing by December, Atlanta has launched a registry of the homeless and is calling for as many as 300 volunteers to scour the city and determine which services are needed.”
"For Georgia, going over the 'fiscal cliff' would mean less academic support for at-risk schoolchildren and fewer meals for low-income senior citizens, among other repercussions for cuts in most federal programs."
“Expanding Georgia's massive Medicaid health care program would cost the state roughly $2.5 billion over a decade, while providing half a million poor, uninsured Georgians with coverage, a new study estimates. Under a Medicaid expansion --- a pillar of the Affordable Care Act --- the federal government would pay 100 percent of the costs for newly eligible enrollees the first few years, though that would later fall to 90 percent.”
“CHGA provides shelter and other services to homeless youth from ages 12-21. The recent ‘Executive Sleep Out,’ was part of an effort to raise awareness and money for Covenant House International programs in 13 U.S. and Canadian cities.”
“Georgia’s poverty rate is at its highest point in 30 years. The typical Georgia household’s annual income, in terms of purchasing power, is about what it was in 1990.”
“The number of people on food stamps in Houston County has nearly doubled in the past five years, from 13,300 to 26,578, which is 18.5 percent of the population, according to figures provided by the Georgia Department of Human Services. In Bibb County, that number has gone from 29,895 to 47,353, or 30 percent of the population. Other Middle Georgia counties have also seen sharp increases.”
“The father of Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered as a prominent Atlanta preacher and civil rights leader. But as a young man from a poor sharecropping family in rural Georgia, he is said to have walked north to Atlanta barefoot so he didn't wear out his only pair of shoes. His legacy is now being honored through a community center built to help other low-income people find a path out of poverty.”
“Two metro-Atlanta nonprofits have received a $1 million Veterans Affairs grant to help veterans with housing and employment assistance. The grant is part of a more than $100 million national program to assist veterans and their families who face imminent eviction or are currently homeless.”
“The percentage of Georgians living in poverty in 2011 is among the highest in the United States, according to a new On Numbers analysis of U.S. Census Bureau figures. In Georgia, 14.7 percent of families live below the poverty level, putting the Peach State in a tie with Kentucky for sixth-highest poverty rate in the United States.”
“Charter schools educate a smaller proportion of metro Atlanta's impoverished students than the public school systems in which those charters are located, a new analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows.”
“Breaking the cycle of generational poverty in metro Atlanta will depend on reducing the number of teenage pregnancies and providing early education for children in need. Those are a couple of the findings in a new Atlanta Women's Foundation research study that was done by The Schapiro Group after a year of comprehensive analysis, interviews and voter polls.”
“School districts do this for about 7,100 students across metro Atlanta every day and take other measures to preserve the students' privacy and self-esteem. The reason: The students are homeless.”
“In its 11th year, Taste of Atlanta took to the streets of Midtown Atlanta to showcase Atlanta's restaurants and dining experience. At the same time, the annual food festival partnered with Cooking Matters Georgia to combat the hunger problem within low-income communities in Georgia.”
“The Deels know life can be brutish and short. But they see hope in the 165 residents (66 single women, 35 moms with 64 kids) living in City of Refuge, a campus-like transitional housing facility erected in an old 210,000-square-foot distribution center. It is one of the metro area's newer and larger facilities created to house homeless women. The facility came about in 2008 after throngs of homeless women and children crowded the overflow area of Gateway Center, the city's intake facility for the homeless, sleeping on mats.”
“Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed threw his weight behind new anti-panhandling legislation this week after vetoing a competing proposal passed by the City Council. The latest plan, unveiled at a City Hall press conference, strikes a balance between tough enforcement and humane services for the homeless, the first-term mayor said.”
“Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed joined advocates for the homeless on Monday to announce a goal of ending chronic homelessness among military veterans in Atlanta within 15 months.”
“Things are looking up in Georgia --- from the bottom of a deep hole. That, more or less, was the picture that emerged Wednesday with the Census Bureau's yearly report on household income, poverty and the number of people who have health insurance.”
“Atlanta has been trying to push back against panhandling for years, partly to appease downtown residents and partly to protect the city's lucrative tourism and convention industry, which brings in hundreds of thousands of visitors and millions in spending and taxes. And then there are the hundreds of thousands of workers who commute into the city from all over the region. Mayor Kasim Reed took office in 2010 vowing to curb professional begging.”
“The state has eliminated a waiting list for a program that provides lifesaving medications to thousands of low-income, uninsured Georgians with HIV/AIDS more than two years after the list was first started.”
“The program is a project of Leadership Macon’s 2012 class and would involve placing ‘donation stations’ that resemble parking meters in areas where residents could contribute to local homeless shelters and other programs.”
“The city of Atlanta's latest attempt to curb panhandling is pitting downtown residents and business owners against civil rights activists and advocates for the homeless.”
“Since 2011, MAP has built playgrounds in over nine locations serving over 1,500 children in low-income communities.”
“Thanks to state-level legislation first passed in 2004 and amended in 2008, local governments can have underdeveloped, blighted or distressed areas that are within or adjacent to U.S. Census Bureau block groups with a poverty rate of 15 percent or greater, and are within a State Enterprise Zone or Urban Redevelopment Plan Area, designated as ‘opportunity zones.’”
“City Councilman Michael Julian Bond is pushing a crackdown on aggressive panhandling and has introduced legislation that would mandate six months of jail time after a third conviction on charges of aggressive panhandling.”
“Inspired to assist the homeless and low-income families of Atlanta, Dr. Bill Warren left his private practice in Sandy Springs and opened the Good Samaritan Health Center to provide full, comprehensive medical care.”
"The pattern is all too obvious and entirely too familiar: The schools with the lowest scores are all Title I schools -- that is, those with the most students living in poverty. The schools with the highest scores -- and four topped the state average in every subject in every grade -- are all non-Title I schools. The correlation between poverty and educational struggle is familiar everywhere. But it seems to be worse, and getting worse, here."
"Nearly one in five Georgians now gets federal assistance to put dinner on the table.As Congress debates the future of the food stamp program, with Republicans looking to cut it back, the number of recipients in Georgia has ballooned to 1.9 million as of April, or nearly 20 percent of the population"
"Legislators this year thought they had fixed a $436 million grant program intended to raise up the state's poorest school districts, but you can't convince folks in rural Calhoun County that they succeeded."
"Georgia posted the nation's highest foreclosure rate in May, with one in 300 housing units subject to a notice or repossession, data released Thursday by a real estate firm showed.
It was the first time since early 2006, when the overheated housing market had just started to cool, that the state led the nation in the rate of foreclosures."
""Hands Around the Hill started as a way to help organizations in this area which are in immediate need," said Jackie Stephenson, the nonprofit's secretary. 'All the funds that are raised through [Hands on the Hill's] various benefits go toward outreach programs that help the homeless population and neighborhoods on Capitol Hill.'"
""Education" is a word that covers a lot of very different things, from vital, lifesaving medical skills to frivolous courses to absolutely counterproductive courses that fill people with a sense of grievance and entitlement, without giving them either the skills to earn a living or a realistic understanding of the world required for a citizen in a free society."
"Fernando Alfonso and Rita Mateu sought out homeless people at Atlanta area shelters and offered them food or money in exchange for Medicare information. They hired a doctor for a clinic they ran in Woodstock, gaining access to the doctor's medical billing numbers."
“When the Georgia legislature passed a private school scholarship program in 2008, lawmakers promoted it as a way to give poor children the same education choices as the wealthy [...] That was the idea, at least. But parents meeting at Gwinnett Christian Academy got a completely different story last year.”
“In the last 10 years, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama have made huge strides in how many low-income children receive dental services. And while the states now exceed the national average, advocates say they still have room for improvement in providing preventive services and access to dental care, noting that only about half of all low-income children receive the services.”
"'At a time when postsecondary education is more important than ever, Georgia's higher education policies and priorities are putting up barriers to make it harder for black, Hispanic and poor Georgians to get a college education,' concluded a report from the University of Pennsylvania, Institute for Research on Higher Education and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education."
"In just three years, Highland had gone from the verge of a state takeover to reporting that virtually every student passed standardized reading exams. This would be impressive anywhere. Highland did it with huge proportions of students who lived in poverty and, perhaps more important, who came from homes where no one spoke English."
"But it also serves to highlight complicated links between poverty, nutrition, obesity and overall well-being. Insecurity or hunger? 'Those public service announcements come back to haunt me,' said Mark Nord, the USDA sociologist in charge of food insecurity data."
"Two Atlanta colleges have pledged to reserve spots for qualified graduates from one of the nation's largest chain of charter schools in an effort to increase the number of low-income students earning bachelor's degrees."
"Prior to welfare reform in 1996, 68 of every 100 poor families with children received cash assistance through Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). But by 2010, under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program which replaced AFDC, just 27 of every 100 poor families received benefits. "
"The legislation in question — House Bill 861 — forces welfare applicants in Georgia to submit to a drug test in order to continue receiving state benefits. According to one of its champions, state Sen. John Albers of Roswell, 'this legislation will better serve those who are in need by providing a ‘hand-up’ instead of a hand-out’."
"The minimum wage currently earned by U.S. workers is $7.25 an hour and a bill has been introduced to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.80. The recent UGA study looked at how minimum wage increases can decrease poverty in America. According to the report, they don't."
"Georgia’s proposal to drug-test parents who seek welfare faces significant questions about its constitutionality as well as challenges of how to set up the program, despite support by state lawmakers and similar efforts in other states."
"Along with Title I funds, state officials who work with other federal programs, such as those serving homeless students or migrant students, may also take the opportunity to monitor local school systems. Once the state completes its audit, it sends the report to local school systems electronically."
"The University System of Georgia experienced its smallest fall semester enrollment increase since 2005. While total enrollment set a record, fewer students enrolled at nearly a dozen colleges, especially those with a higher percentage of low-income students."
"The Supreme Court hearings this week on the federal law requiring citizens to buy health insurance have widespread implications in Georgia -- where about 2 million residents have no health insurance."
"Georgia added a fourth category, 'alert' schools, to make sure it could offer assistance to schools that, unlike those with the priority, focus or reward designation, may not receive federal Title 1 assistance given to schools with a high percentage of low-income students."
"The money came from two programs. The most came from the Childcare and Parent Services Program, known as CAPS, which has been run by the state Department of Human Services and is largely funded by a federal grant. The state sends CAPS money directly to day cares to cover expenses for children from low-income families."
"The three high schools listed are receiving School Improvement Grants from the federal government. Those grants go to low performing Title I schools. Title I schools have a high number of low income students."
"In his speech from the rostrum in the legislative chamber, Gingrich gave one example of why the U.S. government needed to shift power to the states: a bureaucratic tangle of 185 offices dealing with federal assistance to low-income Americans. 'I'd like to block-grant that into one office and send you the money and say you need to figure out how you're going to cope with helping people in Georgia who need help,' Gingrich told the lawmakers, who responded with a round of applause."
"Back on My Feet came to Atlanta in November in hopes of improving the lives of Atlanta's homeless population through running. There are three teams of 15 from Trinity House-Big Bethel, the Gateway Center and the Salvation Army."
"According to the most recent Kids Count survey data, 14,121 children in Muscogee County live in poverty. That number is 29.6 percent of all children in living in the county. More than one in four of our children live in poverty. That’s an alarming statistic."
"A reduction in Georgia's income tax would require a greater reliance on sales taxes, which have a greater impact on the poor. But as the tax reform council recommended, targeted tax credits can be designed to offset negative impacts on low-income families."
"The drug-test mandate of Senate Bill 292 would be for anyone applying for Medicaid or for the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. TANF provides temporary financial help to low-income families with children. The federal government gives grants to states to run the program. Medicaid is a federal-state program that provides medical care to low-income families."
"Fulton County is opening a shelter for homeless women with children, which homeless advocates say is long overdue.
Known as Springdale Place, and located on Springdale Road near East Point, the shelter has already opened to a small number of homeless women and children, and will eventually provide 145 beds. That will amount to about a 25 percent increase in the number of beds available for mothers and kids in Fulton and DeKalb counties."
"Midtown boosters, downtown power brokers and Atlanta city officials are close to winning a decade-long battle to close a massive homeless shelter that for 15 years has served as a refuge of last resort for people on the streets."
"She opens her new book by debunking the notion that low-income black children are born at a disadvantage, noting that there is no achievement gap at birth and that black infants lead in many developmental benchmarks."
"Georgia’s foster children are being over-medicated, often to sedate them or control their behavior rather than treat a medical condition, a new study confirms."
"'You combine those two things, as well as the poverty rates and the lack of education you sometimes get down here, and it's just a disaster,' said Kathie Hiers, CEO of AIDS Alabama and a member of the steering committee for the initiative, which goes by the initials SASI."
"Karpf runs the SaltLight Center, the first emergency homeless shelter in recent times for women and children in Gwinnett County. The shelter opened in Lawrenceville in November and can host as many people as there are beds, each for up to three nights."
"For a fourth-grader, Sean's work with the homeless is a bit uncommon. It's not every day that you see 10-year-olds, in the company of adult volunteers, handing out pizzas and snacks to the homeless in downtown Atlanta."
"But many economists argue that unemployment benefits translate into federal dollars well-spent. Richie and national labor experts say benefits forestall poverty, stimulate the economy and keep people on the job."
"'Especially in tight budget times, we have to set priorities, and Pell grants to help low-income students pay for college are a priority for me,' said U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. 'But the growth of Pell grants by 76 percent over the last decade obviously can't continue at a time when Washington is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends.'"
"The Columbus Scholars Project is a non-endowed designated fund of the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley. It is a long-term poverty reduction program for need-based students with a goal of providing hope through education and support for character development."
"She snatches the pencil with a little brown hand. At Head Start, a federally funded preschool program for low-income children, Rosa is learning basics: counting, colors, how to share toys. But over time, the two years the little girl and her classmates will spend playing educational games under the supervision of certified child development experts could help her break the cycle of poverty."
"Initially, the regional commission proposed a 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness, defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development as an individual with a disability who has been homeless for a year or more."
"About 90 percent of Atlanta Metro's students receive Pell Grants, a federal program for low-income students, said Alicia Scott, director of financial aid. Students told Scott they'd have to leave school if they didn't get additional aid or a loan."
"The 1996 Welfare Reform Act authorized — but did not require — states to impose mandatory drug testing as a prerequisite to receiving state welfare assistance. In Florida and Michigan, the only two states where drug testing for welfare recipients has been tried, the courts have found that suspicionless searches of people — simply because they are requesting assistance from the state — are a violation of their Fourth Amendment rights."
"Health care reform expands Medicaid in 2014 to give coverage to people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. This change could be costly, so some states want to drop some federal requirements to ease their budget troubles."
"The Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness said Tuesday there recently have been people diagnosed with drug-resistant, active infectious tuberculosis at the homeless shelter at Peachtree and Pine streets."
"'In the face of really difficult challenges, which in their case is high poverty in their system, they’ve been able to dramatically increase student achievement,' Barge said of Shirley Hills. 'It really drives home that there are no excuses.'"
"It's a shocking development. Not only do low-income students typically fare worse than the average on such exams, but also the gap between Georgia students and low-income Florida students was still large nine years ago."
"The number of people living in extreme poverty rose in the last decade, although metro Atlanta bucked that trend, liberal think tank Brookings Institution reported Thursday."
"Over the past decade, the massive homeless shelter at Peachtree and Pine streets has been a target of critics who complain it merely warehouses the destitute and creates an unsafe environment in its Midtown neighborhood."
"In Georgia, from 2008 to 2010, the poverty rate was higher among single women raising children than among the unemployed --- 39 percent vs. 31 percent --- according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of census estimates released Thursday."
"Two hundred seventy-seven low-income Georgians with HIV/AIDS will gain access to necessary drugs through a government program infused with $3 million in federal dollars to alleviate the program's wait list."
"This wasn't the first time the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless faced eviction from the sprawling former auto parts warehouse on Peachtree and Pine streets near downtown."
"America's five-decade war on poverty has made quite clear which social ill is most closely tied to child poverty. Yet, we haven't taken the first shot at it. Fortunately, some Georgians are finally ready to take the fight where it needs to go."
"A coalition of churches, nonprofits and community organizations is launching a massive blanket drive and signature campaign to put the spotlight on the challenges faced by the homeless, particularly during colder weather."
"Georgia officials are hoping for a $70 million federal cash prize aimed at improving school readiness for the state's 825,000 youngest children, especially the 54 percent identified as low income."
"We're hoping that the city starts dealing with the wealth disparity, the joblessness, the double-digit unemployment, the home foreclosures and the homelessness."
"Just how much of an impact the new laws will have is a matter of some dispute. Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who held a hearing on the new laws last month, said they 'will make it harder for millions of disabled, young, minority, rural, elderly, homeless and low-income Americans to vote.'"
"Inside the auditorium, a cross-section of mostly low-wage service and public sector industries said they were hiring. Although the men and women dressed smartly, few corporate jobs were posted."
"'We have 1.7 million Georgians in poverty and a majority of them are children, so we shouldn't be taking steps to add to that amount,' said Richie, who'll release an unemployment fund solvency plan today. 'Georgia unemployment benefits are already too low to be touched.'"
"Both are part of a growing group of Georgia teachers who don't have education degrees nor traditional teaching backgrounds but are now staffing some of the state's most poverty challenged schools."
"Ingle said teachers have started tying incentives to attendance, such as free ice cream once a month for those with perfect attendance. But the school also has gotten tougher on those who are absent. Physical education teachers are tasked with calling parents when students first start to show a pattern of absences."
"Last week, it was reported that Georgia had the third-highest poverty rate in the country at 18.7 percent, with more than 1.8 million people counted as poor. As families struggle, agencies like the Lawrenceville ministry feel strained, too."
"Georgia's poverty rate reached its highest point since 1983 last year, according to Census Bureau figures, as stubbornly high unemployment and the housing bust strained finances."
"She admits: 'I am endlessly frightened that I still can't get to a place where my budget balances, so that I can set aside even a small amount toward my retirement.' But she counts herself fortunate. 'I am so grateful to have my two jobs because without them I may be homeless,' she said."
"A list of states and the federal enclave compiled by the Con Agra Foods Foundation and reprinted recently in The New York Times reveals that in the District 32.3 percent, or 36,870 boys and girls, face food deprivation. The District is followed closely by Oregon with 29.2 percent, or 252,510 children, and Arizona and Arkansas with 28.8 percent and 28.6 percent, respectively."
"The number of Georgia kids living in poverty climbed to nearly 570,000 in recent years with the state ranking among the worst for overall child well-being, a new study shows."