“President Barack Obama urges Congress to raise the county’s current minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 and up pop economists, chambers of commerce, restaurant associations and labor unions, each referring to various studies of varying conclusions.”
“The killings exposed some of the profound social ills — alcoholism, abject poverty, neglect — that have long plagued New Mexico, a place best known for its stunning landscape. Since 1997, the state has led the nation in the number of alcohol-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is a large homeless population and, in a strange twist, a man named Victor Prieto, who identified himself as the father of the two boys, told KOB-TV in Albuquerque that he and the boys had been homeless at one point.”
“The brutality of the killings on two homeless men shocked residents of New Mexico's most populous city, but homeless people and advocates for homeless services say violence is commonplace for those who live on the street.”
“Violence isn’t news to those who live in the streets, said Anita Córdova, director of development and planning for Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless.”
“There’s a well-traveled path around Downtown Albuquerque that daily sees an estimated 1,170 to 2,800 homeless men, women and children trudge, with small variations, from meal site to methadone/health clinic to showers to meal site to social service providers to meal site to panhandling corner to meal site to liquor store to blanket on the sidewalk or under a bridge.”
“In the month since a federal judge ordered the New Mexico Department of Human Services to immediately process thousands of backlogged applications for food and medical benefits, the waiting list has grown, according to court documents.”
“Dissatisfied with the City Council’s recent bump to the minimum wage, an advocacy group in New Mexico’s second-largest city is pushing for a public vote on a bigger wage increase.”
“One idea mentioned in the tourism transition team’s report to Mayor Javier Gonzales was the recommendation that Santa Fe consider “donation stations” as a way to discourage panhandling, while at the same time, get help to people who need it. The idea has been pioneered in cities such as Denver and San Diego. It’s one worth trying in Santa Fe.”
“Marisa Garrett couldn’t have been happier that the Bernalillo County Commission on Tuesday unanimously voted to allocate $1.1 million for a supportive housing program to help mentally ill homeless people just released from jail. The program will initially provide housing for 75 people caught in the vicious cycle of mental illness, homelessness and incarceration.”
“Providing stable, long-term housing for the most medically vulnerable among the city’s chronically homeless improves their overall health and lessens their reliance on social services, ultimately saving the city money.”
“Census records show that more than 20 percent of New Mexico residents live in poverty and the state often is at the bottom on various poverty indicators. Officials say the conference at the UNM Continuing Education building will focus on helping 400 nonprofits and agencies tackle poverty issues.”
“This summer, however, her school also is one of about 20 sites within the city that will offer free meals to students through Santa Fe Public Schools’ Summer Food Service Program.”
“A group that advocates for New Mexico’s poor says the state Human Services Department has been slow to process applications for food benefits and health care, leaving many people to languish in hunger in violation of a 15-year-old legal agreement.”
“Sen. Tom Udall pushed for a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour in a speech on the Senate floor. Earlier this month, his colleague Sen. Martin Heinrich supported the increased minimum wage that President Barack Obama called for in a State of the Union speech.”
“In New Mexico, food stamps went electronic around 1998. Before then, they weren't exactly ‘stamps’ so much as pieces of paper about the size of a personal check.”
“About 103,000 low-income New Mexicans have enrolled in Medicaid since the state expanded who qualifies for the health care program, according to the latest figures from Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration.”
“The Santa Fe County Commission will consider establishing its own ‘living wage’ in unincorporated parts of the county.”
“Are we really hungry? Our state's human services secretary, Sidonie Squier, in a discussion by email, denied that New Mexico has a problem with hunger.”
“New Mexico launched an online marketplace for health insurance that enrolled 170 business customers on Tuesday, but individuals struggled with problems trying to use a federal exchange, according to state officials and health care advocates.”
“More than eight months after Gov. Susana Martinez announced New Mexico would expand its Medicaid coverage to an estimated 170,000 adults by 2020, her administration says it's ready for the wave of new enrollees.”
“New Mexico has backpedaled since 2000 on a problem that’s long plagued the state — poverty.”
“A New Mexico family can take in roughly $30,435 annually from various state and federal anti-poverty programs, according to a study conducted by a libertarian think tank.”
“While 25,000 severely sick New Mexicans on Medicaid make up just 5 percent of the state's 500,000 Medicaid patients, their bills make up more than half of the state's $4 billion in Medicaid costs, according to UNM's Dr. Sanjeev Arora. Now, the University of New Mexico is launching a team approach to target 2,500 of these Medicaid patients who land in the hospital again and again, sending the public's medical bill through the roof.”
“The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded three New Mexico organizations more than $1.9 million to help end homelessness among low-income veterans and their families.”
“For 24 years, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has put out an annual report measuring overall child well-being based on 16 indicators. New Mexico has never fared well in the report, but the 48th-place and 49th-place rankings we've grown accustomed to have not been enough to shake our leaders from their lethargy.”
“Thompson and other Stage Coach residents gathered with local dignitaries and community advocates on Tuesday to celebrate the completion of the 60-unit complex, built by The Housing Trust for low- and moderate-income and homeless people, including those with special needs.”
“New Mexico is dead last in child well-being, according to the 2013 Kids Count report, taking the spot held by Mississippi since 1990. Kids Count, released annually by the nonprofit Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranks the states on 16 indicators of child well-being, including economic well-being, education and health.”
“Congress is currently debating the Farm Bill, and the results will have an enormous impact on New Mexicans and our economy. This is because the new Farm Bill is likely to slash funding for food assistance for low-income people.”
“New Mexico is the most food-insecure state for youths in the nation, according to a report by Feeding America, a hunger relief charity and network of more than 200 food banks in the nation. Arizona ranked third for childhood hunger, with Nevada at eighth place, Texas at ninth and California at twelfth.”
“The Food Research and Action Center states in its School Breakfast Scorecard: 2011-2012 School Year, that increasing participation in the School Breakfast Program, and extending these benefits to all low-income children, can contribute significantly to improving health and learning outcomes.”
“It is time for us as a society to raise the minimum wage because it's the right thing to do. Our state has way too many working-poor families. Forty-four percent of our families are categorized as low income the highest in the nation! We should all agree that something has to change and we can improve our dismal ranking on that list.”
“After two years, the city of Albuquerque's ‘Heading Home’ initiative to provide housing for the most vulnerable homeless people is ‘working,’ said Mayor Richard Berry. At a news conference Wednesday, Berry and others unveiled the results of a survey conducted two weeks ago of homeless people on the streets, in shelters and at dropin centers.”
“The House has unanimously approved a measure to prohibit welfare recipients from using their electronic benefit cards to make purchases or cash withdrawals at liquor stores, bars, casinos, strip clubs and other adult entertainment businesses.”
“Unsurprisingly, this dismal failure in educational achievement across the state correlates to last week’s news that Medicaid funded 70 percent of births in New Mexico. By failing to provide our children with a quality education, our residents are stuck in a cycle of poverty, unable to break out.”
“The businesspeople asking for an answer to this state of affairs need only look in the mirror for the solution. The cure to poverty is jobs. As businesspeople are fond of saying, it is business, not government, that creates jobs. So where are the jobs that the state's businesses are supposed to be creating?”
“The question we need to be asking, and the question the foundation's rankings help us answer, is: What do we have to do to improve health in New Mexico above the national norm? The data show New Mexico needs to reduce violent crime and childhood poverty. We need more high school graduates. We need to improve healthy behavior and clinical care among Hispanics, blacks and Indians.”
“Of the 27,795 babies born in New Mexico in 2010, 19,863 births - or 71 percent - were paid for by the state and federally funded health insurance program for the poor, according to a recent analysis by the state Legislative Finance Committee.”
“New Mexico served a higher ratio of low-income children breakfast at school in 2011-2012 than any other state in the nation. Much of the credit can go to the Breakfast After the Bell legislation passed in 2011 and signed into law by Gov. Susana Martinez. It mandates that elementary schools with 85 percent or more students qualifying for free/ reduced-price lunch give free breakfast to all students once class starts.”
“With a little help from the community and Engineers Without Borders, Camp Hope will continue to be a place where the homeless in Las Cruces can seek refuge, assistance and a path to being rehoused, reducing the number of homeless one case at a time.”
“New Mexico ranked No. 1 for feeding low-income children breakfast at school, according to a new report. It is the first time the rankings have come out since the state's ‘Breakfast After the Bell’ law took effect, which requires high poverty elementary schools to serve breakfast in the first minutes of class.”
“Expanding Medicaid is the only optional part of federal health-care reform upheld by the nation's top court in June. The decision whether New Mexico will allow adults like Montoya to get Medicaid is in the hands of Gov. Susana Martinez. Medicaid expansion is designed for adults without dependent children who earn between 85 and 138 percent of federal poverty level, which is about $9,500 to around $15,000 a year for one person. As of December, nine states have rejected Medicaid expansion.”
“While New Mexico has a strong high-tech sector that provides good-paying jobs for many, the gap in our state is driven more by the growing numbers of those at the bottom of the scale than at the top. Census figures last month showed New Mexico with a higher percentage of people living in poverty than any state in the nation.”
“New Mexico has the second-worst poverty rate in the nation, according to an On Numbers report using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. According to 2011 data, in the Land of Enchantment the percentage of families living below the poverty level is 16.60 percent. Individuals living below the poverty level sits at 21.50 percent.”
“Poverty at 25.6 percent for those under 18 The number of Lincoln County residents living below the poverty line over the past three years was estimated to be 2,584, or 12.8 percent of the county's population.”
“Funding in southern New Mexico will support programs for teenagers and homeless individuals, and create a team of promotoras to distribute information about health, legal and social services. Promotoras are community members who receive training to provide basic health education.”
“Residents and business people in the Santa Barbara/ Martineztown neighborhood near Downtown Albuquerque say they've been blindsided by a new $60 million, 300-unit affordable housing project, and by ‘down-zoning’ proposals in a new sector development plan.”
“The conference, held by the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, brings together more than 900 individuals who work with homeless children in schools, shelters and community agencies. An estimated 6,000 APS students don't have homes.”
“Regardless of the federal income tax bite, or lack of bite, Marr said, the 47 percent "pays a lot of taxes." The effective tax rate of payroll taxes among the working poor is four times the rate paid by the wealthy. Gasoline taxes hit janitors harder than executives. Forcing all Americans to pay federal income taxes would put 8 million more people into poverty because the earned income tax credit would go away, Marr said.”
“Gov. Martinez is facing one of the most important choices in the history of our state whether to take the ‘Medicaid Opportunity,’ the chance to extend health-care coverage to 170,000 of New Mexico's uninsured. If she says yes, her decision will reduce poverty and change the economic landscape in New Mexico. If she says no, it will leave tens of thousands of us uninsured and without access to health care.”
“At Anthony Elementary, almost all of the 420 students come from low-income families. Almost all entered the K-6 school speaking Spanish as their first language. And apparently someone forgot to tell them, their parents and their teachers at the schoolhouse door that poverty and having English as your second language are insurmountable roadblocks to learning absent huge new injections of taxpayer cash - which carry no guarantee of positive results.”
“Expanding New Mexico's Medicaid program to cover an additional 170,000 low-income individuals would generate more money for the state in tax revenue through 2019 - primarily through growth in the health care sector - than it would cost in new expenditures, according to a legislative analysis released Thursday.”
“Salt River Project's board of directors on Thursday approved a 3.9 percent rate increase for all users as the utility looks to increase maintenance, efforts with renewables and meet federal mandates. The hike came with money going to a nonprofit program as a way to help low-income customers get help with utility bills in the future.”
“Because 80 percent or more of the students at the schools are on free or reduced lunches, they qualified for Provision 2, a federal program that pays for student nutrition in low-income areas. The schools each also qualified for a $250,000 in 21st Century Learning Center Grant.”
“Gov. Susana Martinez on Tuesday emphasized the value of the government support services in response to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's remarks criticizing ‘47 percent’ of voters as overly dependent on government. Martinez, who was asked to speak on behalf of Romney at the Republican National Convention last month, added that low-income voters in New Mexico should not be written off by Romney's campaign. ‘We have a lot of people that are at the poverty level in New Mexico, but they count just as much as anybody else,’ Martinez said.”
“Under the state's new accountability system, New Mexico schools with higher levels of poverty still generally received lower grades than their more affluent counterparts. That's true despite the state Public Education Department's efforts to control for the effects of poverty. State public education chief Hannah Skandera acknowledged a relationship between poverty and school grades, but she pointed to exceptions and stood by the system as a fair way to grade schools.”
“A majority of New Mexico voters support expansion of the state's Medicaid rolls to insure an additional 170,000 low-income residents, a Journal Poll found. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration has not said whether it plans to participate and increase the Medicaid rolls in New Mexico, which has one of the nation's highest uninsured rates for health care.”
“In Third Judicial District Court, most people who represent themselves in domestic or civil cases, such as foreclosure and debt collection cases, are low-income. Several only speak Spanish. Only 1 or 2 percent of pro se litigants who file cases will later hire a lawyer, Schwebel said. In 2011, 26 percent of pro se litigants who filed domestic-matter cases in Third Judicial District Court received a waiver from having to pay the court's filing fees because they were low-income. Almost 94 percent of people who attend the monthly pro se clinics qualify for New Mexico Legal Aid, a civil legal advocacy organization that provides legal services to the poor.”
“On Tuesday, at The Barrett Foundation, a shelter and support network for homeless women and children, about 15 kids shared their hopes and dreams through a program called ‘Pictures of Hope.’ Photojournalist Linda Solomon, who started the national project, was in Albuquerque to teach them how to capture photos of those hopes.”
“Some of New Mexico's Indian tribes have been among the most vehement critics of a state proposal to overhaul Medicaid, the $3.9 billion program that finances health care for low-income children and disabled and elderly people. They argue the state would interfere with federal compacts the tribes have signed, would cost tribal health systems money, and would degrade care.”
“Medicaid, a joint federal-state program, covers 560,000 New Mexico residents at a cost of $850 million to the state's $5.6 billion general fund budget. Expansion would add another 150,000 low-income adults to the program at an additional cost of $320 million to $496 million over the next 10 years, according to the New Mexico Human Services Department. Opponents of the expansion say the state can't afford that extra money, and relying on federal entitlement programs for economic development is wrong. Proponents say the state could receive up to $6 billion in new federal money as a result of that increased spending - a good return on investment.”
“Accepting billions of federal dollars beginning in 2014 to extend Medicaid benefits to low-income adults could generate as many as 10,000 new jobs a year in New Mexico, a University of New Mexico economist told the Economic Forum on Wednesday.”
“For the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Las Cruces, it doesn't matter if you're Catholic or not; they are there to help whenever a family needs it. ‘Our mission is to alleviate poverty as best we can,’ said Tom Baca, executive director of nonprofit organization. ‘Even if that means one person at a time.’”
“Albuquerque Public Schools will cover the full cost of breakfast and lunch this year for about 7,000 low-income students who normally pay a discounted price for meals.”
“A program that extends the school year for low-income students is getting positive results, and researchers say it could be a cost-effective alternative to mandatory retention policies advocated by Gov. Susana Martinez.”
"The agreement came after a $3.47 million federal five-year grant aimed at increasing the number of students in STEM fields, including Hispanic and low-income students. The schools received the award in October 2011, and have been practicing some form of the initiative since 2008, when they signed a memorandum of understanding that called for a closer working relationship."
"Griego repeatedly blasted centrist Democrats during his campaign. He emphasized his support for low-income families and at one point said government-subsidized Medicare programs should be expanded to include everyone instead of only seniors."
"The state Human Services Department - after persistent criticism from some stakeholders - has asked the federal government to delay consideration of its April 25 application to change New Mexico's $3.9 billion Medicaid program."
"Sunland Park's population of 14,000 is poor and marginalized; 47 percent of residents live below the poverty line, including 63 percent of children. Per-capita annual income is only $9,700, less than half the New Mexico average. Only half of adults aged 25 or older are high-school graduates; 42 percent of residents report that they don't speak English well."
"Most of the locations are in unincorporated parts of Bernalillo County, including the South Valley, North Valley and East Mountains. The locations were chosen based on the number of low-income children in each area."
"Mariana is one of too many young people in Santa Fe for whom education takes a back seat to simple survival. In her case, a low-income background and teen pregnancy make it all but impossible for her to concentrate on English, math and other skills used to rank district schools."
"Clearly, there is a correlation between the district's poor academic showing overall and the economic situation of most of its students. At the same time, poverty doesn't entirely explain why New Mexico's Public Education Department gave Santa Fe Public Schools a preliminary grade of a C -- and a number of its schools D's and F's -- and the district's high school graduation rate is at 56.5 percent."
"Advocates for Albuquerque's homeless decided one agency should have the money and requested that most of it go to Catholic Charities. 'We thought if it's one agency, it centralizes the help that's available,' Huval said."
"An $8.5 million federal grant will test a plan developed by University of New Mexico physicians to cut Medicaid costs by providing better care for the program's sickest and costliest patients."
"Reedy said the budget for the entire project is between $200,000 and $250,000, which will come from Title I funds - a federal funding stream earmarked for the education of low-income students. She said it will not affect the budgets of other low-income schools."
"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."
"New Mexico expects to pay $870 million in state funds and almost $3 billion in federal funds this fiscal year to support Medicaid, which finances health care for 560,000 people, primarily low-income children, the elderly and disabled adults."
While many educators and many governors celebrated, congressional Republicans accused Obama of executive overreach, and education and civil-rights groups questioned if schools would be getting a pass on aggressively helping poor and minority children -- the kids the 2002 law was primarily designed to help."
"The Foundation for Child Development’s new report on state-level differences in the Index of Child Well-Being – a broad quality-of-life indicator based on 25 indicators – shows enormous variation, as does another set of indicators known as Kids Count, developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation."
"Fish says the county has attempted for nearly two years to work with Olson, allowing her all this time to either move or build a house, put in a mobile home, something with an approved water supply and wastewater system that meets zoning codes. 'Our goal,' he says, 'is compliance, not fines or jail, which is rare.'"
But how do you build a home when you are homeless?"
"The $50 million commitment by UnitedHealth Group will support efforts to strengthen the local community-based organizations that create affordable housing with a focus on serving low-income families, households with special needs and the growing population of aging adults."
"Carlsbad City Councilors will consider a request for an emergency homeless shelter on Second Street at their regular meeting on Tuesday."
"Albuquerque's Joy Junction, the state's largest emergency homeless shelter, and El Caldito Soup Kitchen in Las Cruces both said their food supplies are experiencing serious strains due to the region's troubled economy and the extra meals that are being requested."
"The number of New Mexicans living in poverty rose to more than 20 percent in 2010, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data, giving the state the second highest poverty rate in the nation. The rate increased 2.4 percent from the 2009 rate of 18 percent, according to the 2010 Census American Community Survey. The survey said 413,851 people were living below the poverty threshold, which it defined as $22,314 for a family of four. That is an increase of more than 60,000 people"
"The Albuquerque program that aims to house chronically homeless people got a big boost this week when it was awarded a $1.5 million federal grant. The Albuquerque Heading Home Project, founded by Mayor Richard J. Berry in February, targets the 75 most at-risk homeless people and finds them help with housing."
"Scharmen has mapped the rise in obesity in Albuquerque Public School children, showing, as is true in other parts of the country, schools serving impoverished children have the highest rates of obesity in Albuquerque."