“You can't serve the public without public employees. That's the reality confirmed in a report by the Service Employees International Union on caseworker understaffing at the Department of Public Welfare.”
“Arguments against increasing the minimum wage are almost as stagnant as the wages of Pennsylvania workers.”
“A new federal estimate of homelessness finds a decline since 2010, but Lehigh Valley figures show an opposite trend.”
“Those events can easily distract us from the bigger picture. Today, 1.2 million Pennsylvanians are uninsured. The Affordable Care Act seeks to cut these numbers by about half. In Pennsylvania, the primary delivery system for insuring the state’s working poor is the HealthChoices Medicaid program, a public-private partnership. A national success story, HealthChoices provides accessible, high quality care and controls cost, saving taxpayers billions of dollars since its inception.”
“The number of children living in poverty in Delaware County increased by 30 percent between 2008 and 2012, according to a new report.”
“It's one of those puzzles of poverty with health impacts on children. Three recent studies add to mounting evidence that poverty can exact a lasting toll on a child's mental and physical well-being, with stress representing a key pathway.”
“A bipartisan pair of lawmakers is calling on the state Legislature to get a better handle on homelessness in Pennsylvania and identify solutions to reduce emergency housing needs.”
“More than a half-million low-income, uninsured Pennsylvanians stand to gain access to affordable health coverage, many for the first time. They include hard-working people who do not receive health coverage through their jobs, who lost their jobs due to tough economic times or who have been diagnosed with a serious illness such as cancer that prevents them from working full time.”
“Poverty is growing at a faster rate in the suburbs than in the cities, and the Pittsburgh area is ahead of the curve -- but not in a good way.”
“Food stamp distribution in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton metro area exploded by 75 percent between 2007 and 2012.”
“In every emergency room in every hospital in Philadelphia, doctors treat ailing homeless men and women, and then send them back into the streets a few hours later because they aren't sick enough to keep in the hospital.”
“Having less to eat has become a new reality for 47 million Americans. A participating family of four will have 21 fewer meals because Congress unconscionably allowed a $5 billion cut to the federal food stamp program to go into effect at the beginning of this month.”
“U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is asking Gov. Tom Corbett to embrace an expansion of Medicaid to ensure that federally funded health insurance is available to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania's working poor when it becomes available next year.”
“The problem is painfully clear: Philadelphia, with more than one in four residents in poverty, is the poorest of the nation's big cities, and has been for a long time. The solution? Impossibly complex.”
“Food banks are bracing for an influx of cash-strapped residents as the federal government reduces food stamp benefits for more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians and considers deeper cuts.”
“The Allegheny County Department of Human Services ran its first ‘poverty simulator’ program Wednesday for more than 80 employees of Gateway Health.”
“The cuts — which will trim about $5 billion from the food stamp program over the coming year — mark the end of a benefit that was part of the 2009 economic stimulus legislation enacted during the Great Recession.”
“With the federal website still on the fritz after four weeks, people here seeking the affordable insurance promised by Obamacare are doing what they can on their own. Some are finding policies on insurers' websites, or estimating subsidies using independent calculators. Others are going as far as they can in the sign-up process at Healthcare.gov, hoping they can return to finish choosing coverage later.”
“A record number of public school students have become homeless in Pennsylvania and the nation, putting more than 1.1 million children at increased risk of falling behind, dropping out and ultimately joining either the criminal justice system or the welfare system, according to education officials and advocates for the homeless.”
“The president of the group representing Pennsylvania's hospitals said those institutions will continue to pay out roughly $1 billion in uncompensated care if the state does not move to expand Medicaid coverage next year.”
“State officials are signaling they could repeal or revise a controversial asset test for food stamp recipients -- a measure instituted last year that barred thousands of families from receiving assistance, despite their low incomes.”
“The head of the lobbying group representing Pennsylvania hospitals reiterated his call Monday for all Pennsylvanians to have health coverage, and said Gov. Tom Corbett's proposal to provide insurance subsidies for low-income residents is an avenue to that goal.”
“Deep poverty appears to be accelerating in Delaware and Camden Counties, as the poorest of the poor scramble for rent, heat, and food.”
The Times-Tribune, October 25, 2013: The Poor Can’t Escape Tobacco’s Grip
“The poor are more likely to smoke than those above the poverty line. In Philadelphia, there's a 50 percent higher prevalence of smoking among the poor than among those who aren't, according to Dr. Giridhar Mallya, director of policy and planning for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.”
“Gov. Corbett said Wednesday he would take into consideration the state public welfare secretary's announcement that she was ‘rethinking’ the food-stamp asset test, a measure that links federal benefits people receive to their bank accounts and car ownership.”
“A Corbett administration official said she is ’rethinking’ the food-stamp asset test, a controversial measure that ties the federal benefits people receive to their bank accounts and car ownership.”
“Gov. Corbett has refused to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania, despite the fact that it would provide health care coverage for more than a half-million uninsured, working Pennsylvanians and despite the fact that it would bring an infusion of tens of billions of federal dollars into our state and local economies.”
“An alarming number of women older than the age of 65 joined the ranks of the extreme poor last year, according to a new report by the National Women's Law Center titled ‘Insecure & Unequal,’ which analyzed recently released data from the Census Bureau.”
“The proposal is part of Gov. Tom Corbett's Healthy PA proposal, a package of initiatives that aim to overhaul the state's Medicaid program and also provide subsidies to low-income consumers to allow them to purchase private insurance.”
“The poor are more likely to smoke than those above the poverty line. In Philadelphia, there's a 50 percent higher prevalence of smoking among the poor than among the non-poor, according to Giridhar Mallya, director of policy and planning for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.”
“What is a ‘living wage?’ One thing it isn't is the minimum wage. Pennsylvania's minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. MIT's living wage calculator estimates a man such as the one I was portraying in the poverty simulation would need $16.31 in Lackawanna or Luzerne County to make a ‘living wage.’”
“But like many American elderly, Jones is now struggling without a paycheck. Her tiny pension and Social Security income can't save her from a crushing poverty that could soon have her living on the streets.”
“Steps to create jobs should include investing in the state's transportation infrastructure, raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid and resisting budget cuts, union leaders told Democratic legislators on Wednesday.”
“When Tabor Community Services was picked to coordinate Lancaster County's homelessness program this year, its officials figured on serving 150 to 200 people facing homelessness a month. Instead, the nonprofit housing and financial counseling organization had 483 referrals in September, its first month on the task.”
“Thousands of airport employees work for poverty wages: $7.25 an hour with no benefits. Despite the fact that the airport is a major economic engine that generates more than $14.4 billion in spending. But thanks to City Council’s recent unanimous decision to place a ‘living wage’ referendum on the Spring 2014 ballot, that may change.”
“With new census figures showing low- and middle-income workers continue to lose ground, lawmakers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are taking steps to boost the lowest wages.”
“The Department of Public Welfare is examining the federal money that flows to food stamps, cash welfare payments and heating assistance, as well as to social services focused on mental health, intellectual disabilities, homelessness, domestic violence and rape, according to spokeswoman Carey Miller. Medicaid will not be affected, she said.”
“For 30 years, a government nutrition program has helped keep infants alive while enjoying a status that placed it above politics, supported by the left and right. Now, that could be changing, as the federal shutdown threatens funding for WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.”
“Much of the discussion about Gov. Tom Corbett's ‘Healthy Pennsylvania’ proposal has missed the mark.”
“In pockets of Philadelphia beset by poverty and unemployment, Willis is part of a vast entrepreneurial underground that has gained strength since the 2008 economic downturn, according to agriculture and food-insecurity experts.”
“In Chester, a city where hard times often plow under shiny promises, a hunger-relief agency's pledge to build America's first nonprofit supermarket was greeted skeptically at first. But Philabundance may be confounding local doubters.”
“Following the lead of two other states, Gov. Tom Corbett has come up with a plan to extend health care coverage to 500,000 low-income Pennsylvanians without calling it Obamacare. But in fact, the Corbett proposal — channeling federal Medicaid expansion funds through private insurers, without enlarging the Medicaid rolls — is a close imitation of the basic premise of the Affordable Care Act.”
“Financial assistance is on the way to help some low-income people save on health-care expenses in many states, but how many of Pennsylvania's poor get assistance depends on whether the federal government accepts a plan Gov. Tom Corbett will unveil this week.”
“The Corbett administration seems to have figured out how to deprive Pennsylvania's neediest families of welfare benefits by throwing an utterly ridiculous and duplicative barrier in their paths.”
“New U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Thursday showed deepening poverty across Northeast Pennsylvania, particularly among children. In Scranton, more than one of every three children - a whopping 33.5 percent - lived in poverty in 2012.”
“The poverty rate in Philadelphia fell last year while the need for food stamps grew, a seeming paradox teased out by the widely respected American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census.”
“If Gov. Tom Corbett has his way, 520,000 low-income Pennsylvanians will become eligible for subsidies to help them buy health insurance. That's good news for those uninsured people, but the picture is not as clear for the 2 million individuals who already are receiving Medicaid, the publicly funded program that covers the poor, disabled and elderly.”
“According to Census Bureau estimates released this week from the American Community Survey data, the poverty rate in Lancaster County climbed from 10.9 percent in 2011 to 11.8 percent in 2012. Of those living in poverty here last year, 17.5 percent were children, up from 12.6 percent in 2008.”
“Pennsylvania became the 26th state to announce it would expand Medicaid Monday, marking the first time a majority of states have agreed to get on board.”
“The state of Pennsylvania has denied as many as eight of every 10 applications for cash welfare in 2013, a major increase over previous years, an Inquirer review of Department of Public Welfare figures shows.”
“Gov. Tom Corbett's administration announced Monday a plan to overhaul the state's Medicaid program by curtailing the number of benefit plans available, implementing monthly premiums on a sliding scale, and instituting a work-search requirement for unemployed working-age adults -- but, notably, the governor is not expanding the program under the Affordable Care Act.”
“Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett will become the 10th Republican governor to support bringing federal Medicaid expansion dollars to their state in a bid to extend health insurance to hundreds of thousands of working poor.”
“Republican legislative sources say a straightforward expansion of the health care program is not being considered, and a hybrid model that would give a subsidy to low-income consumers to buy private insurance is likely, similar to what has been proposed in Arkansas.”
“For low-income parents like Rodriguez, a 34-year-old married homemaker in Warminster, it's sometimes easier to get food than diapers, which can cost as much as $100 a month for one child.”
“Gov. Corbett is considering an expansion of Medicaid to cover hundreds of thousands of uninsured residents if he can also win significant changes to the existing part of the entitlement program, which otherwise would continue in its current form.”
“A signal that the Corbett administration may be softening its position on Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction of helping low-income working Pennsylvanians.”
“For months, debate in Harrisburg has focused on whether to expand the state's Medicaid program. But the discussion has shifted in recent weeks, away from the yes/no debate and toward talks about what such an expansion would look like as part of a broader set of changes to the existing Medicaid program, which provides health care coverage to about 1 in 6 low-income and disabled Pennsylvanians.”
“Nearly half of American babies, and a third of those born in Pennsylvania, are born to mothers receiving Medicaid benefits, according to a study issued this week.”
“A cooperative program between the Butler VA Hospital homeless program and Housing and Urban Development helps find homeless veterans a place to live. HUD/VASH — Veterans Administration Supportive Housing — provides permanent housing. The VA oversees programs in a five-county area, which includes Lawrence, Butler, Mercer, Armstrong and Clarion.”
“Pittsburghers were eating Big Macs on Thursday even as McDonald's restaurants in other parts of the country were struck by workers demanding higher wages.”
“Food bank and anti-hunger advocates peppered state legislators with ideas about how to fight poverty at a meeting at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank on Wednesday.”
“Pennsylvania dropped more than 9 percent of children, families, and pregnant women from Medicaid last year, nearly triple the rate of any other state, according to a new national report.”
“Invariably in mid- to late August, homeless women and their children who have been living in the houses of friends or relatives - or in some cases on the street - seek spots in the 11 city shelters that accommodate families so the children can have a stable place while they attend school, experts on homelessness say.”
“UPMC may be the state's largest employer with more than 50,000 people on staff locally, but the low wages that many of its service workers earn are eroding Pittsburgh's middle class, according to a white paper scheduled for release today by Pittsburgh United, a long-standing critic of UPMC's administration and supporter of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania's ongoing effort to unionize the health system's non-clinical staff.”
“UPMC’s wages for service workers are 8 percent to 30 percent lower than what’s needed to sustain a family of four, a citizens group said on Thursday.”
“Since the turn of the century, a new study concludes, the largest, fastest-growing segment of poor Americans lives in the suburbs of major metropolitan areas -- including communities that are considered affluent, or at least comfortable.”
“A Republican state representative is on a mission to learn more about poverty in Pennsylvania, despite skepticism from within his own party, Democrats and some advocates of the poor.”
“The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been the bearer of bad news when it comes to childhood obesity. The curse of America's expanding waistline has never failed to overlook the nation's children. But instead of releasing another round of grim statistics, a new CDC report covering 2008 to 2011 says the obesity rate for 2- to 4-year-olds in low-income families has slipped.”
“Life may get harsher and hungrier for nearly three million people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on Nov. 1, when food-stamp benefits will be cut overnight for the first time in U.S. history.”
“A year ago, Pennsylvania cut funding for cash assistance, a welfare program that provided a couple of hundred dollars a month to impoverished people dealing with addiction, sickness, disability, or domestic violence.”
“Needy Pennsylvanians will get less help buying groceries come November due to the expiration of a federal stimulus spending bump that has inflated food stamp payments.”
“Come November, almost 1.8 million Pennsylvanians who receive food stamps will get less money every month for their groceries. The cut is the result of the scheduled Nov. 1 expiration of a temporary boost in food stamp funding paid for by the 2009 federal stimulus act.”
“More than half of the area's 61,000 uninsured residents would gain health insurance coverage beginning in 2014 if Pennsylvania lawmakers push forward with a Medicaid expansion, data unveiled on Wednesday showed.”
“Lawmakers who lost their push last month to get Pennsylvania to expand Medicaid are gearing up to press harder when the General Assembly reconvenes in September.”
“In what advocates for the poor perceive as a puzzling irony, a Republican lawmaker from western Pennsylvania has embarked on a statewide tour to examine and discuss poverty. Rep. Dave Reed of Indiana County, chairman of the House Majority Policy Committee, said it was time ‘to truly re-evaluate government's approach to fighting poverty,’ adding that ‘a discussion on poverty is long overdue.’”
“As Pennsylvania decides whether to expand its Medicaid program, a new study says the decision will have a major impact on the state's racial and ethnic minorities.”
“The old saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch didn't stop a number of New Jersey school employees from trying. A troubling recent report by the state comptroller uncovered widespread fraud in lunch programs that the federal government subsidizes to feed needy children.”
“The protests that will be held today Downtown at a McDonald's restaurant, at Target in East Liberty, and at UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland will be to call for employers to pay higher wages to workers. Today was chosen for the protest because it is the fourth anniversary of the last time the federal minimum wage increased.”
“A homeless camp was eliminated this morning when PennDOT workers began clearing out and fencing off an encampment below overpasses on the North Shore.”
“Every summer, the hot sun exposes a hard truth: Parents in this area have to scramble to feed children accustomed to free or reduced-price school lunches. To help fill the gap, the federal government supplies food to the state, which distributes it through feeding sites primarily run by the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, the Philadelphia Housing Authority and - in the suburbs, including Darby - through the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”
“For the first time in 40 years, Congress has decided to give subsidies to farmers - many of them rich - while offering nothing to fund the food-stamp program that experts believe keeps poor Americans from starving. The decision last week comes after conservative Republicans in the House blocked a bill that would have slashed $20 billion from the food-stamp budget, saying the cut was too small.”
“A group of state legislators met with some Lebanon County residents involved in Palmyra Circles of Lebanon County Tuesday at the Palmyra Church of the Brethren, 45 N. Chestnut St., to learn how a program to help those in poverty is working. The meeting was the first of several that will be held across Pennsylvania as part of a state House initiative announced on Monday at the Capitol.”
“House Republican lawmakers are launching statewide hearings to take a fresh look at the persistence of poverty across the state and efforts to combat it.”
“While area realtors love to tell their clients the Midstate housing market has rebounded, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania says the rental housing market is still trying to recover from the financial crisis of 2008. Liz Hersh, the group’s executive director, says the federal sequester is not helping the affordable housing market get back on track.”
“In an unusually frank document, the city has laid out stark statistical descriptions of poverty in Philadelphia, accompanied by a plan to try to deal with the problem. The Shared Prosperity Philadelphia plan, presented Thursday at the Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia, states that at a ‘staggering 28 percent,’ the poverty rate here is the highest among the nation's 10 largest cities. More than 430,000 of the city's 1,547,600 residents live below the federal poverty line, the report points out.”
“During a crowded launch of Mayor Nutter's new anti-poverty initiative yesterday at the Free Library, someone observed, ‘It costs a lot to be poor.’ And that, among the many dispiriting facts and helpful observations uttered yesterday, might be the most meaningful. Poverty extracts a huge price tag from individuals - in health, well-being, future potential and general living conditions, to name just a few. But poverty also extracts a high price from all of us in the city.”
“Plans are in the works to open a homeless shelter in the Kernville section of Johnstown to serve Cambria County residents.”
“Today, the city will unveil a new anti-poverty strategy, and since ours is one of the poorest big cities in the nation, it's not a moment too soon. Poverty is a complicated problem, but recent headway that the city has made on childhood obesity may provide optimism for our ability to grapple with this seemingly intractable problem.”
“Stroman has said that he wants to put as big a dent in homelessness as he can, but it won't be easy. In 2012, there were 5,780 homeless people in Philly, according to statistics compiled by several U.S. government agencies. The number has decreased from 6,871 in 2006, but there are still a lot of hungry people out there. Making matters more difficult, not everyone agrees on how to help the homeless.”
“For lesbians, historically lower pay for women and prejudice against gays can converge to negative effect. Nationwide, a higher proportion of lesbians live in poverty (nearly 23 percent) than heterosexual women (about 21 percent), heterosexual men (about 15 percent), and gay men (almost 21 percent), according to a recent survey by the Williams Institute, a national think tank at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law.”
“When asked the most obvious and yet often the most vexing question, ‘Why are some people homeless?’ Dr. Withers said: ‘I've been asked that question for 21 years and I still don't have a really good answer. You just have to ask each one.’"
“For anyone who has sat in the waiting room of a welfare office, or spent day after day trying to get an actual caseworker on the phone, it's not a shock to hear that Pennsylvania now ranks among the worst in the nation in food stamp processing. The fact that the federal government is now reprimanding Pennsylvania for its poor performance should be a wake-up call and a huge embarrassment. Yet the Corbett administration is essentially just shrugging its shoulders.”
“Showing just how turbulent statewide politics can be, mere hours after Democratic State Sen. Vincent Hughes won committee and senate passage of his sweeping Medicaid expansion legislation — House Bill 1075 — House Rules Committee Republicans eliminated Medicaid expansion language from the Welfare Code Bill. Rubbing salt into the wound, according to a report by Politics PA, the full House instead passed a Medicaid expansion-free version of the Welfare Code Bill.”
“The Republican-led Senate thwarted efforts Wednesday to expand Medicaid coverage in Pennsylvania, just days after having given bipartisan approval to the insurance plan. In a dramatic twist in the battle over whether to extend coverage to about 600,000 lower-income Pennsylvanians, senators sent Gov. Corbett a bill stripped of language they had inserted five days earlier to expand Medicaid.”
“The state Senate passed a budget-related bill without language for Medicaid expansion Wednesday before adjourning for the summer, although several senators indicated they intend to revisit the issue again in the fall. ‘I support the expansion of Medicaid. ... It's clear at this point we are at an impasse,’ said Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delware, speaking in a Senate committee meeting before the party-line 27-22 vote.”
“Few legislators were talking Tuesday about how the next act might unfold in the struggle over whether to expand Medicaid coverage to as many as 600,000 lower-income Pennsylvanians.”
“His plea fell on deaf ears. The Senate on Wednesday voted 27-22 to concur with the House and move the Welfare Code absent the expansion timeline inserted into it by the Senate just three days earlier. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Chester, said that there will be time to fight about Medicaid when lawmakers return in the fall. For now, the House move to strip language about Medicaid expansion from the Welfare Code will stand.”
“The Senate GOP majority hasn't said whether it will try to restore Medicaid expansion later this week. But after a weekend of legislative drama beset with partisan and intraparty fights, a moment of bipartisanship on Medicaid may have just evaporated in the Capitol.”
“The state's Department of Public Welfare could soon become the Department of Human Services -- gradually. The name would change at first only within state statutes and regulations, according to a bill approved by the state House on Monday night. A coalition of nonprofits, with support from legislators and several former governors, has been pushing to rename the agency, citing the negative connotations of the term ‘welfare’ and Pennsylvania's status as one of only two states that continue to use the word in the name of their state human services agency.”
“Pennsylvania ranks among the worst in the nation for getting food stamps to the needy within 30 days, as required by federal law, according to an Inquirer examination of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the food-stamp program.”
“Starting next month, relatives and neighbors providing state-approved child-care services to low-income children will be able to apply for the aid. An Education Department official estimated the program could bring in $3 million more each month for the state's child-care system, depending on how many providers sign up.”
“Three independent studies have concluded that Medicaid expansion would mean a net gain for Pennsylvania: billions in federal aid, reduction in the cost of uncompensated care in hospitals, the creation of thousands of jobs, and health coverage for as many as 600,000 now-uninsured Pennsylvanians.”
“County officials are taking a new approach to helping people like Marlin, who have lost their homes or are teetering on that precipice. Representatives of the Montgomery County commissioners and its Department of Housing and Community Development have been talking with other government offices, philanthropies, and nonprofit organizations about the ‘Your Way Home Montgomery County’ initiative.”
“Erie is making progress in the communitywide effort to reduce poverty. That's the assessment of the Erie Community Foundation, which has played a key role in mobilizing a widespread effort to confront Erie's biggest challenges: the city of Erie's 28 percent poverty rate and the fact that the percentage of children living in poverty has climbed to 47.3 in the city.”
“On Tuesday, a new kind of food pantry for the poor - featuring exclusively healthful foods - opened in Kensington. The Green Light Pantry, the first of its kind in the city, promotes healthy eating while batting back hunger.”
“Starting last Monday and ending Friday, four Pittsburgh Post-Gazette staffers -- along with people all over the country -- adhered to a strict food budget. They and others doing the SNAP Challenge ate on $6 a day, the average amount food stamp recipients receive.”
“Organizers say the civil-rights connection is not a stretch. They insist that a living wage and better working conditions for low-paid workers in chain restaurants and large retail stores like Wal-Mart - where several thousand workers staged their own one-day walkout last year - is the labor battle of the 21st century, much like the fight for safety and better pay in coal mines and steel mills a century ago.”
“But in a narrow elbow of vacant land, near the delivery entrance to the Gallery on Arch Street near Eighth Street, two nonprofit developers are moving ahead with plans for a nine-story, 94-unit apartment house. It's a unique collaboration between the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp. (PCDC) and Project HOME, well-known builders of affordable housing that serve vastly different populations. PCDC focuses on the economic livelihood and housing needs of Chinatown's residents. Project HOME helps homeless individuals with housing and other services.”
“Nearly 23,000 people live in limbo as they wait for public housing in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The shortage of low-income housing is so bad that, for the first time in 17 years, Pittsburgh's city housing authority recently closed the wait list for the majority of its properties. Waits for housing through both housing authorities could be years.”
“The Corbett administration doesn't seem to care that it has acquired a reputation for callous treatment of poor people. If it cared, it wouldn't have failed to process federal energy assistance applications and risk thousands of low-income customers having to pay reconnection fees through no fault of their own.”
“We need to continue providing pathways out of poverty and dependency for individuals and families, rather than sinking them further into debt. Today, Pennsylvania's laws are considered among the strongest in the country to protect against this type of abusive lending, even if it occurs online. We strongly urge our Pennsylvania legislators to remain steadfast in upholding, not weakening, our lending laws in order to keep our communities free from predatory practices.”
“Three years. $26 million. Seven neighborhoods. Since 2010, various Camden agencies and groups have been working to improve conditions in those targeted neighborhoods with a large chunk of federal money designated for communities affected by foreclosed and abandoned properties. A major component of the Camden plan was to stabilize neighborhoods through home ownership.”
“Does a pilot program give county officials needed flexibility in how they spend dwindling human services dollars? Or does it pit the state's most vulnerable populations -- the homeless, the disabled, those with mental health issues or drug addiction -- against each other in a competition for funds? Legislators will debate the issue this week when the House Human Services Committee meets to discuss legislation that could curtail a block grant pilot program that sought to give counties more flexibility by combining seven different types of human services funds.”
“Nearly 14,000 low-income Philadelphia families are waiting for the state to process their claims for federal home-energy assistance - a repeat of last year's backlog that state officials had promised would not happen again. About 8,000 of the families have been waiting for more than 90 days. Because the payments are late, some people face a shutoff of their gas and electricity.”
“The Brookings report should serve as a wake-up call for suburban public officials to acknowledge that poverty isn't just a city problem. Local governments must have coordinated services and programs that help the poor to have a good life where they live.”
“In the Philadelphia area, teachers see themselves as first responders in the ongoing emergency of poverty. Many say that if they falter, they fail the children.”
“Among those testifying was Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille, who said, ‘The unfortunate (and often tragic) fact is that many Pennsylvanians face formidable legal situations in our civil courts where... [low-income] citizens may face dire consequences as the result of a city legal matter that can greatly impact their lives or their futures.’"
“Ideally, the increasing presence of poor residents in the suburbs would be a sign more families are able to access better local environments that provide them with a platform for upward mobility. Yet Penn Hills' low-income residents have limited access to jobs and services, and local school performance on standardized exams is roughly the same as in the city of Pittsburgh.”
“In the continuing tug of war over a possible Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett's administration has taken the unusual step of refuting an analysis by the state's Independent Fiscal Office that found under a Medicaid expansion, the commonwealth would gain federal funds and reduce state expenditures.”
“Still, the poverty rate in Philadelphia - the poorest of America's cities with populations of 1 million or more - remains three times higher than that of its suburbs. About 28 percent of Philadelphians are poor, compared to 8 percent of suburbanites. The biggest change was in Camden County, where the poverty rate went up nearly 3 percentage points between 2000 and 2010, Brookings figures show.”
“In the Pittsburgh region, there are pockets of poverty, such as McKeesport where nearly a quarter of the population is below the line, a percentage that has held steady for about a decade. But poverty has been increasing in the suburbs closer to the city. Penn Hills, for instance, had a rate of 7.5 percent in 2000. That grew to 11 percent in 2010.”
“Nonprofit People’s Emergency Center has several methods of counting the city’s homeless population, but they, too, have proved to be inadequate. After successfully petitioning the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to include housing-related questions in a nationwide youth survey and analyzing responses from Philadelphia high school students, PEC found the number of homeless youth to be much higher than the organization’s past estimates.”
“Broadening access to birth control among low-income women reduces abortion rates. That was the conclusion last fall of researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Over a four-year period, researchers tracked 9,200 low-income women in the St. Louis area who were given their choice of FDA-approved birth-control methods at no cost.”
“A study released this week says colleges' pricing and aid policies are endangering the advancement of low-income and working-class students into the middle class. And once again, Pennsylvania public campuses found themselves on the high side of prices.”
“Anyone over age 60 or who is disabled with more than $9,000 in assets no longer qualifies for food stamps in Pennsylvania; applicants under age 60 are disqualified if they have more than $5,500 in assets. The Corbett administration said the move would safeguard taxpayer dollars and ensure only the truly needy get public benefits.”
“It's not surprising that if minorities in the region have trouble finding work and fall into poverty, we would have trouble attracting and retaining minorities in the region.”
"Advocates for the poor now say that by weeding out a relatively small number of people with too many assets, the Department of Public Welfare made getting food stamps so complicated that deserving low-income people became inundated by paperwork and lost their benefits."
“This week, the commissioners had a full plate. They heard a proposal to allocate $93,000 over two years from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund for a bridge loan to Susquehanna Development Group, which is building 24 rent-to-own single family homes for low-income residents of Halifax Township.”
“Bethesda seeks out men and women most difficult to house due to trust issues, substance abuse, addiction, or mental illness and provides permanent housing and programs to help them stabilize. Bethesda, which serves more than 2,000 people each year, creates a supportive relationship similar to a family. Volunteers make sure clients go to doctor appointments and take their medications.”
“Pennsylvania should restore millions in funds that have been cut in recent years from the state's Homeless Assistance Program, several homeless advocates and policy experts testified today.”
“Legislation that revamped six public welfare programs and eliminated another is unconstitutional and should be rescinded, attorneys argued Wednesday before the state Commonwealth Court.”
“Citing the negative connotations and stereotypes around the word ‘welfare,’ a coalition of Pittsburgh-area nonprofits is seeking to change the name of the state's Department of Public Welfare to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.”
“The welfare department projected the number of food stamp recipients would drop, and it has. About 1,806,000 residents are now getting food stamp assistance, a drop of 33,000, or about 2 percent, according to welfare department figures.”
“‘If you're asking for benefits, you should expect stipulations,’ Stacey Campfield, the Republican state senator who introduced the original Tennessee legislation, said in an interview. His bill would cut welfare payments by 30 percent to parents whose children were left back a grade. ‘They [welfare recipients] have to be accountable.’”
“Then-DPW head Gary Alexander attributed the backlog to new technology that the DPW had installed, and the ‘learning curve’ for staffers to get used to the system. This year, that backlog is only slight better: statewide, the backlog is nearly 67,000 applications, with more than 45,000 of them in Philadelphia. Nearly 20,000 of those date back over 90 days.”
“Dr. Ku, who is also an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Jefferson, studies the costs associated with homeless patients who frequent emergency departments. In one year, he found that the homeless man who used the ER most racked up about half a million dollars in hospital charges. That's one extreme case. But then so is how we treat sick homeless individuals.”
“A new report shows York County is slightly cheaper than surrounding areas, the state and the nation when it comes to renting costs. But there's still a large disparity between those costs and renters' incomes, according to the annual ‘Out of Reach’ report, released earlier this month by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.”
“Just 44 percent of low-income children who eat school lunch also receive school breakfast, even though they're entitled to it. That may be because not enough schools make an effort to maximize student participation, the report said. And just 56 percent of eligible Pennsylvanians receive WIC benefits, designed to get nutritious food to low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, infants, and children up to age 5 who face nutritional risks, the report says.”
“About 200 low-income homeowners in Allegheny County who have mortgages through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency could soon get free energy efficiency upgrades. The improvements, which could include a new furnace, insulation or windows, would be provided under the $1 million Energy Efficiency Foreclosure Prevention Program. The program also includes financial counseling and is designed to reduce energy costs as a way to cut expenses and avoid foreclosure.”
“Allegheny County and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency hope to improve energy efficiency in 200 low-income households through a program announced this morning. The program, called the Energy Efficiency Foreclosure Prevention Initiative, also will provide financial counseling. The goal is to reduce energy costs to help people remain in their homes.”
“Of all students in households with income below $50,000, only 45 percent of those who did not have their own savings account enrolled in college, but 65 percent of those with savings from $1 to $499 enrolled and 72 percent of those with savings of $500 or more enrolled. Variations of children's savings accounts -- some with matching amounts donated -- have cropped up around the country, through the influence of several organizations, including the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a Washington, D.C., organization aimed at alleviating poverty through economic opportunity and which worked with Propel in developing the proposal.”
“Despite taxpayer “investment” of nearly $8 billion per year, Head Start consistently fails to reap a return for either taxpayers or participating children. In December 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that administers Head Start, released a scientifically rigorous evaluation of more than 5,000 children participating in the program. It found that Head Start had little to no impact on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting practices of participants.”
“As the cold weather lingers into spring, heating assistance for low-income individuals and families will be available for a few additional weeks. Gov. Tom Corbett announced that Pennsylvanians who need assistance paying home heating bills now have additional time - through April 26 - to apply for financial help through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.”
“SHARE provides food for 500 neighborhood food pantries serving low-income families. Last year, SHARE distributed 15 million pounds of food throughout the city, including 6,000 pounds produced at its farm. Wynn says the need is tremendous in a city where one out of four families experiences ‘food insecurity,’ meaning their children often go to bed hungry.”
“Children who enrolled in Head Start at 3 years of age improved more than children who started Head Start at age 4. More generally, studies show that children reared in poverty during their first 5 to 6 years have substantially poorer long-term educational, health and economic outcomes than children reared in poverty after 5 to 6 years of age. So the early years are very important.”
“It is unconscionable that Philadelphia has more people in what's called deep poverty than any other city among the nation's 10 largest.”
“The 2013 annual nationwide count of homeless people, taken on the night of Jan. 30 and 31, found fewer individuals in Chester County and more in Bucks County than were tallied in January 2012.”
“Nunez, who stays with a friend in North Philly and collects food stamps, is among about 200,000 Philadelphians who, a new analysis shows, live in ‘deep poverty.’ Those residents - nearly 13 percent of the city - have incomes below half the federal poverty line.”
“Roca, who also runs the Penn Program for Mindfulness at the University of Pennsylvania, was among four panelists who spoke about understanding stress in children who suffer trauma or live in poverty. They covered the effects on brain development and stimulation, and discussed the importance of nurturing infants, intervening at the preschool level, and teaching social skills.”
“Philadelphia has the highest rate of deep poverty - people with incomes below half of the poverty line - of any of the nation's 10 most populous cities.”
“So roughly one-half of 1 percent of SNAP spending here is cut, but state administrative costs likely increased to make federal funding decrease. ‘What it means is Pennsylvania is going without federal dollars that come into the state to feed needy people. It's not as though they went away. It shifts costs to family and local social services,’ says Ellen Vollinger.”
“‘These figures highlight a dire problem in Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania,’ Ms. Hersh said. ‘The price of affordable housing far too often exceeds the actual wages that renters are bringing home. And worse, it's an issue that disproportionately affects the injured or disabled, low-income families and seniors.’ She said people who struggle to pay rent often move from place to place when they fall behind, which is why schools serving low- to moderate-income families have so much student turnover.”
"School closings fall disproportionately on poor and minority neighborhoods. 'These school closings have been happening in communities that were already destabilized by the dismantling of public housing, by gentrification and effects of the economic crisis,' said Pauline Lipman, professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago."
“Pellegrini ruled that Corbett and state lawmakers erred in early 2011 by diverting federal tobacco-settlement funds from the state's adultBasic and Medicaid insurance programs to other needs. If it stands, the ruling means Corbett will have to restore funding to insure more low-income adults.”
“Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) took aim at federal spending Thursday, at one point singling out welfare programs he said had grown so generous that some Americans find they benefit from government aid ‘as long as you don't work very much.’”
“AdultBasic launched in 2002 to cover major health bills for those who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but were not old enough to apply for Medicare. The Corbett administration argued Gov. Ed Rendell and other Democrats allowed too many into the program and relied too heavily on funding from insurers Blue Cross/Blue Shield to cover it. Democrats in favor of expanding low-income health care tied the court decision to their calls on the governor to expand the state's Medicaid offerings under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.”
“Comcast Corp. says 5,700 low-income families in the Philadelphia area are now participating in a discounted Internet service the cable giant agreed to offer as part of its merger with NBCUniversal.”
“A state judge has ordered the Corbett administration to reinstate funding for programs that provided health insurance to tens of thousands of low-income Pennsylvanians.”
“One idea floating around stems from a federal-government move last week that would allow Arkansas to funnel people into private insurance coverage instead of Medicaid. Gaetz, R-Niceville, said the Senate is looking into the Arkansas idea, as well as other potential health-care models. The Arkansas concept centers on allowing low-income people to use federal Medicaid money to buy private coverage through a new health-insurance exchange.”
“If the cuts occur, it's not likely that low-income families and the elderly will see immediate changes, experts said, although the timing of any potential changes isn't known. ‘You're going to see vulnerable groups losing access to food aid that they've been relying on,’ said Julie Zaebst, interim director of the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger.”
“If the cuts occur, it's not likely that low-income families and the elderly will see immediate changes, experts said, although the timing of any potential changes isn't known. ‘You're going to see vulnerable groups losing access to food aid that they've been relying on,’ said Julie Zaebst, interim director of the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. ‘And as devastating as these potential cuts are, they're taking place in a context in which families and seniors are already feeling previous cuts.’”
“To determine how many property owners in the township are age 65 or older, residents will be asked to respond to a survey that they will receive with their spring property tax statements, which will be mailed in two weeks. The survey will enable supervisors to plan for the loss of property taxes from such a rebate.”
“A survey last year by the Capital Area Coalition on Homelessness revealed that on any given day, there were more than 280 adults and 125 children who were homeless within Dauphin County. The Harrisburg nonprofit has now launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness.”
“The cuts would slash $26.4 million in school aid to Pennsylvania and $11.7 million in New Jersey, and slash support for Head Start, the early-childhood education program for low-income families that has more demand than it can meet in Philadelphia. The reductions would eat into college aid and funds for the National Institutes of Health, which underwrites extensive research in Philadelphia, and hit local hospitals.”
“Nearly 55,000 fewer Pennsylvanians were getting medical assistance in December 2012 compared with July, according to a new state Department of Public Welfare report, in many cases as an apparent side effect of the elimination of another program.”
“The various ways in which poverty at home affects a child at school include physical and mental challenges. All can damage a child's overall well-being. The impact of poverty on a child depends on his or her home environment and attitude toward his situation, said Lynn Troutman, a counselor at James Buchanan High School, Tuscarora Area School District. Effects can include poor nutrition, dressing inappropriately for the weather, sleepiness, incomplete assignments and more issues that can cause a student to lack focus in the classroom or not comprehend material.”
“Nearly 55,000 fewer Pennsylvanians were getting medical assistance in December 2012 compared with July, according to a new state Department of Public Welfare report, in many cases as an apparent side effect of the elimination of another program.”
“These poverty figures alone simply aren’t shocking or visual enough to awaken elected officials in Harrisburg and Washington. The scourge of poverty seems to engender little passion and it usually takes the devastation of events like Katrina and Superstorm Sandy to expose the faces of those who suffer from poverty and are made even more vulnerable by natural disasters.”
“Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to change how state education dollars are distributed would give a big financial boost to some Inland school districts, according to new estimates. But in other districts, particularly those in southwest Riverside County, the increases would be much smaller. Brown's goal is to help schools with bigger challenges, such as educating those who don't speak English or who live in poverty. But it also would create wide division in funding levels among Inland districts.”
“Shane Burroughs, 39, spends his days patrolling the streets and looking for them. He is a one-man street team for Bucks County's Synergy Project, an initiative to help young people, 21 and under, who are homeless.”
“Saltsman argues that the majority of people living in poverty aren't working, so raising the wage won't lift them out of poverty. Employers, he said, will respond to increased wage requirements by cutting hours or cutting employees. And, ultimately, he said, ‘minimum-wage battles won't be battles between workers and management, but a battle with technology, and that's a battle workers cannot win.’ Employers will invest in technology, such as electronic cashier systems, to replace workers, if labor costs go up.”
“High-rise apartments can reinforce the sense of isolation that already threatens low-income elders. Add security guards and a management office that, like a school principal's, is located near the front door, and the greater neighborhood can seem remote. So some community advocates are trying to connect high-rise residents to their neighborhoods.”
“The recession pushed Camden deeper into poverty. But Camden has been on a downward spiral since the 1969 race riots, when thousands of residents fled to the suburbs. The Inquirer spoke to national poverty experts, and more than a dozen residents, entrepreneurs, clergy, employees, and volunteers in the city to assess the decline of a city in Philadelphia's shadow.”
“[H]e and other governors seem to think of low-income people without health coverage as something akin to termites: If you expand the program, lots of people who are eligible but not enrolled will ‘come out of the woodwork’ and find out they could have had coverage all along. (This regular coverage of Medicaid is not reimbursed by the feds at the same level as the newly expanded model, so the costs would be higher.) It's actually referred to as the ‘woodwork effect.’
So rather than urge people to see if they qualify for help, he'd rather let low-income families lie awake at night figuring out how they're going to help their sick children, or continue care for disabled or elderly relatives.”
“Simultaneous boos and cheers broke out among legislators in the House chamber on Tuesday when Gov. Corbett said he had no immediate plans to expand Medicaid eligibility for low-income Pennsylvanians under the federal Affordable Care Act.”
“Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who has been one of the most outspoken foes of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul (and who famously jabbed a finger toward the president during a tense verbal exchange last year), surprised her GOP colleagues three weeks ago when she backed the expansion of her state's Medicaid program.”
“Officials use Project Homeless Connect, an annual one-day event, to help develop federal and local strategies to combat homelessness. Volunteers either offer the homeless assistance on the streets or assist them as they visit one of the several designated spots in the area. Those helped will take a survey, which consists of brief questions addressing issues such as family makeup, services needed, services currently received and length of time spent homeless or without a permanent address. Lunch, flu shots, haircuts and winter coats will be offered.”
“In a bid to build pressure on Gov. Corbett to expand Medicaid next year, Democratic members of the Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee met Thursday in Philadelphia with city health officials, hospital experts, and advocates for the poor. The session in City Hall came less than two weeks before Corbett is to present his budget proposal for fiscal 2014. Were he to opt for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, provisions for the rollout starting in October would have to be built into that budget, officials said.”
“If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, why are so many public-school students needlessly going hungry? Only 35 percent of New Jersey's 471,714 children eligible for a free or reduced-price meal received breakfast at school last year. That's among the lowest participation rates in the country. New Jersey ranks 46th in the number of low-income students who get breakfast at school. Pennsylvania is 36th. Nationally, only about 50 percent of students in the reduced or free lunch program eat a school breakfast.”
“The alert, aimed at moving homeless people into shelters, was first declared at 6 p.m. Sunday because of the cold, said Carol Thomas, director of outreach for Project H.O.M.E., a nonprofit that provides housing and services to chronically homeless men and women in Philadelphia.”
“The National Weather Service projects that every night this week, the temperature will dip below the 20-degree threshold that triggers a Code Blue, which means that advocates for the homeless switch from outreach about services to strongly urging people on the streets to get inside. Crawley partnered with his former outreach trainer, Jonathan Evans, working for the Mental Health Association's outreach program, which collaborates with Project HOME and Horizon House to help people find shelter when winter arrives.”
“Now it is up to Pennsylvania to decide whether it will expand this broken, costly program. Given the difficult budget choices the state has already had to make in recent years to balance its books, as required by law, the answer is very simple: Pennsylvania should join the growing list of states choosing not to expand. To embrace expansion would crowd out vital funding to our schools and universities, to rebuilding our roads and bridges and to those social welfare programs to which our state is already committed.”
“Members of Country Manor Adult Community collected a variety of personal care and comfort items over the past two months to donate to Totes of Hope, an American Red Cross program that for three years now has provided homeless veterans with backpacks filled with items to make life more comfortable.”
“Though 23 of Cooper's 50 medical students have chosen to live in Camden, all but one reside in apartments at the Victor Building, an oasis in a city known for its crime and poverty. The weekly clinics, which the students staff as part of their curriculum, offer the future doctors an opportunity to interact with Camden's neediest on a one-on-one basis.”
“The money is ‘transformational’ for Futures, whose annual budget is about $2.8 million. It will support the organization's strategic plan and fund a new program that could annually help up to 800 low-income, first-generation-to-college students with precollege guidance and continuing support through college graduation, Mazzotti said.”
“The Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates show eight of Lancaster County's 17 school districts with higher child poverty numbers in 2011 compared with the previous year, and eight with lower numbers. One district, Cocalico, stayed the same. At least the percentages seem to have stabilized. From 2009 to 2010, on the other hand, 16 of 17 districts saw an increase in child poverty rates.”
“Garfield Commons is the latest transformation of outmoded public housing into privately managed, mixed-income units, but it is not just another upgrade. It represents possibly the most ambitious adherence to minority and low-income hiring standards in the city's history.”
“Heating crisis grants for low-income individuals and families become available on Wednesday as the coldest weather so far this season settles in. Overnight temperatures are expected to drop to the teens this week as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program opens crisis grants to eligible households.”
“Feeding the needy for decades, Steveanna Wynn stands out among the dedicated antihunger advocates who work tirelessly to provide to those less fortunate. Wynn runs the SHARE Program, which provides food for as many as 500 Philadelphia neighborhood pantries that serve low-income residents.”
“The holidays are a great time of year to remember to be grateful for the gifts we've received. And as we remember well, fallen Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently claimed that some of the less fortunate in America have received "gifts" in the form of handouts from the government. A Grinchly statement lacking empathy on its face for sure, but that makes this season a perfect time to confront a fact too few understand: While lots of bipartisan government programs are intended as gifts for the poor, they are actually an unintended curse.”
"Both Pennyslvania and New Jersey would be among the hardest hit states should the extended unemployment benefits end as scheduled on Dec. 29. Nearly 240,000 long-term jobless individuals across both states, along with thousands of others in neighboring Delaware, would see the end of an additional 37 weeks of benefits if Congress and President Obama cannot agree on an extension. For a city still facing double-digit unemployment, and the nation with nearly 8 percent out of work, this isn't the moment to trim aid for people who have felt the brunt of the past recession."
"The grants signal implementation of the foundation's new 10-year strategic vision, which focuses on closing the achievement gap for low-income children, protecting the region's water quality, and making its creative community more vibrant."
"As part of the city's effort to better coordinate outdoor free meals for homeless people, Mayor Nutter has created the Philadelphia Food Access Collaborative, which includes many groups that give food to people in need.”
“The shelter will offer services such as job training and placement, and mental health treatment and care. The goal is to have veterans eventually become mentors to others entering the program. About 20 percent of Camden County's homeless are veterans, according to VOA's most recent survey.”
“In its ninth year, Carlisle CARES continues to welcome the homeless and help them find permanent housing, regardless of missteps along the way. Starting with a handful of church partners, there are 14 congregations that rotate nightly host duties.”
“The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, which represents 250 medical facilities, said Wednesday that it was ‘disappointed that the state will not be taking the lead on an important initiative to provide access to affordable health-care coverage for low-income individuals and families.’ Corbett, who as Pennsylvania attorney general sued to block the federal health-care legislation, said the state-based exchange option can be reevaluated in future years.”
"She knew that colleges sent out millions of letters to 11th-graders who took the Princeton Review prep course. The whole Dear Tabitha campaign was about as personal as fliers from Tire Express. But nearing the end of her junior year of high school, without a single item of value to secure her future — not even a $50 U.S. savings bond from a departed relative — the mail was all she had."
“Gov. Christie should sign legislation passed Monday that would increase New Jersey's minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour, with automatic cost-of-living raises. Low-wage workers, unfortunately, are a growing segment of the workforce. An August study by the National Employment Law Project showed that 60 percent of the jobs lost during the recession paid middle-income wages, but such positions accounted for only 22 percent of the jobs that have been filled during the recovery.”
“According to his analysis of the DPW data, the number of people on food stamps in high poverty municipalities in Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon, Perry and northern York counties grew from 51,972 in July 2008 to 82,704 in August 2012, an increase of 59 percent. But the number of people on food stamps in low-poverty municipalities in the same region climbed from 5,723 in July 2008 to 12,081 in August 2012, an increase of 111 percent.”
“Channels Food Rescue accepts food from 200 donors, including restaurants and grocers, and distributes it to food pantries, homeless shelters and low-income housing complexes. Last year, it served 120,000 people in Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry and York counties. Its Kids' Cafe program assembles and distributes 800 hot dinners daily to children in after-school and summer programs in Harrisburg and York.”
“It's time to change the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, and it starts with something simple - its name. Welfare does not describe what it does or whom it serves. In fact, we are the only state in the country that still has a department called ‘Public Welfare.’ This is why I have introduced a bill that would change the name from the Department of Public Welfare to a name that far better describes what this wing of our state government does: the Department of Human Services.”
“If the citizens of Pennsylvania and New Jersey whose incomes are less than $14,859 a year (133 percent of the poverty line) are going to be get Medicaid in 2014, then Govs. Tom Corbett and Chris Christie must act. The health care of about 500,000 people in Pennsylvanian and 400,000 in New Jersey is on the line.”
“The revival of the North Broad Street corridor got a major boost Tuesday with the official launch of a $16 million, 55-unit rental housing development. But unlike most of the high-end projects in the fast-changing Francisville neighborhood, JBJ Soul Homes will cater to low-income families and individuals trying to escape homelessness.”
“The revival of the North Broad Street corridor got a major boost Tuesday with the official launch of a $16 million, 55-unit rental housing development. But unlike most of the high-end projects in the fast-changing Francisville neighborhood, JBJ Soul Homes will cater to low-income families and individuals trying to escape homelessness.”
“Compared to 2011 figures, there are only slightly fewer Pennsylvania children living in low-income households and access to child care subsidies is flat, the report shows. Also, the number of kids enrolled in publicly funded early childhood education programs, such as Pre-K Counts and Head Start, is down. Only 16.5 percent of Pennsylvania's 3- and 4-year-olds are benefiting from such programs, the lowest number since 2007, according to the report.”
“For Donald Carter, the groundbreaking of an LGBT-friendly senior housing facility meant more than just the creation of a facility. It was the culmination of more than 40 years of activism.”
“About half of the 30 million uninsured expected to gain coverage under the health reform law will obtain private insurance through the exchanges, most with government help. Others, mainly low-income adults without children at home, will gain insurance through an expansion of Medicaid, though it's not clear how that will play out, given the Supreme Court's decision that states may opt out of that provision.”
“The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare is prepared to handle the heating and financial challenges winter brings to residents with low income, said Anne Bale, the department's spokeswoman. On Thursday, the department's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program paper application opened to families who will need some financial help to stay warm this winter.”
“Christina Fong, a senior research scientist at Carnegie Mellon University who studies poverty and discrimination, said ‘this particular study falls on the side of saying that the poor are not as individually responsible for poverty as we might otherwise have thought.’”
“To qualify for Community Auto, applicants must work at least 25 hours a week, earn an income 250 percent below the federal poverty line and have a valid driver's license, a clean driving record and enough money to buy a car, which usually ranges from $2,500 to $3,500. The vehicles are donated to the program and resold after mileage, maintenance costs and necessary mechanic and body work are taken into consideration.”
“This is low-income housing superior to anything Philadelphia has done in half a century. Not only are the rowhouses stylish and modern both inside and out, they are among the most energy-efficient ever built in the United States. Produced by Onion Flats, the quirky firm that designs, builds, develops, and sometimes markets its own residential projects, the homes are the first in Pennsylvania to be certified by the demanding International Passive House Institute, based in Germany.”
“Neither President Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney has said very much during the presidential campaign about helping the poor. There may be a good reason for that: Elections are won by appealing to the middle class, not the impoverished.”
“Covert gathered a group of Chester men for a call to arms of a different kind. In a community blighted by poverty and crime, they would come up with ways to help. Two years later, Brothers of Concern is involved in literacy efforts and coat drives, feeding the hungry and mentoring young people.”
“The House Republicans have voted to extend all but the tax credits which help low income working families. Mitt Romney included these families in the "47 percent" he thinks should vote for President Obama. Here's what will happen if the 2009 improvements in the EITC and CTC expire: 6.9 million children will lose their CTC entirely. Another 10.2 million children will be in families that lose part of their credit. About 1.3 million children would lose the EITC entirely. Another 12.4 million children will be in families seeing a reduction in their EITC.”
“Residents are being encouraged to apply online for help covering winter heating costs. Applying online for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program will be an easier and faster process than filling out a paper application, said Carey Miller, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Welfare.”
“In the city, a family of four needs $61,199 a year to meet basic needs without public assistance such as welfare or food stamps, says the latest version of the Self Sufficiency Standard, a measure calculated every two years by the University of Washington for PathWays PA, a Delaware County antipoverty advocacy group that focuses on women and children.”
“The closing of the shelter has led not only to a fundamental shift in the way homeless men are served in and around Center City, but also to a visible shift in the quickly gentrifying neighborhood that the shelter left behind.”
“Welfare recipients, with or without disabilities, now benefit from a system that more effectively helps them find and keep jobs. That system is outcome focused and includes welfare-to-employment centers, now paid based on their performance, in the Employment Advancement Retention Network statewide. A performance payment is made to the center when a welfare recipient receives a job, not merely when one searches for a job.”
“Seven South Jersey charter schools or districts were among 64 high-poverty districts statewide where less than 31 percent of eligible students receive subsidized school breakfasts, according a report being released today in Newark.”
“In the absence of meaningful and substantive help for the homeless -- including low-cost housing, job training and mental/substance abuse counseling -- it seems that the least we can do as a community is facilitate one meal a day in a public space without subjecting the homeless to government hassle.”
“Under the new DPW requirements, a family whose income is above 200 percent of the poverty level will have to pay up to 5 percent of their gross monthly income for ‘wraparound’ services: behavior therapy, speech, occupational and physical therapies, medications, doctor's visits and more.”
“The majority of the cash grant recipients, like Sidle, are unemployed adults with disabilities. Documentation from doctors was required to get the benefits. But recipients also included domestic violence victims, people in drug and alcohol treatment programs, and children younger than 18 who are in the care of an unrelated adult. The grant was meant as a temporary measure to cover people until they either were officially declared disabled or were able to return to or find work. The cuts affected 765 people in Lehigh County and 799 in Northampton County, according to the state welfare department.”
“Here in Philadelphia, Ernst & Young LLP and the nonprofit College For Every Student (CFES) have collaborated with Frankford High School to help young people from low-income communities become college-ready. We call this collaboration College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence), and it is part of a national program in 13 US cities that brings teams of Ernst & Young mentors to high schools in underserved communities to mentor and guide students on their journey to college.”
“Child poverty in Gloucester County more than doubled between 2010 and 2011. According to census data, 7,395 children were living in families earning about $22,000 a year or less. Sweeney, a Democrat, who represents Gloucester County, is right to call for automatic increases in the minimum wage tied to changes in the cost of living. But the constitution is the wrong vehicle.”
“Mayor Nutter and religious groups that distribute free outdoor meals to the poor have reached a truce, agreeing to temporarily step away from litigation in order to address larger issues surrounding the problems of hunger and homelessness.”
“Mayor Nutter announced a "compensation and benefits reform package" this week that will affect 5,500 nonunion city workers, and smart money says the annoucement was designed to put pressure on the municipal unions DC 33 and 47 to fall in line with similar changes to benefits and pensions.”
“A task force assembled by Nutter last summer found that 23 groups offer indoor meals, feeding about 1,850 people. The task force suggested a new type of indoor space - "neutral, generic," according to Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Nutter - that anyone could reserve to prepare and serve free meals to the homeless and poor.”
“Yet politicians of all leanings just don't want to talk about it, almost certainly taking their cues from the populace at large. In a recent study, the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting looked at six months of national political coverage and found that poverty was the subject of less than 0.2 percent of the stories - that is, only 17 out of 10,489. In order to do something about poverty, we have to be able to recognize it.”
“The YWCA of Greater Harrisburg will receive a $753,360 federal grant to help homeless veterans find permanent housing.”
“There's renewed reason for hope that thousands more low-income Philadelphia households will be able to leap across the so-called digital divide, thanks to better coordinated efforts by Comcast Corp. and city and school officials.”
“Poverty rose significantly in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties over the last two years, while the city's median household income in 2011 ranked second-worst among the nation's 25 largest cities. The findings were released Thursday in the American Community Survey One-Year Estimate, an annual sampling of three million people conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The report has a higher margin of error than the census, which is a separate undertaking.”
“In early 2011, Comcast volunteered to offer Internet Essentials in its negotiations with the Federal Communications Commission to acquire control of NBCUniversal. The program is designed to address the low adoption rate of broadband service in low-income neighborhoods - a result partly of the cost of an Internet service and a computer. In Philadelphia, Comcast's least expensive entry-level, stand-alone Internet service costs $47 a month, which includes the modem rental, a company spokesman said.”
“The new poverty data show things getting worse nationally and across Pennsylvania in 2011, but at a less severe rate of change than the county's. The national poverty rate was estimated to increase from 15.3 percent to 15.9 percent between 2010 and 2011 and the state's rate to climb from 13.4 percent to 13.8 percent, according to the ACS. The seven-county metropolitan area had a new poverty rate estimated at 12.6 percent, compared to 12.2 percent a year earlier.”
“Today, more families are turning to home and community-based services to ensure their loved ones remain independent for as long as possible, allowing them to stay in their home or apartment or a homelike setting and around their families. However, our government fails to provide proper support for low-income persons who need these crucial senior services. That's unfortunate because home and community-based services provides a wide variety of opportunities to protect the quality of life seniors expect to enjoy.”
“The Bloomfield-Garfield Corp. has been successful in ‘getting low-income people into equity positions,’ he said. ‘Now the question is how to lift people's equity and get the neighborhood up to better health in a culturally sensitive way, to look at the talent it has and to build on that. It's a neat approach to a community change agenda.”
“Circles is a nonprofit, national campaign to lift people out of poverty by providing them with training, networks and ‘social capital’ to better themselves. It also has the goal of changing barriers and policies in social programs and the community that work against those trying to get out of poverty.”
“When a federal judge blocked Mayor Nutter's sensible ban on open-air feedings of the homeless along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in July, he concluded that city officials hadn't done enough to persuade more homeless people to take their meals indoors.”
“The No Kid Hungry campaign will work with schools and communities to increase participation in school breakfast programs. Some parents are unaware of the programs, and some students are embarrassed to sign up for them. One way around that is Philadelphia's universal feeding program, which makes free meals available to all students, thus reducing paperwork and eliminating the stigma associated with poverty.”
“Enter Philadelphia Futures, the nonprofit that helps promising low-income city students get into college and then succeed there. Traditionally, it has handpicked a select group of teens - currently, 176 high school students citywide - for intensive, long-term mentoring, academic enrichment, guidance, and funds for college-related expenses. But Futures wants to do more. This year, it's launched a one-year pilot program for 31 Northeast seniors.”
“The 10-member task force was formed in April, after a backlash from Nutter's ban on outdoor feeding. Critics accused the mayor of trying to drive the homeless off the Parkway, just as the new Barnes Foundation building was opening there. Nutter rebutted the criticism, and the city began allowing free meals to be distributed at the north portal of City Hall. Homeless advocates also continued to give out meals on the Parkway with impunity.”
“Since 1989, Wynn has run the SHARE Food Program, a multifaceted antihunger organization that provides food for 350 to 500 Philadelphia neighborhood pantries for low-income residents. Last year, SHARE distributed 15 million pounds of food throughout the city, 6,000 of them from the farm. From her office in SHARE's warehouse adjacent to its farm, Wynn also disburses free commodity foods from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She also manages half the $4.5 million the state has earmarked for the city this year to feed the needy.”
“Church ministries have been feeding homeless people in Philadelphia's public parks for decades - not as a charitable gesture, but as an act of faith. But earlier this year, city officials passed an ordinance banning public feeding of groups of more than three people in any city park - taking care, of course, to exempt city-sanctioned special events, family picnics and other gatherings the city finds more palatable.”
“The Corbett administration has cut funding for a Philadelphia program nationally lauded as the ‘gold standard’ for helping disabled homeless people get federal benefits. On May 31, the state's Department of Public Welfare gave Philadelphia's Homeless Advocacy Project one month's notice that it was eliminating $722,000 used to help obtain Supplemental Security Income (SSI) money for homeless or near-homeless people who had exceeded their five-year limit for welfare benefits.”
“Two years ago, Davis created a nonprofit organization bearing his name. His efforts began in 2008, when he and his family began feeding the homeless in Philadelphia. ‘We continued to build from there,’ he said. Every Monday, Davis, his mother, grandmother, and twin sisters, 13, hand out meals to homeless men and women at 18th and Vine Streets, across from Philadelphia Family Court.”
“It's a common practice to distribute food from private homes on blocks in low-income areas throughout the region. In Philadelphia, for example, representatives from the archdiocese or the city Department of Recreation will deliver food to a trained and vetted person on a block to distribute lunch in the summer months. This is the hungriest season in the area, because schools are closed and can't offer breakfast and lunch to low-income children.”
“The Corbett administration has stopped funding a program that helped low-income working people get federal tax credits that kept them out of poverty. The program, administered by the Department of Public Welfare for just over $500,000, also helped pay for low-income workers to have their taxes prepared free, which saves people at or below the poverty line hundreds of dollars.”
“The Food Trust, established in 1992, operates 26 farmers' markets; 10 were opened in 2010 and 2011 in a partnership with the Philadelphia Health Departments part of the ‘Get Healthy Philly’ initiative. The markets were placed in zip codes with the highest poverty rates.”
“A federal judge on Friday reaffirmed his July 12 order blocking enforcement of Mayor Nutter's rule banning groups from feeding homeless people along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.”
“Back-to-school costs are expected to increase this year, according to one index, but local corporations and nonprofits are stepping in to help low-income families equip their children for schools.”
“Poor people and their advocates say Corbett could have continued to pay for the program but chose to cut corporate taxes. They argue that the decision will only drive up costs for other state agencies and private organizations as more people become homeless or fail to get treatment for addiction, turn to crime, and end up in jail.”
“Out of the Cold’s mission is to provide the homeless in our community with a warm and safe overnight accommodation and nourishment within a welcoming atmosphere, as a supplemental option to locally established shelters. Area emergency shelters are frequently full and cannot always accommodate the sheltering needs of all who are homeless.”
“A Lancaster County medical center's hopes of opening a dental clinic in Lebanon County to serve Medicaid recipients and low-income, uninsured residents could be put on hold unless the community can meet a local match of $170,000 soon.”
“While the existing Medicaid program remains unchanged, from 2014 to 2017 the federal government would assume the full cost of expanded coverage with no additional cost to the state. The new program would cover individuals with household incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or $29,326 for a family of four.”
"For groups defying Mayor Nutter's sensible ban on open-air feedings of the homeless along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, it may well be a social or religious calling to help desperate men and women gathered at one of the city's marquee public spaces."
"After two days of testimony from witnesses ranging from homeless advocates to Mayor Nutter, a federal judge has set oral arguments for Thursday on the constitutionality of a new city ordinance that bans the public feeding of groups of homeless people in city parks."
"Many low-income families in Reading rely on this center, which is something of a safe haven in a troubled city. With a poverty rate of 41.3 percent, Reading has been labeled the nation's poorest city with a population of 65,000 or more. As the economy slowly recovers, many here are being left behind."
"The city says it wants to eliminate outdoor meal service because of food safety issues and the need to get the homeless medical and mental health services. But critics say it's an excuse to get the homeless off the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, a key tourist destination with many of the city's museums."
"That leaves it up to the states -- and officials such as Gov. Tom Corbett, who fought the law -- to weigh the costs and benefits of expanding the pool of low-income residents covered by the assistance program."
"Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick III said the county stopped providing grocery shopping and laundry assistance to its senior citizens in 2005. The county Aging office had to cut services and lay off staff to close a $1.3 million budget deficit."
"Access to healthy foods has been a cornerstone of the Obama administration's food policy, dedicating hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds to projects like this one.
The goal is to eradicate food deserts - low-income areas that lack access to nutritious foods - by 2017."
"The Welcome Church is so named because all are welcome to gather around the card table they use as an altar. Overwhelmingly, congregants are the homeless men and women who wander the Parkway. But passers-by, too, have yielded to serendipity, seduced by the hymn of prayers on a breeze. Or the way leaf-filtered light glints like"
"A growing number of cities across the United States are making it harder for the homeless.
Philadelphia recently banned outdoor feeding of people in city parks. Denver has begun enforcing a ban on eating and sleeping on property without permission. And this month, lawmakers in Ashland, Ore., will consider strengthening the town's ban on camping and making noise in public."
"For low-income Americans, it's akin to being stuck yelling out a window to communicate while everyone else is using the phone. Overall, 90 percent of Americans making between $50,000 and $74,999 are online, according to a study released by the Pew Research Center in April. For those making more than $75,000 annually, it's 97 percent."
"Cherry Hill is preparing to scale back rent control, prompting fears among senior citizens that they soon could be priced out of their apartments and forced to move to less expensive suburbs."
"A team of University of Tennessee researchers released a study last week that provides recommendations for improving the economic development of impoverished Appalachian communities. Commissioned by the Appalachian Regional Commission, the study represents a common-sense approach to help struggling communities keep up in a rapidly changing world."
"Child poverty rose in 2010 as the nation continued to feel the impact of the recession. Forty-four percent of children were living in families with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level. Pennsylvania does not fair any better. Children in 76 percent of Pennsylvania's counties are at moderate-high to high risk of school failure because of risk factors related to poverty."
"Ninety percent are paid hourly, with the current median hourly wage for full-time workers at just $9.25 -- barely sufficient to keep them out of poverty. 'It's striking how severe young people's problems are,' said Carl Van Horn, co-author of the study and the director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers. 'These are folks at the beginning of their work lives already feeling very pessimistic about themselves.'"
"The Famous Biscuit Co. building on Forbes Avenue will be converted into a 43-unit apartment building for low-income workers and residents with hearing and vision impairments, highlighting efforts to make a revitalized Uptown an inclusive neighborhood, speakers said at a construction kickoff Friday."
"Sister Mary Scullion, cofounder of Project HOME and an influential voice on the issue of homelessness, has withdrawn her support of Mayor Nutter's ban on public feedings in parks until the city comes up with a viable plan for moving meals for the homeless indoors."
"Bill Southrey, the Atlantic City Rescue Mission's president and CEO, has said publicly that homeless flock to the city, but there are not adequate resources to care for them. On the mission's Twitter page, it responded with the following tweet: 'Mission takes beating in press by politicians for standing up for the homeless.'"
“A ban on mass outdoor feedings for homeless people in city parks, including open space along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, will take effect June 1.”
"The study itself did not attempt to understand why states fared better than others in terms of economic mobility, said Currier, but she did note other national research has concluded the three key indicators that generally drive economic mobility up and down are education levels, savings and assets, and neighborhood poverty during childhood.'"
"Usually, the city only includes Center City, Philadelphia International Airport, and a few select neighborhoods in its quarterly count of unsheltered homeless people. But this time, more people were enlisted to reach more areas of the city. "
"With more than 300,000 residents age 85 and over, Pennsylvania's senior population is the largest it has ever been, and it is increasing at 10 times the rate of the rest of the population. Yet a proposed cut to the state budget would take away 4 percent of the funding -- $100 million -- for low-income seniors who receive at-home nursing care."
"Roosevelt Darby Jr. knew about addiction and homelessness because he had lived through both himself. He had emerged from that dark night of the soul determined to help others like him find the light that would lead back to the land of the living."
"The national network of KIPP charter schools last spring announced plans to more than double the number of its low-income students who graduate from college, by partnering with colleges and universities that encourage KIPP students to apply and support those who enroll."
"“It would be irresponsible to mandate ... if it does cost $2 million, when we don’t know where that (money) is coming from,” said school board member John Tedesco. Administrators estimated that 80 percent of those students are from low-performing areas, which also tend to be low income."
"The Senate’s version keeps Corbett’s most damaging cuts to social services, including the elimination of the General Assistance cash-grant program, some of which goes to very low-income children and domestic-violence victims. It restores some money to social services but retains a new block-grant structure, and keeps an $8 million cut to child care."
"...[F]reedom is what CCP provided for Lopez and Joyner, who graduated with associate’s degrees last week. Lopez, 26, earned a full ride to Bryn Mawr, and Joyner, 45, has been accepted to the University of Pennsylvania."
"The two Rachels are part of a regular team of volunteers from Liberti Church Fairmount who feed the homeless on park space along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The church is among the dozen or so groups that regularly hand out food — and now are embroiled in a battle with Mayor Nutter over whether they should be allowed to continue. "
"That means parents will have to scramble to feed children - many of them low-income - who are accustomed to free school meals but will not receive them. The district must cut $26 million by June and faces an additional $218 million deficit for 2012-13."
"As commentators have pointed out, food stamps have long been a favorite whipping boy of politicians who want to beat up on government spending.
But people should understand, food stamps help keep people from falling deeply into poverty."
"Down-on-their-luck residents of Tent City, a homeless enclave in a wooded area in Bristol Borough, have next to nothing — a few tarps, blankets, and clothes. Some have a heater to warm their shelter and a chair to sit outside."
"Organizers of the food stamp challenge said that while it doesn't come close to replicating the actual hardships faced by many low-income families, it does offer a glimpse into their lives."
"He noted that Pell grants, which help low-income students with higher education costs, are at the same maximum level of $5,550 as they were in 2010-11 and are to rise by $85 in 2013-14. Pell funding was cut $8 billion last year and nearly $2 billion this year, and now faces a funding shortfall, he said. "
"Many low-income single moms did indeed find work in the early years following welfare reform, which also coincided with a roaring economy and an increase in supports like the earned-income-tax Ccedit."
"'Any cut would be devastating to us,' said Adams, 33, a part-time cashier in Hunting Park who is married with three children. The family takes in around $18,000 annually, about $8,000 below the poverty level. Adams said she and her husband, Don, 35, a part-time sorter for UPS, eat little if anything by the end of the month, when the food stamps run out."
"Parent Dawn Hawkins says that has led to real turmoil at Hill, where virtually all students live below the poverty line and stable leadership is crucial. 'Changing principal to principal to principal - you can't get anything established like that,' said Hawkins, whose son, Khyrie Brown, is a sixth grader at Hill. 'We deserve a stable school so we can get to real learning, not starting over every few months.'"
"For a recent study on houses, kindergartners met residents from a homeless shelter, performed a play at LOVE Park about being homeless, and then raised $4,000 from the crowd for the shelter. The school consistently meets state academic benchmarks. "
"'He was just crashing for a couple of days,' McMichael said. 'What I couldn't understand was how they know who is on my lease.' More than 35 years ago the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Mount Laurel case that suburbs couldn't use zoning laws to keep out minority or low-income people. "
"Three years into economic recovery, African Americans, Latinos, and Asians continue to lag whites in employment and job security, according to a study by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank in Washington. "
"But at least once a month, every month, one thing has stayed the same: he has shown up at 5 a.m. on a Thursday to make sandwiches, serving the homeless as a volunteer with L.I.V.I.N.G. Ministry."
"In addition to an already difficult financial forecast, Ms. Lane said she learned on a recent trip to Harrisburg that the district probably will receive $2 million less in federal Title 1 money aimed at helping the math and reading achievement of low-income students."
They said other factors reflect distinct regional patterns, such as: excessive drinking rates are highest in the northern states; rates of teen births, sexually transmitted infections, and children in poverty are highest across the southern states; unemployment rates are lowest in the northeastern, Midwest, and central plains states; and motor vehicle crash deaths are lowest in the northeastern and upper Midwest states.
"As recently as five years ago, there were more students in the city's Catholic schools than in the charters. Today, Catholic-school enrollment is less than half of the charters' total. And there is poverty, which has plagued the city for decades. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the severity of the recent economic downturn, the share of Philadelphians classified as poor grew from 25 percent to 26.7 percent in the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures, again making Philadelphia one of the poorest big cities in the country. "
"Fewer than 20 percent of households in large sections of North and West Philadelphia are connected, according to the most recently available public data. And rates in much of the rest of the city, or in other pockets of poverty such as Camden, aren't much higher."
"In addition to disabled adults, the rollback in funding affects the homeless, people with mental-health and substance-abuse problems, HIV patients needing hospice care, children aging out of foster care, and those in the city-run nursing home."
"The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare on Wednesday extended the application deadline for the federal Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), but the move does not extend the moratorium on utility shutoffs as requested by a Philadelphia nonprofit law firm."
"Transition to today and an online article by Associated Press writer Lauren Radomski, who says Mitt Romney 'would be among the richest presidents in American history if elected - probably in the top four.' One reason for the wealth issue surfacing this year is due to the Occupy Wall Street movement."
"Some of these women found protection in other abuse shelters in nearby counties or states. Some went to city homeless shelters, which aren't equipped to help them break the cycle of abuse. But even those shelters are overburdened and could not take care of all of those who were turned away in Philadelphia."
"A 30-bed transitional-housing program in Camden isn't going to solve the homeless problem among military veterans at a time when a national survey has found tens of thousands of them need help. But the Home for the Brave, a proposed facility that Volunteers of America Delaware Valley would operate, is part of a federal strategy to drive down those numbers."
"The city has banned feedings in city parks, except for family picnics and public events, and is considering rules to protect the homeless from foodborne illness. Jenkins says the requirements, such as preparing items in approved facilities and attending food-safety classes, are a ploy to rid tourist areas of people deemed an eyesore."
"The report 'illustrates the vast disparity between the cost of obtaining safe, affordable housing and the wages that many Pennsylvanians, including the disabled, elderly, and low-income residents, actually earn,' said Liz Hersh, executive director of the housing alliance."
"Those who work with the indigent say many desperate enough to apply for general assistance struggle with extreme poverty, mental disorders, addiction, criminal histories, and lack of transportation, which complicate their ability to meet the requirement. If they mess up, they have to begin again, which delays the chance of receiving aid by at least a month."
"As someone who regularly works with the homeless downtown, I have seen firsthand the benefits of direct food service. Often times, homeless people cannot access official feeding locations because of physical disabilities, lack of knowledge about resources or a history of bad experiences with government-sponsored food providers."
"For the first time, Philadelphia will host a national conference on hunger. The event, scheduled for May 2 through 4, underscores two facts about the city: First, hunger is very much a part of life here, where 25 percent of the population lives in poverty. And, second, local antihunger advocates are organized in their efforts to deal with it."
"Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the Municipal Services Building across from City Hall on Thursday afternoon, with volunteers serving food to the homeless and participants filming the police filming them. One minor scuffle led to an arrest. "
"Mayor Nutter on Wednesday announced plans to end the feeding of large numbers of hungry and homeless people in city parks, saying he wanted to provide indoor meals instead.
The proposal is the latest volley in a long-running battle over how best to meet the needs of the city's many poor people that is played out on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway."
"A series of stories on Sunday and Monday by staff writer Mark Roth examined how the national debate over poverty shapes, and is shaped by, our definitions of freedom, community and mutual obligation. The debate occurs against the backdrop of growing income inequality in America -- the focus of the Occupy movement -- and popular disdain for government spending and regulation, the tea party's preoccupations."
"Officials described multiple synergistic possibilities, from the sharing of some medical equipment, waiting room, and lab, to treating children and adults in the same location. For the low-income population that both practices serve, this makes it more likely that some will be seen at all, a key potential benefit."
"Mr. Romney's remarks sent the liberal blogosphere into overdrive, but the reaction from other candidates was muted. President Barack Obama said that his sense of obligation to help the poor and others who are suffering had been shaped by his religious values, and suggested that eliminating tax breaks for the rich was a way of carrying out that obligation. Former Sen. Rick Santorum proclaimed, 'I care about 100 percent of America,' but said nothing specific about the problems of the poor or how he would address them."
"'The best thing the federal government can do to help the poor in America today is to pursue pro-growth policies that will create jobs, increase incomes, and restore America's promise,' Mr. Romney said through a spokesman. 'Our agenda, from an across-the-board tax rate cut to the aggressive expansion of domestic energy production, will do just that.'"
"Testifying at a two-hour PhillyStat meeting were people on the front lines of those areas that will be affected by Corbett's proposal to consolidate seven state appropriations - including services for mental health, intellectual disabilities, county child welfare, behavioral health, homeless help, and drug and alcohol treatment - into a single block grant, while slashing the money for these by 20 percent. "
"Affected by the cuts, Schwarz said, will be people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities; homeless individuals and families; children aging out of foster care; HIV patients needing hospice care; and elderly people in the city-run nursing home."
"In 'Losing Ground,' Murray claimed that government anti-poverty programs actually increased poverty because they rewarded laziness and promoted out-of-wedlock births. His analysis provided Ronald Reagan with support for the myth of the black welfare queen and her Cadillac. "
"Proposed Health Department regulations on outdoor food handouts in Philadelphia should be the catalyst for more community and church-based volunteer groups to move indoors with their laudable efforts to aid the homeless."
"There is plenty not to like in Gov. Corbett's proposed $27.1 billion budget plan, but his disregard for the state's most needy tops the list. Children would lose Medicaid benefits and thousands of adults would be tossed off General Assistance rolls, including the disabled, recovering drug addicts, and battered women."
"To cover a small part of the estimated $150 billion payroll-tax-cut extension, congressional negotiators are considering an offensive idea: taking a $1,800 tax credit away from undocumented immigrants who earn poverty wages."
"The Center for Law and Social Policy estimates drug testing the poor will cost between $20,000 and $77,000 per person. Under the law, the state will test welfare recipients with a drug felony conviction within the last five years and those on probation for drug felonies. The original bill looked to test all recipients of public funds."
"More than one-third of residents in Pennsylvania are living so close to the edge financially they don't have enough saved to live at the poverty level for three months if they lost a job or had some other emergency."
"Comcast's initiative to connect low-income families to cyberspace is facing criticism for restrictions that some say are excessive. Action United Pittsburgh, a nonprofit advocate for low-income residents, plans to go to Pittsburgh City Council chambers today to request a special hearing on the performance of Comcast's Internet Essentials program."
"I'm a food-stamp recipient challenged with cerebral palsy. Even though I also am a longtime board member of Just Harvest -- a nonprofit organization that advocates for sensible public policies against hunger and poverty -- and have a better-than-average understanding of public assistance programs, I was left confused and absolutely blindsided by this proposed change and the effects it may have on my benefits."
"Advocates for the poor and disabled say orders to quickly process a backlog of eligibility reviews, which has mushroomed to more than 700,000 cases, have pushed an already overwhelmed workforce over the edge"
"Kids living in poverty can face a lot of extra challenges that hurt learning... Every public school district in the midstate saw an increase in the percent of children living in poverty 2007-2010 and some saw percents nearly double, according to a report recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau."
"Fewer cans on food-pantry shelves. Fewer operators taking calls on a legal-advice hotline. Fewer spaces at day-care centers and shelters for battered women and the homeless."
"The Department of Public Welfare already requires a food stamp applicant to have income under 160 percent of the federal poverty level to be eligible ($22,350 is poverty level for a family of four). "
"A few weeks earlier, he said that youth in the 'inner city' often lack a strong work ethic. His solution? Let them clean toilets. Such language promotes the vicious and dangerous lie that the nation's poverty problem is rooted in the black community."
"Critics of the DPW plan say it would particularly punish elderly people saving for their burials, poor people trying to save enough money to get out of poverty, and working- and middle-class people who lost their jobs in the recession and may now have to liquidate assets to feed their families."
"The DPW edict, which has caught many by surprise, has been widely condemned by Philadelphia city officials, as well as by business leaders statewide and advocates for the poor. They point to federal statistics that show that Pennsylvania has one of the lowest food-stamp fraud rates in America: one-tenth of 1 percent."
"When it comes to the plight of the homeless, it is easier to avert one's eyes than to confront it. Fortunately, that's not the attitude at the Pittsburgh Mercy Family Health Center."
"Ms. Chillious, 43, is one of 16 previously homeless men and women who have recently moved into a small group of apartments constructed by Operation Safety Net, an agency that provides services such as medical treatment to homeless people."
"That money could be stimulating the local economy, benefiting both low-income people who need food as well as the merchants who sell it. So why is this occurring?"
"Money for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides cash grants to senior citizens and families who can't afford their heating bills, was cut by the federal government. As a result, the Department of Public Welfare - which operates the program in Pennsylvania - reduced the income levels at which households can qualify for assistance and lowered the benefit amounts."
"Television and Internet ads will juxtapose specific Obama promises of job gains, homeowner assistance, help for people in poverty, lower health insurance premiums and stricter White House ethics standards against government data and news clippings that paint a different reality."
"For more than two decades, Sister Mary, 58, has been in the forefront of an uphill battle to improve the lot of the destitute men, women, and children who wander and sleep on the streets. And she has achieved tangible results. Philadelphia has about 500 homeless people living on its streets. About 3,000 more, including 1,000 children, live in city shelters."
"She was thin and dirty, with matted blond hair. She pushed around a shopping cart and wore black Harley-Davidson boots. She hid her hair under a bandanna in the summer and a wool cap in the winter. She would sit on the sidewalk and panhandle with a cup, a sign - 'Homeless and hungry' - and her dog, Kenya."
"For one night, the Hanover siblings plan to be homeless. They will wear as many layers of clothing as they can to brace themselves against the elements and sleep in cardboard boxes in an effort to draw attention to the plight of those that live on the streets in Hanover."
"The center was designed by Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, LEAP Academy University Charter School founder and a Rutgers distinguished professor. Funded with grants, private donations, and appropriations from the Camden City School District, it serves low-income families from the city."
"Mr. Duncan is the only known homeless person to die on a Pittsburgh street this year. For those who gathered on the longest night of the year, as they do every Dec. 21, to remember the homeless men and women who have died on city streets, his death holds a bittersweet significance."
"The men, all homeless, are called 'guests' and treated as such. Care and comfort are provided by an exuberant, dedicated, rotating cadre of 200 volunteers from Villanova, Swarthmore, Penn, Temple, and Drexel, who cook, dine with guests, play games, and converse, with three to five students spending the night every night."
"The good news regarding homeless children in Pennsylvania is that their number has decreased since 2006, the last time the National Center on Family Homelessness compiled a national report on the topic. But the bad news is, the number increased after the economic slump of 2008."
"Anissa Mallory knows what it's like to live in poverty. The 20-year-old Kensington mother of 1-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, says she and her husband 'survive day-to-day,' but also have to sacrifice. 'It's hard to keep up with the bills and rent,' she said. Although they're able to feed the kids, she and her husband will forgo buying new clothes or sneakers."
"May's street survey of homeless people in Philadelphia - the most extensive ever - was triage to determine who needed help first. The findings were Dickensian: 528 people were living on the edge in parks, stairwells, doorways, alleys, and SEPTA concourses. They were encamped under the Market-Frankford El and I-95 overpasses."
"The small community of homeless people who were camped under the Interstate 95 overpass in Port Richmond packed up and left yesterday morning, as ordered to by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation."
"About 20 homeless people camped out in tents under the rumbling I-95 overpass in Port Richmond have to find a new home again after Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials served notice that they need to leave by 11 a.m. today."
“With a mandate from [Pennsylvania] Gov. Corbett and budget-conscious lawmakers to help squeeze $470 million in savings from the state's $10.6 billion in welfare spending, it's probably no surprise that the main focus of welfare officials has been on how they can trim the ranks of those who receive aid.”
"As politicians trade accusations of class warfare and corporate cronyism, and protesters occupy public property across the country, a persistent and complex conversation about income and opportunity in the U.S. is taking place on a swath of common ground."
"Earlier this month, the Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School senior sampled a different lifestyle when she slept in a cardboard box on the pavement one freezing night to get a feel for being homeless."
"Besides being a one-stop shop for health insurance, the exchange will be the only place where many of the people who will be newly eligible for insurance under the law - those making between 133 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level - can apply for the tax credits that are intended to make coverage affordable."
"In Pennsylvania, there are usually about 460 calls to a child abuse hotline per day, or 2,300 per five-day week, state Department Public Welfare spokeswoman Carey Miller said."
“Some steps have been taken but it may not be until 2015 that a $85.8 million system linking all counties and the state is fully operational, said Cathy Utz, director of the state Department of Public Welfare's bureau of policy, programs and operations.”
"The portion of American families living in middle-income neighborhoods has declined significantly since 1970, according to a new study, as rising income inequality left a growing share of families in neighborhoods that are mostly low-income or mostly affluent."
"But it turns out that 99 percent of America includes a hard-core faction of as many as 10-20 anarchists who've feuded with Occupy Philly's more moderate originators, as well as the city's large homeless population, which began to dominate the tent city at Dilworth Plaza as cold weather sent better-off protesters home."
"The years-long fight between Cherry Hill Township and the Fair Share Housing Center, a low-income-housing advocacy group, is to return to court Monday, with the dispute this time focusing on the township's accounting of its court-mandated, low-income-housing fund."
"An estimated 75 percent of the South Philadelphia children Fleisher serves live at or below the federal poverty line, and close to 50 percent speak English as a second language, Braun said."
"Legislation to help low-income families pay private school tuition is on its way to the Senate floor. In a 9-2 vote Tuesday, the Senate Education Committee put the controversial school-choice bill in position for a vote as soon as today. The legislation would provide vouchers for private schools and expand tax credits for businesses that contribute to scholarship programs for low- and middle-income children."
"The state Senate is poised to approve a school voucher program today, albeit a diet-sized version of the plan lawmakers considered this spring.
The program would offer taxpayer-funded vouchers to low-income students in poorly performing public schools, primarily in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Allegheny County."
"Around 12 million people are taking advantage of tax benefits averaging more than $1,200. And while recent changes make low-income families better able to take advantage of those credits, a growing proportion of the benefit goes to families earning more than $100,000."
"Pennsylvania officials are moving forward with plans to drug test some welfare recipients, but they say they do not know how much it will cost the state."
"Stress must be a constant companion when you're 90 years old, poor and homeless, and you've been driving - heaven help us, Barnes still drives - all over the city looking for an affordable, safe place to lay your weary head."
"That is a triumph for a school that takes all comers and has the numbers to prove it - 30 percent of students are English language learners, 20 percent require special-education services, and 75 percent live below the poverty line."
"Amanda Ralph is the kind of woman whose babies are prone to die. She is young and poor and dropped out of school after the ninth grade. But there is also an undeniable link between Ms. Ralph's race -- she is black -- and whether her baby will survive: nationally, black babies are more than twice as likely as white babies to die before the age of 1. Here in Pittsburgh, the rate is five times."
"Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania has received a $2.4 million contract over three years from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to run a program to address the impact of poverty on parents and children."
"For example, a voucher bill that came out of the Senate earlier this year, SB1, would start with low-income students in low-performing schools, but ultimately extend vouchers to all students, even those already in private schools. That obviously would cost far more than a more limited program."
"The district's Central Elementary, which serves some of the city's poorest students, made AYP for the first time. 'We are pretty proud of that,' Allentown acting Superintendent Russ Mayo said."
"To estimate unmet need, the authors crunched publicly available data for four variables that are known to increase the risk of missing preventive care: lack of health insurance, less than a high school education, income below 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($44,700 for a family of four), and no usual source of medical services."
"The exhausted mothers who come to the Second Street Learning Center here -- a day care provider for mostly low-income families -- speak of low wages, hard jobs and an economy gone bad."
"The numbers have been crunched. Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Sept. 13 confirmed that poverty's up in the nation. The poverty rate soared to its highest levels since 1993 with a record-breaking 46.2 million Americans, or 15.1 percent, living in poverty."
"Hard times are compelling 46 million Americans to use food stamps, a number up an astonishing 70 percent from four years ago. Now totaling about $65 billion a year, the recession-swelled food stamp program is drawing attention from some conservatives in Congress who wonder whether such spending should be corralled."
"More Philadelphians are living in poverty today than a decade ago, and the city's median household income has plummeted, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates being released today. This comes even as there are more city residents who have their high-school diploma or GED, and more who have a bachelor's degree."
"The results of the 2010 American Community Survey, being released publicly today for large cities and counties, reflected how the nation overall continued a negative trend between 2009 and 2010 in its poverty rate, health insurance coverage and median household income."
"Pregnant women, dependent children and their parents who live with them typically qualify for cash and other programs such as day care, Medical Assistance and SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. EBT cards seem an efficient method to distribute welfare benefits to recipients."
"The Fairfield County Health Department is looking for low-income residents who want to share in a $160,000 federal grant to replace their failed septic systems. Acting director Larry Hanna said only four or five people have shown interest in the offer so far. "
"For the fifth graders at St. James School in North Philadelphia, Wednesday was a day of firsts.
First day of class for the first students at the city's first Episcopal middle school for low-income children."
"AdultBasic was created as a solution. It allowed low-income workers to purchase health care insurance at a minimal cost. This was no handout. Participants paid premiums that were kept low thanks to the use of funds Pennsylvania receives in annual settlement payments from tobacco companies."