Tuesday, September 1, 2015

PathWays PA's Basic Center Program Helps Homeless Teen Girls Go Back to School

Many students are starting back to school this week. While some are anticipating meeting their new teachers and reconnecting with their friends to share stories of their summer, there are thousands of homeless teen girls wondering where they where they are going to sleep tonight, and whether they will be able to attend school at all.

PathWays PA's Basic Center Program provides emergency shelter services to help runaway and homeless teen girls between the ages of 13 and 17 years old with assistance stabilizing their lives, remaining engaged in school, and successfully returning home (when safe to do so) or transitioning to safe, permanent independent housing.

For more information about the Basic Center Program please contact LaSheena at 215-397-4287.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Still Time to Comment on Proposed Overtime Rules

In June 2015, the Department of Labor announced a proposed overtime rule which would extend overtime protections to over 13 million salaried workers, nearly 7 million of whom are women.

Overtime pay falls under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which was passed in 1938 to establish a standard work week and a rate of pay for employees who worked more hours than the standard. Administrative, executive, and professional employees were exempt from the overtime regulations.

In the almost 80 years since the law was passed, that exemption has created confusion and given some employers room to classify employees as exempt in order to avoid paying overtime. The Department of Labor proposition would simplify the rules by increasing the salary that workers must earn to be considered exempt and clarifying the rules for determining whether or not an employee can receive overtime.

You can read more about the proposal at http://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/NPRM2015/faq.htm. If you want to let the Department of Labor know your thoughts about the bill, you can submit comments until September 4, 2015 - visit http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=WHD-2015-0001 to learn more!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Who really uses SNAP?

Many people believe that the only people who use SNAP, commonly known as food stamps, are the extremely impoverished. These people are thought to have no other form of income and are totally desperate. However, you may be surprised at how many people use food stamps.

Venison leg on applesauce with dumbling and vegetable63% of kids in St. Louis are on SNAP, along with 36% of adults in that city. 3 in 10 people who live in the Bronx need federal assistance in filling (or attempting to fill) their pantries. People who are in school and trying to receive a higher education are on SNAP. As many millennials graduate and enter the workforce, they find that they still need to apply for SNAP.

Isn’t it the goal of everyone to be independent? To not have to rely on anyone and to forge their own path? With the current cycle of poverty, it seems as though the rich get richer while the poor stay poor, trying to keep up with increasing cost of living.

So, what is the solution? It is thought by many that once you have a diploma in your hand and a starting level job that you will ultimately have success. However, the truth is not nearly as idyllic. It is easy to be pessimistic when reality seems dim. But it is at this time when we overcome.

Difficulty and challenge are what drive the American dream, and when it seems hazy we must remember who we are as a whole. We are a nation of workers and fighters, of innovators and leaders, and of those who question the way things are in return for how things should be. It can only be asked of us to remember our goal.

Interested in PathWays PA Policy blog posts on similar topics?

Many Faces of Hunger

Hunger is a phenomenon that knows no race, gender, or age. Anyone can be affected by it, but the numbers show that certain groups feel the pain more than others.
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Veterans serve the country in a way that cannot be appreciated enough. They risk their lives in order to keep us safe. So, whys is it that 24% of veterans enrolled in VACS were identified as “food insecure?” The majority of veterans involved in VACS have issues with homelessness, income, drug abuse, hypertension, diabetes, depression, and HIV.

Migrant and seasonal workers disproportionately feel the attack of hunger. Because they are relatively young, the average worker is 33 years of age, they are predisposed to hunger. In addition, many workers are able to start at twelve, so their education is cut short at middle school. These are all factors that contribute to the food deficiency among seasonal workers.

In the Southwest one group of migrant workers reported that 82% of workers were food insecure. The geographic restrictions along with the fact that most do not have access for food refrigeration, supermarkets, and even stoves makes it extremely difficult for this group to break the cycle.

Pregnant women who are food insecure tend to be affected by stress, eating disorders, and postpartum weight. The weight and obesity issue can greatly affect a mother’s life. Lack of energy can be detrimental to both a mother and her children. These disadvantages were tied to specific socioeconomic situations and ethnicity/races,which is something that should not be true in a developed country.

No one is free of fear from hunger.

Interested in PathWays PA policy blog posts on similar topics?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


The FAMILY Act was introduced to Congress in March of this year. Under this bill, workers would have access to paid sick time. This recompense can help families in a great deal of ways.

Koortsthermometers-AFEC-0120-Lot240901+Hartmann-0123-Lot3499The way one would apply for “caregiving days” would be through the Office of Paid Family and Medical Leave, which is established in the Act. This Office would then deem eligibility for benefits. In order to be eligible, one must meet multiple requirements.

One must be insured under Social Security and held a job in the past 12 months before applying. The “caregiving” must have occurred from 90 days before to 30 days following the application. Monthly recompense can range from $580 to $4,000, depending on one’s income. The amount of benefits is a percentage of one’s wages, therefore a part-time or lower tier employee can still receive assistance, however their assistance may be of a lower monetary value than a full-time employee.

The bill covers gaps that FMLA creates. Many who qualify for time under FMLA do not take it because financially their families cannot handle even one day without income.

You may be asking, “How will we pay for this?” This will be funded by small employee and employer payroll contributions. The percentage is quite small, only .2%, which on average is $1.50 a week for the typical worker. Many employees under a similar law in other states do not even notice the cost while it is being taken out, but feel the benefits greatly when they need to care for themselves or for a family member.

 The passing of this bill can only benefit workers and employers. A happy and healthy workforce is a productive workforce. In addition, when an employee can trust their boss, the positive dynamic is felt by an entire organization.

Families would also feel the positive effects. When a parent can care for a sick child, that child recovers faster and get backs to school faster. Healthy children are more focused and less likely to have behavioral problems.

The ultimate goal of most parents is to give their children a better life than they lived. In caring for them and having a healthy relationship, children will be successful.

Is paid sick time a miracle cure? No. However, it IS an important step in ending the cycle of poverty that has consumed this nation. Which, in addition, is the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid sick time.

Contact your local legislators to get them to support the FAMILY Act. Make your voice heard!

Interested in PathWays PA Policy blog posts on similar topics?