Friday, January 29, 2010

Stand Up for Equity in Athletics

Take Action for PA Girls!

Contact your State Senator and State Representative, and urge them to support Senate Bill 890 and House Bill 2061, the legislation requiring Pennsylvania secondary schools to publicly disclose information pertaining to Title IX requirements. Find your state legislators and their contact information here.

Title IX is the federal law passed in 1972 that requires educational institutions to give equal treatment to male and female athletes. Despite great progress made in the 38 years since this law was enacted, high school girls still receive 1.3 million fewer participation opportunities than do boys, and evidence suggests that the money spent on girls' sports programs lags significantly behind the money spent on boys' programs.

More information can be found on the Women's Law Project's website.

National Girls and Women in Sports Day News Conference

Join State Representative Tim Briggs, State Senator Mary Jo White, and the Pennsylvania Commission for Women's Executive Director, Leslie Stiles, as they recognize National Girls and Women in Sports Day, an annual celebration honoring the achievements of girls and women in sports and encouraging the continued expansion of opportunities for girls and women to play sports.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 1:00pm
WHERE: Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg, PA

During this event, speakers will take the opportunity to discuss the importance of state legislation (SB 890 and HB 2061) that would require Pennsylvania secondary schools to disclose to the state information pertaining to Title IX requirements.


Image courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahakabmg/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

Today is the Anniversary of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act - Share Your Equal Pay Stories!

On January 29, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which clarified that every discriminatory paycheck or action restarts the clock for filing a pay discrimination complaint.

As more steps need to be taken on equal pay, this anniversary marks the perfect time to move forward.

Lilly Ledbetter plans to mark the day by visiting members of Congress to talk about the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will close loopholes that allow unequal pay to continue.

What will you do for the day?
Some more equal pay facts:
(image courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22789525@N00/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Paid Parental Leave is Guaranteed (Almost) Everywhere - A Guest Post

By Janet Walsh

Paid parental leave is a human right, one guaranteed by virtually every country. But not the United States!

When you gave birth or adopted your kids, did you take leave without pay? How did this affect breastfeeding, your health, your baby’s health, or your family’s finances? How did this affect the timing of your return to work? How else did the lack of paid parental leave affect you and your family?

Human Rights Watch, a nongovernmental human rights group, is hoping to interview parents about their experience with unpaid maternity and paternity leave, and the impact on their families. The interviews will be used for a report (using pseudonyms, not actual names of interviewees) and, depending on the findings, for making recommendations on US law and policy.

Please contact Human Rights Watch at walshj@hrw.org if you would like to share your story through a short interview. To learn more about Human Rights Watch, visit www.hrw.org.

Janet Walsh is Deputy Director of the Women’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Share Your Own State of the Union

Tonight, President Obama will give his first State of the Union Address. Before he shares his thoughts about the current status of our country, in particular health care reform, you can make your own voice heard.

Call your Senators and Representative today and let them know how you feel about the health care reform proposals. You can also call the White House at 202-456-1111.

It is crucial for our voices to be heard in this all-important national debate. Feel free to include your thoughts in the comment section below.


Image courtesy of:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

adultBasic Buy In Premium to See 80 Percent Increase

While the health care debate continues in Washington, a major change is occurring to adultBasic, a program that helps low income Pennsylvanians afford insurance.

Eligible Pennsylvanians without health care have been able to turn to adultBasic for coverage, even when they are on the waitlist. In Pennsylvania more than 40,000 are receiving the full benefits of the program, while the waitlist stands at over 300,000.

3,500 individuals on the waitlist have chosen to buy into the program at full cost until they can access the program at the $35 per month cost. The amount of time someone will spend on the wait list varies, depending on when people apply as well as funding. Generally those on the waitlist must wait at least one year. The rate to buy into the program is approximately $330 a month. However, in March, this buy-in amount will increase by 80 percent. Individuals on the waitlist will then have to pay $600 per month on average for coverage.

Individuals who buy into adultBasic use it to cover such needs as primary care, specialty care, hospitalization, emergency services, testing services, maternity care, and rehabilitation coverage. Unfortunately, buying into adultBasic to cover these services will become unaffordable for many individuals who currently rely on them or may need them in the future. For those who rely on this program and will not be able to afford it after March, many will have to turn to emergency rooms for treatment or take on medical debt.

Already in Pennsylvania, $2.5 billion is spent on uncompensated care. This cost is passed on to families and businesses in the form of a hidden tax that costs Pennsylvanians an estimated $900 a year extra on premiums. If more individuals are unable to afford insurance these hidden taxes will likely increase.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

February Will Be Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in Philadelphia


(Thanks to our friends at Women Against Abuse for sharing this information).

Did you know that one in three female teenagers is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner?

Or that 40 percent of teen dating violence incidents occur on school grounds?

On January 28, the city of Philadelphia will proclaim February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness month, with the above statistics (and more) making up part of the proclamation. You can join City Council as they make the proclamation: January 28, 2010, 10 a.m., Philadelphia City Hall, Room 400.

In February, Women Against Abuse will also be holding trainings for teachers and professionals around teen dating violence.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please seek help. There are many resources available, including the 24-Hour Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline(866-723-3014). The National Domestic Violence Hotline is also available- 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) 1.800.787.3224 (TTY).

Teenagers may also want to visit the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline website to learn more, including the signs of abuse. They can also call 1-866-331-9474 (1-866-331-8453 TTY) at any time to ask questions or get help. Online chat is available from 4pm – 2am CST.

If you are preparing to leave an abusive relationship, please visit the Women Against Abuse website to learn more. You can also review the Safe Card to learn how to plan to be safe in an abusive situation.

Monday, January 25, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: January 25, 2010

Federal

Urgent Request to Sign Petition: Support the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Today

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) recently launched a petition campaign supporting the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).

The CFPA passed in the House bill, but it is currently being debated in the Senate. Senators are debating whether to instead pass a different regulatory reform bill, which would likely result in only nominal changes in the financial system. The CFPA will be an independent consumer financial protection agency with enforcement authority that will increase transparency and serve as the sole agency dedicated entirely to consumer rights.

Please take a moment to sign the petition. For more information on banking reform, please click here.


Information/Events

Conference Call Invitation - How to Secure Unemployment Insurance Reforms for Women and Families in Your State

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) set aside $7 billion to encourage states to modernize their unemployment insurance programs and improve coverage for women. Since ARRA was enacted, more than half the states have put in place reforms that qualify them for incentive funds -- and expand eligibility and benefits for low-wage workers and women. But many states could be doing more to get jobless women and their families the help they need now.

WHEN: Thursday, January 28, at 2:00 p.m.

The goal of this conference call is to help connect advocates for women and families to coalitions that are working on unemployment insurance reforms in targeted states.

Registration for the call is required. To register, please click here.

During the conference call, experts from NWLC, NELP, and successful state campaigns for unemployment insurance reform will provide an overview of what these reforms are, why they are important to women, and what you can do to help.

If you have any questions, please contact the National Women’s Law Center by e-mailing Melanie Ross Levin at mrosslevin@nwlc.org.

For more information about the importance of unemployment insurance reforms, especially to women and families, please check out our fact sheet, Making Unemployment Insurance Work for Women: The Unfinished Agenda at http://www.nwlc.org/pdf/MakingUIWorkforWomen2010.pdf.


Earn It. Keep It. Save It! In Erie!

Every year it is estimated that several thousand tax payers, mostly families, throw away money when filing their federal income tax returns. They leave money on the table, money that is owed to them, money that can use to stabilize otherwise shaky financial situations.

The Earned Income Tax Credit Program (EITC) is designed to support low-to-moderate income working individuals and families. But plenty of working people simply aren't aware of the EITC or don't know if they're eligible.

But that's changing. Thanks to efforts from United Way and The Erie Community Foundation, Erie FREE Taxes and its local partners are working to keep more of families' hard-earned money in Erie County.

16 FREE tax preparation sites in the community will complete and file tax returns. These sites can help you get 100 percent of your tax refund quickly and easily - usually in less than 10 days. Wage earners with children and 2009 household incomes under $48,000 are eligible to have their taxes filed at an Erie FREE Taxes site and may also be eligible to claim the EITC. Join over 21,500 local households who claimed nearly $40 million in federal refunds in 2007.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 1-888-829-5680 or visit erieFREEtaxes.org.

To learn more about VITA sites in Philadelphia and Delaware County, please see the Free Tax Preparation from PathWays PA.


Girl Gov

Girl Gov is a one-day legislative shadowing program for girl’s grade 8-12 who live in Allegheny County. The Girl Gov shadowing program will take place on Monday, March 8th.
Participants in the program will be selected to shadow a state representative for a day in Harrisburg, PA. The Women and Girls Foundation will sponsor a day-long trip to Harrisburg for all participants. Transportation and meals will be included.

The goals of the Girl Gov initiative include:
  • Girls will learn about effective government practices;
  • The initiative will provide an opportunity for girls to explore a career in government service;
  • The initiative will help to influence girl’s future professional decisions and career aspirations;
  • The initiative will inspire girl’s to be more interested in politics;
  • The initiative seeks to make participating legislators more aware of issues effecting women and girls in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
To apply to be a Girl Gov shadow, please must fill out the application (word format or PDF format) by 5:00 Tuesday, February 2nd and submit it to:

The Women ad Girls Foundation
425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1860
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Fax: 412-227-0417
Email: changeagents@wgfpa.org


Town Hall Meeting: No Neighbor Left Behind

Some Philadelphia residents have made more money selling their home recently than they could have ever imagined. And new business openings in formerly underserved areas have been impressive. But rising values also mean that some may soon be forced out by increased taxes and property values.

In other neighborhoods and suburban towns, the issue is not gentrification, but disinvestment as some businesses and residents move out leaving abandoned houses and vacant land behind.

Attend a town hall meeting on organizing to prevent gentrification and disinvestment.

WHEN: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 5:30-7:30
WHERE: Bright Hope Baptist Church, 1601 North 12th Street (12th and Cecil B. Moore)
(Parking lot on site or take the Broad Street Subway to Cecil B. Moore and walk three blocks.)

Sign-up to attend: please click here.

Not only will you get to hear from four great local community organizing groups, but they compile all of the ideas generated at the town hall and publish them on a website. The recommendations can then be passed on to local legislative leaders and be used to guide the Bread & Roses Community Grantmaking Committee as it makes decisions about which groups to fund in their next grant cycle.

The town hall is an important chance for you to share your ideas and to pick up some tips to make your community a better place to live in.


PA Hunger Action Center Budget Briefing

On Thursday, February 11, Hunger Action will hold its 11th annual Budget Briefing in Harrisburg. Focused on food and nutrition program line items in the just-released Executive Budget, the briefing provides an opportunity to hear comments from representatives of the Governor’s Office, as well as House and Senate Appropriations Committees, regarding these line items, the broader state budget and the upcoming negotiations process. The session also marks the beginning of the state budget advocacy season, with attendees sharing ideas and strategies during an interactive luncheon.

If you are interested in registering, please contact Joe Quattrocchi at jquattrocchi@pahunger.org.


PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

Free Tax Preparation from PathWays PA

PathWays PA’s basic tax preparation service is designed to provide free tax filing for households whose income does not exceed $50,000. We can also assist tax filers who are disabled or who do not speak English as their first language.

If you or someone you know would like to have taxes prepared by the Self Sufficiency team, please call the numbers below to schedule an appointment.
Philadelphia

PathWays PA West Philly Office
3617 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia, PA
To schedule an appointment call Linda at 215-387-1470.
Mondays 10am – 2pm (starting February 1st)
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2pm -6pm

PathWays PA EARN Center
926 W. Allegheny Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19133
To schedule an appointment call 215-226-2600.
Wednesdays and Fridays 9:30am -12:30pm (starting January 27th)
Saturdays January 30 and February 6 10am - 2pm


Delaware County

PathWays PA Administrative Office
310 Amosland Road Holmes, PA 19043
To schedule an appointment call Ann DelCollo at 610-543-5022.
Mondays and Wednesdays 2pm - 6pm
Fridays 10am-2pm (starting January 29th)

J. Lewis Crozer Library
620 Engle Street Chester, PA 19013
To schedule an appointment call 610-494-3454.
Wednesdays 4pm - 7pm (starting January 27th)
The following Saturdays:
Feb 13, March 6, April 10 9:30am -12:30pm

Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union
Wharf at Rivertown- 2501 Seaport Drive, Chester
To schedule an appointment call 610-619-7000.
The following Tuesdays:
January 26, February 9, February 23, March 9, March 23
10am - 2pm

Please feel free to refer your eligible friends and family to our services!


Change a Life: Become a Mentor to Foster Youth

The Achieving Independence Center (AIC) wants caring and supportive adults willing to build a friendship with a foster care youth. You can be that big brother or sister a youth in foster care needs by sharing your life experiences, time, and friendship. Having a shoulder to lean on when times get tough helps young people stay focused and not lose hope.

Whether it is providing them with caring support, friendship, or helping them with their aspirations (personal and professional), the AIC Mentoring Program can match you with a young person between the ages of 16-21 who could benefit from your knowledge and experience.

The AIC is a “one-stop” center designed to assist young people ages 16-21 achieve their future goals of self-sufficiency. The AIC is dedicated to providing support and real life tools for youth who want to make an investment in their future!

Help a youth build their self-esteem and achieve their personal goals. You make a difference by simply getting involved.

For additional information please call 215-574-9194.


Take Action on Earned Sick Time

48 percent of workers in the United States have no access to earned sick time, which means that if they are sick (or if their family members are sick) they must choose between working sick or losing their pay (or their jobs). If you are one of the 48 percent who have no earned sick time - or one of the 52 percent who do - please take our survey and tell us more!

There are bills at the federal, state, and local level to support earned sick time for everyone - here is what you can do:
  • Support the Federal Healthy Families Act! Under The Healthy Families Act, workers would have the opportunity to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 7 days of sick time per year. This time could be used to care for workers or their families, or could be used as "safe days" in cases of domestic violence. Tell your legislators that we need paid sick days now!
  • Support the paid sick days campaign in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia! Become our friend! Show your support for earned sick time by visiting Facebook. You can support earned sick time in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia. Support both!
  • If you don't live in Pennsylvania, you can still support earned sick time. Visit The National Partnership for Women and Families website to learn more about campaigns in your area.
  • Tell us your story! Are you a parent who lost their job to stay home with a sick child? Are you a business owner who provides/supports paid sick days? Email your story to us at policy@pathwayspa.org.
  • Call your Representatives! If you live in Philadelphia, call your City Councilperson and urge them to support "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces," which guarantees earned sick time for all working Philadelphians. Not sure who your City Councilperson is? Click on this link and type in your home address to find out which district you live in: http://www.phila.gov/citycouncil/districtform/districtform.html.
  • If you live in Pennsylvania (but outside of Philadelphia), call your state Representative. Tell him/her you support earned sick time for workers. Not sure who your Representative is? Simply type your address here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm.


Do You Need Help Paying for Post-Secondary Education?

PathWays PA offers Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), a matched savings program that offers financial education while helping you save for school. Through the program, your savings can be matched at a rate of three-to-one. If you save $500, we will give you an additional $1500 to go towards your school expenses.

Applicants must meet program income guidelines, be working (full or part time), and be enrolled or accepted into an accredited institution.

If you are interested or have any questions, please e-mail Kelly Binder at kbinder@pathwayspa.org.


Need Assistance With Public Benefits Applications?

PathWays PA provides assistance to those who need help applying for food stamps or other benefits. For further information, you can contact our office in Philadelphia 215-387-1470 or Delaware County 610-543-5022.

For more information about the services provided by PathWays PA please visit our website.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quality, Affordable Health Care Starting at Just $68.67 a Month

Thank you to our friends at the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN) for putting these charts together. They provide a side-by-side comparison of the Affordability Provisions contained in the U.S. House and Senate health care reform bills, based on a family of three.

Premiums – The table compares premiums for subsidized families under the House and Senate bills.


Family Income
House Bill
Senate Bill
Income as % of FPL
Annual Salary
Annual Premium
Monthly Premium
Annual Premium
Monthly Premium
150%
$27,465
$824
$68.67
$1,263
$105.25
200%
$36,620
$2,014
$167.83
$2,307
$192.25
300%
$54,930
$5,493
$457.75
$5,383
$448.58
400%
$73,240
$8,789
$732.41
$7,178
$598.16




Out of Pocket Expenses – The table compares annual out-of-pocket maximums for subsidized families under the House and Senate bills.


Family Income
House Bill
Senate Bill
Income as % of FPL
Annual Salary
Annual out-of-pocket cap
Monthly out-of-pocket cap
Annual out-of-pocket cap
Monthly out-of-pocket cap
150%
$27,465
$1,000
$83.3
$3,867
$322.25
200%
$36,620
$2,000
$166.66
$3,867
$322.25
300%
$54,930
$8,000
$666.66
$5,800
$483.33
400%
$73,240
$10,000
$833.33
$7,733
$644.41

Overall Health Care Costs – The table compares the total potential health care costs (premiums plus out-of pocket caps) for subsidized families under the House and Senate bills.


Family Income
House Bill
Senate Bill
Income as % of FPL
Annual Salary
Annual Total
Monthly Total
Annual Total
Monthly Total
150%
$27,465
$1,824
$152
$5,130
$427.5
200%
$36,620
$4,014
$334.5
$6,174
$514.5
300%
$54,930
$13,493
$1124.61
$11,183
$931.92
400%
$73,240
$18,789
$1565.75
$14,911
$1242.83


Data comes from Community Catalyst and PICO National Network

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: January 19, 2010

State

PA Budget Continues to See Changes

With the FY2010-2011 budget address drawing near, work on the FY2009-2010 budget has not yet drawn to a close. After 101 days without a budget and the signing of a table games bill just two weeks ago, funds have now been moved from budgetary items to a budgetary reserve, which means they cannot be spent. Cuts include:
32 line items, including New Choices New Options, have been fully cut.

These changes to the budget have been made following lower state revenues than projected. Budget cuts are expected to save about $161 million, with Governor Rendell projecting a deficit of $450 million by year's end. The remaining budget gap is expected to be made up with gaming license fees and some prior-year money.


Information/Events

Free Tax Preparation from PathWays PA

PathWays PA’s basic tax preparation service is designed to provide free tax filing for households whose income does not exceed $50,000. We can also assist tax filers who are disabled or who do not speak English as their first language.

If you or someone you know would like to have taxes prepared by the Self Sufficiency team, please call the numbers below to schedule an appointment.

Philadelphia

PathWays PA West Philly Office
3617 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia, PA
To schedule an appointment call Linda at 215-387-1470.
Mondays 10am – 2pm (starting February 1st)
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2pm -6pm

PathWays PA EARN Center
926 W. Allegheny Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19133
To schedule an appointment call 215-226-2600.
Wednesdays and Fridays 9:30am -12:30pm (starting January 27th)
Saturdays January 30 and February 6 10am - 2pm

Delaware County

PathWays PA Administrative Office
310 Amosland Road Holmes, PA 19043
To schedule an appointment call Ann DelCollo at 610-543-5022.
Mondays and Wednesdays 2pm - 6pm
Fridays 10am-2pm (starting January 29th)

J. Lewis Crozer Library
620 Engle Street Chester, PA 19013
To schedule an appointment call 610-494-3454.
Wednesdays 4pm - 7pm (starting January 27th)
The following Saturdays:
Feb 13, March 6, April 10 9:30am -12:30pm

Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union
Wharf at Rivertown- 2501 Seaport Drive, Chester
To schedule an appointment call 610-619-7000.
The following Tuesdays:
January 26, February 9, February 23, March 9, March 23
10am - 2pm

Please feel free to refer your eligible friends and family to our services!


Need Assistance With Public Benefits Applications?

PathWays PA provides assistance to those who need help applying for food stamps or other benefits. For further information, you can contact our office in Philadelphia 215-387-1470 or Delaware County 610-543-5022.

For more information about the services provided by PathWays PA please visit our website.


Ways to Help Haiti


On the evening of January 12th, a major 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. It is the most powerful quake to hit the impoverished country in more than 200 years. Reports describe the destruction as affecting as much as 70 percent of the buildings, with road debris making emergency response difficult. The Prime Minister reported on January 13 that hundreds of thousands of lives may have been lost.

You can help people affected by donating to the United Way Worldwide Disaster Fund. Gifts to the Fund support long-term recovery efforts to rebuild lives and infrastructure devastated by disaster and to address educational, financial and health-related challenges.

Additionally, interested donors can visit InterAction to view its list of credible responding agencies for international emergencies, and Give.org or Charity Navigator to get valuable information on making informed decisions when supporting charities.


Healthy Philadelphia Community Meeting

Join the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to share your health care stories in the first Healthy Philadelphia Community Meeting.

WHEN: January 28th – 6:30
WHERE: Church of the Advocate, 18th Street and Diamond, Philadelphia

Healthy Philadelphia is a non-profit organization dedicated to working to solve heath care problems Philadelphians face. It grew out of a voter mandate, which passed by 87 percent in North Philadelphia, that required the Department of Health to develop a plan for universal health care.

Please attend and tell your story about the challenges you or your family have faced in getting high quality on-going health care. Please contact Mayla Henderson at 215-686-5263 or mayla.henderson@phila.gov if you would like to share your story.


Working Families Resource Summit

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

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

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

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


Start Small, Think Big: Budgeting to Save

The Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley is presenting a motivational workshop on budgeting, savings, and designing a spending plan.

WHEN: Tuesday, February 2nd 6:00-7:00
WHERE: J. Lewis Crozer Library, 620 Engle Street, Chester

Become a Saver! This workshop, sponsored by Philadelphia Saves, will provide you with the tools, resources and motivation you need to begin saving. You can save for retirement, for college, a down payment on a home or car - you name the goal. No matter how much or how little you earn, the habits and benefits of saving can be a part of your life! Part of learning to save is budgeting. One must start small, and always, think big!

For more information or to register, click here, call 215-563-5665 ext. 3328, or email philasaves@cccsdv.org. Registration is required.


PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

Change a Life: Become a Mentor to Foster Youth

The Achieving Independence Center (AIC) wants caring and supportive adults willing to build a friendship with a foster care youth. You can be that big brother or sister a youth in foster care needs by sharing your life experiences, time, and friendship. Having a shoulder to lean on when times get tough helps young people stay focused and not lose hope.

Whether it is providing them with caring support, friendship, or helping them with their aspirations (personal and professional), the AIC Mentoring Program can match you with a young person between the ages of 16-21 who could benefit from your knowledge and experience.

The AIC is a “one-stop” center designed to assist young people ages 16-21 achieve their future goals of self-sufficiency. The AIC is dedicated to providing support and real life tools for youth who want to make an investment in their future!

Help a youth build their self-esteem and achieve their personal goals. You make a difference by simply getting involved.

For additional information please call 215-574-9194.


Take Action on Earned Sick Time

48 percent of workers in the United States have no access to earned sick time, which means that if they are sick (or if their family members are sick) they must choose between working sick or losing their pay (or their jobs). If you are one of the 48 percent who have no earned sick time - or one of the 52 percent who do - please take our survey and tell us more!

There are bills at the federal, state, and local level to support earned sick time for everyone - here is what you can do:
  • Support the Federal Healthy Families Act! Under The Healthy Families Act, workers would have the opportunity to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 7 days of sick time per year. This time could be used to care for workers or their families, or could be used as "safe days" in cases of domestic violence. Tell your legislators that we need paid sick days now!
  • Support the paid sick days campaign in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia! Become our friend! Show your support for earned sick time by visiting Facebook. You can support earned sick time in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia. Support both!
  • If you don't live in Pennsylvania, you can still support earned sick time. Visit The National Partnership for Women and Families website to learn more about campaigns in your area.
  • Tell us your story! Are you a parent who lost their job to stay home with a sick child? Are you a business owner who provides/supports paid sick days? Email your story to us at policy@pathwayspa.org.
  • Call your Representatives! If you live in Philadelphia, call your City Councilperson and urge them to support "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces," which guarantees earned sick time for all working Philadelphians. Not sure who your City Councilperson is? Click on this link and type in your home address to find out which district you live in: http://www.phila.gov/citycouncil/districtform/districtform.html.
  • If you live in Pennsylvania (but outside of Philadelphia), call your state Representative. Tell him/her you support earned sick time for workers. Not sure who your Representative is? Simply type your address here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm.

Do You Need Help Paying for Post-Secondary Education?

PathWays PA offers Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), a matched savings program that offers financial education while helping you save for school. Through the program, your savings can be matched at a rate of three-to-one. If you save $500, we will give you an additional $1500 to go towards your school expenses.

Applicants must meet program income guidelines, be working (full or part time), and be enrolled or accepted into an accredited institution.

If you are interested or have any questions, please e-mail Kelly Binder at kbinder@pathwayspa.org.


Change a Life: Become a Mentor to Foster Youth

The Achieving Independence Center (AIC) wants caring and supportive adults willing to build a friendship with a foster care youth. You can be that big brother or sister a youth in foster care needs by sharing your life experiences, time, and friendship. Having a shoulder to lean on when times get tough helps young people stay focused and not lose hope.

Whether it is providing them with caring support, friendship, or helping them with their aspirations (personal and professional), the AIC Mentoring Program can match you with a young person between the ages of 16-21 who could benefit from your knowledge and experience.

The AIC is a “one-stop” center designed to assist young people ages 16-21 achieve their future goals of self-sufficiency. The AIC is dedicated to providing support and real life tools for youth who want to make an investment in their future!

Help a youth build their self-esteem and achieve their personal goals. You make a difference by simply getting involved.

For additional information please call 215-574-9194.

Free Tax Preparation from PathWays PA


PathWays PA’s basic tax preparation service is designed to provide free tax filing for households whose income does not exceed $50,000. We can also assist tax filers who are disabled or who do not speak English as their first language.

If you or someone you know would like to have taxes prepared by the Self Sufficiency team, please call the numbers below to schedule an appointment.

Philadelphia

PathWays PA West Philly Office
3617 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia, PA
To schedule an appointment call Linda at 215-387-1470
Mondays 10am – 2pm (starting February 1st)
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2pm -6pm

PathWays PA EARN Center
926 W. Allegheny Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19133
To schedule an appointment call 215-226-2600
Wednesdays and Fridays 9:30am -12:30pm (starting January 27th)
Saturdays January 30 and February 6 10am - 2pm


Delaware County

PathWays PA Administrative Office
310 Amosland Road Holmes, PA 19043
To schedule an appointment call Ann DelCollo at 610-543-5022
Mondays and Wednesdays 2pm - 6pm
Fridays 10am-2pm (starting January 29th)

J. Lewis Crozer Library
620 Engle Street Chester, PA 19013
To schedule an appointment call 610-494-3454
Wednesdays 4pm - 7pm (starting January 27th)
The following Saturdays:
Feb 13, March 6, April 10 9:30am -12:30pm

Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union
Wharf at Rivertown- 2501 Seaport Drive, Chester
To schedule an appointment call 610-619-7000
The following Tuesdays:
January 26, February 9, February 23, March 9, March 23
10am - 2pm

Please feel free to refer your eligible friends and family to our services!

Friday, January 15, 2010

LIHEAP Season Extended; Crisis Grants Available

As one newspaper article puts it, there is good news and bad news on the LIHEAP front. The good news for those who need LIHEAP, which stands for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, is that the season has been extended until April 2, 2010 (originally it was scheduled to close on March 15). Additionally, the crisis grant season has now been opened, making accessible additional funding for those in emergency situations such as broken heating equipment, lack of fuel, or danger of heating shut-off. Governor Rendell also announced an additional payment of LIHEAP funds in February for those who have already qualified for the service.

The bad news is that LIHEAP is still reaching fewer people this year due to a lower eligibility level compared to previous seasons. In 2008, families earning below 210 percent of the Federal Poverty Level- or about $44,520 for a family of four- could access the program. This year, only families earning below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($33,075 for a family of four) can access it. As reported in December, 11,523 PGW customers have received LIHEAP grants this year, only 1/3rd the amount of customers with grants in 2008. Peco reported "that 4,000 of its customers had received grants by Dec. 1, down from 19,000 a year ago."

Additionally, with so many households newly unemployed, there may be many eligible families who have never before used LIHEAP.

To see if you qualify, visit the Department of Public Welfare's LIHEAP site. Even though the season has been extended, there is a limited amount of funding available, so please apply as soon as possible. DPW's recommendation for the fastest way to apply is through the COMPASS website. For more information, you can contact your local county assistance office or the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095, Mondays through Fridays. Individuals with hearing impairments may call the TDD number at 1-800-451-5886. Individuals living in Philadelphia interested in being prescreened for LIHEAP and other programs may call PathWays PA at 215-387-1470, and those in Delaware County can call PathWays PA at 610-543-5022.

(photo: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:VBRITTO-building-radiator-Paris.jpg // http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ )

H1N1 Walk-In Clinic - No Appointment Necessary


(From the PA Department of Health)

The Pennsylvania Department of Health will continue its vaccination efforts at 60 state health centers every Saturday through February 6, from 9 a.m. to noon. Appointments are not needed. In addition, staff will be holding immunization clinics on specific days during the week.

For more information and to find a clinic, call 1-877-PA HEALTH. For more information about H1N1, visit www.H1N1inPA.com or call 1-877-PA HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28798135@N07/ / CC BY-NC 2.0)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

PA Budget Continues to See Changes

With the FY2010-2011 budget address drawing near, work on the FY2009-2010 budget has not yet drawn to a close. After 101 days without a budget and the signing of a table games bill just last week, funds have now been moved from budgetary items to a budgetary reserve, which means they cannot be spent. Cuts include:
32 line items, including New Choices New Options, have been fully cut.

These changes to the budget have been made following lower state revenues than projected. Budget cuts are expected to save about $161 million, with Governor Rendell projecting a deficit of $450 million by year's end. The remaining budget gap is expected to be made up with gaming license fees and some prior-year money.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tax Credits: What Families Need to Know - A Webinar

(From our friends at the National Women's Law Center)

Boys & Girls Clubs of America and The National Women’s Law Center bring you:

Tax Credits: What Families Need to Know.

Receive an explanation of some of the credits available for Families, including the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and the new Making Work Pay Credit. Receive tips for sharing information about tax credits with families and come learn how families can receive THOUSANDS of dollars in credits.

Title:
TAX Credits: What Families Need to Know!

Date:
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Time:
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/539139467

(image courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tracy_olson/ / CC BY-SA 2.0 )

January 29 is the Anniversary of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, but We Still Need Equal Pay

While January 29 marks the one-year anniversary of when President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, we still have work to do regarding equal pay. The Ledbetter Act clarified that every discriminatory paycheck or action restarts the clock for filing a pay discrimination complaint.

The passage of the Ledbetter Act was one step forward for women, but more steps need to be taken. Bills such as the Paycheck Fairness Act, which close loopholes that allow unequal pay to continue, are needed to stop pay discrimination.

Currently, women earn about 78 cents on the dollar compared to men, and a recent study by the Keystone Research Center pinpoints the gender wage gap in Pennsylvania at about $4 per hour. Because of this gap, women (and their families) lose between $400,000 and $2,000,000 due to unequal pay. During the recession, as more families are relying on women's income, the need for equal pay is even more critical.

So on January 29, please take a moment to celebrate the Ledbetter Act by calling your legislators, thanking them for what they have done so far, and asking them to continue working towards paycheck fairness.

(image courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22789525@N00/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Phone Bank to Protect Abortion Rights!

This week Raising Women’s Voices of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a coalition which includes PathWays PA, will be holding a phone bank to protect women's access to abortion in the final health care reform bill.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 13 - 5:30pm to 8:00pm
WHERE: WOMEN’S WAY, 123 South Broad Street, Suite 1399, Philadelphia

Registration is required. Please RSVP to rfoley@womensway.org.

If you can't phone bank, you can still raise your voice!

In the coming weeks the House and Senate Health Care Bills will be combined into a single bill that will make it to the President’s desk to be signed into law. We must all take the time to make sure our voices are heard before Congress finalizes a health reform bill!

What you can do: Contact your Senators and Representative and urge them to vote against restrictions on abortion access.

For more information, visit the Raising Women's Voices website.

Image courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bitchbuzz/ / CC BY 2.0

Monday, January 11, 2010

Quit Horsing Around - We Need Paid Sick Days for All Workers

In New York City the Health Department has proposed a new rule which would call for horses that are hitched to carriages that carry tourists to be given five weeks of job protected vacations every year. The horses would continue to enjoy their standard payment, room and board, during this time. This new regulation is not just for the humane treatment of animals but also the time off would likely prolong the horse’s work-life and enhance their productivity.

As discussed by Jodie Levin-Epstein in the Huffington Post:
Vacations are good for your health. And, you don't need to get away to any fancy Caribbean retreat to get the benefit of time-off from work. But it helps if you are a horse. In New York City, that is. It's time for Congress and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to pony-up to the value of vacation for two-legged workers.
In the United States, there is no minimum standard for even paid sick leave, leaving 48 percent of workers have no paid sick days, which includes 79 percent of childcare workers and 78 percent of food-service workers.

How can this be resolved? At the Federal level, The Healthy Families Act (S910, HR1542) proposes up to 7 days of paid sick leave for full time employees, with pro-rated leave for part-time workers. In Pennsylvania and Philadelphia similar legislation has also been introduced.

Please contact your legislators today and tell them to quit horsing around and give workers this basic right to be able to stay home when sick. Click on the links below for their contact information.
You can also tell your story! Are you a parent who lost their job to stay home with a sick child? Are you a business owner who provides/supports paid sick days? Are you a server or child care worker who has gone to work sick out of fear of losing your job? Share your story in the comment section below or email your story to us at policy@pathwayspa.org.

Image courtesy of: http://www.lovetoeatandtravel.com/Site/US/NY/Fun/carriage.htm

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: January 11, 2010

State Budget Update – Table Game Legislation Signed

With only a month to go before the next year’s budget objectives are announced, the Governor signed a bill legalizing table games at Pennsylvania’s slot casinos on Thursday. The table games include poker, blackjack, and roulette.

The new law is expected to generate millions in license fees to close a gap in the current year's budget, and to produce revenues for state and local governments in future years. Passage of the bill also prevents the Governor’s proposed layoff of 1,000 state workers.

According to the bill, table games would be taxed at a rate of 16 percent, with 14 percent going directly to the state and 1 percent to each the casino's county and its municipality. The state's share would go to the general fund to fill budget shortfalls until the state's Rainy Day Fund reaches $750 million. After that, all table-game revenue will go toward property-tax relief. $3 million will be set aside for gambling and other addiction treatment programs.

It is expected to take between six to nine months to get the table games up and running.


Federal

Action Needed: Two New Bills to Help Ensure Children Do Not Go Hungry

In preparation for the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, members of Congress are introducing child nutrition-related legislation, which may be incorporated in the final bill.

The Universal Classroom Breakfast Expansion Act (H.R. 4325) establishes a grant program to help schools with high numbers of low-income children establish universal classroom breakfast programs. Universal classroom breakfast - where all children can eat a free breakfast in their classroom at the beginning of the school day – has been proven to boost participation among low-income children. This bill would ensure that more low-income children have access to a healthy breakfast at school.
  • Individuals Take Action: Send a letter asking your Member of Congress to co-sponsor the Universal Classroom Breakfast Expansion Act.
  • Organizations Take Action: Sign on to this letter in support of the Universal Classroom Breakfast Expansion Act.
The Ensuring All Students Year-round (EASY) Access to Meals and Snacks Act (H.R. 4274) would allow local government agencies and private nonprofit organizations to feed children meals and snacks 365 days a year - after school, on weekends and school holidays, and during the summer - through the Summer Food Service Program. This bill would expand the year-round program that currently is being piloted in California to all states. The bill also would allow meals and snacks to be served after school, on weekends, and during school holidays through the year-round program. Currently, only snacks can be served through the California pilot.
  • Individuals Take Action: Send a letter asking your Member of Congress to co-sponsor the Ensuring All Students Year-round (EASY) Access to Meals and Snacks Act.
  • Organizations Take Action: Sign on to this letter in support of the Ensuring All Students Year-round (EASY) Access to Meals and Snacks Act.

Information/Events

Free Webinar - Federal and Local Efforts to Modernize the Poverty Measure

In the United States, we measure poverty by using a methodology developed in the 1960s. The Federal Poverty Level is set by multiplying the cost of food by three – a factor derived from data indicating that families spent 1/3 of their income on food. Since then, the cost of food has fallen to less than one-seventh of a family’s budget, while the cost of housing, child care, health care, and transportation have grown disproportionately. Despite these changes in family consumption, the poverty levels have been updated annually for inflation but have otherwise remained unchanged. Efforts to develop a modern poverty measure that reflects current spending patterns, geographic differences in the cost of living, and government tax and benefit policies are underway.

WHEN: Monday, January 11th 1:30 to 3:00

Join the National Center for Children in Poverty for this webinar as the following questions are tackled:
  • How do we currently measure poverty in the United States?
  • What are the problems with the current measure?
  • What are alternative measures and what difference would they make?
  • What is the federal Measuring American Poverty Act of 2009?
  • What are the implications of a revised measure on current poverty rates?
  • What are the key issues that remain under debate?
  • What are some models for revising how we measure poverty?
  • How does New York City’s Center for Economic Opportunity measure poverty?
  • How and why does poverty in New York City look different using the NYC CEO measure?
  • What big picture lessons emerge from this new look on poverty?
To register for this event please click here.


Save the Date: Hunger Action’s 11th Annual Budget Briefing

Please mark your calendar for Hunger Action’s 11th Annual Budget Briefing. The meeting will be held from 10 am to 3 pm (times approximate) on Thursday, February 11 in Harrisburg.

Meeting details and registration information is forthcoming.


National Institute for Literacy - Achieving Student Success: Transitions to Post-secondary Education

Transitioning students through their educational experience and on to post-secondary education can be a challenging process. Join the National Institute for Literacy’s live Webcast. Learn what local programs, in partnership with colleges, are doing to ensure that students are ready to move from adult literacy classes to post-secondary education and beyond.

WHEN: January 20 – 1:00-2:30

In this Webcast, designed for program administrators, experts will explore successful student transitions as well as discuss current research, state office technical assistance, and adult education program perspectives.

Topics Include:
  • Elements of successful transitions programs
  • Research-based and best practices for providing transitions programming
  • Forming college-adult education partnerships
  • How states support transitions programming
  • Resources on transitions to post-secondary education
Click here to register for the webcast.


PA Career Link Delaware County Newsletters


The PA CareerLink of Delaware County has two monthly e-newsletters that are useful for businesses and job seekers:
  • The PA CareerLink Delaware County Workforce Development Newsletter is created specifically for businesses in Delaware County. The newsletter gives important information on local and national business trends.
  • The Delaware County PA CareerLink Connection is written for job seekers in Delaware County. This newsletter gives tips and hints to help residents of Delaware County find a job.
To sign up for either newsletter, please send your e-mail and which newsletter(s) you would like to receive to sarah.careerlink@gmail.com.


Blankets Available for Homeless People

The Defense Supply Center of Philadelphia (DSCP) has been funded to provide blankets to non-profit and/or local government agencies serving homeless people. In the past, the blankets were the "disaster" type of blankets that were made of 30% recycled wool and 70% man-made fibers, and they were gray in color. Please follow the instructions below to receive the blankets.

1. The non-profit or local government agency must send a letter to DSCP requesting the blankets. The request should:
  • Be on organizational letterhead.
  • State the quantity of blankets needed.
  • List a point of contact and that person's phone number.
  • Show a "Ship to" address.
  • Show a FAX number.
2. The requesting organization must send a letter of endorsement along with the request for blankets. The letter may be from a state, local or federal organization stating that the requesting organization is serving the homeless. (Examples of agencies from which the letter of endorsement might come: Veteran's Administration, any federal organization, local government, police department, state agency, Congressional staff, etc.)

3. The DSCP will fax a disclosure statement for the requesting organization to sign. This statement says that the organization requesting the blankets will not sell the blankets or make a profit from them.

4. Once the disclosure statement is signed and returned to DSCP, the request for the blankets will be processed.

5. Mail the request to:
Defense Supply Center Philadelphia
Attn: DSCP-COEH (Jane Koons, Bldg. 6)
700 Robbins Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19111-5096


PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

Take Action on Earned Sick Time

48 percent of workers in the United States have no access to earned sick time, which means that if they are sick (or if their family members are sick) they must choose between working sick or losing their pay (or their jobs). If you are one of the 48 percent who have no earned sick time - or one of the 52 percent who do - please take our survey and tell us more!

There are bills at the federal, state, and local level to support earned sick time for everyone - here is what you can do:
  • Support the Federal Healthy Families Act! Under The Healthy Families Act, workers would have the opportunity to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 7 days of sick time per year. This time could be used to care for workers or their families, or could be used as "safe days" in cases of domestic violence. Tell your legislators that we need paid sick days now!
  • Support the paid sick days campaign in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia! Become our friend! Show your support for earned sick time by visiting Facebook. You can support earned sick time in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia. Support both!
  • If you don't live in Pennsylvania, you can still support earned sick time. Visit The National Partnership for Women and Families website to learn more about campaigns in your area.
  • Tell us your story! Are you a parent who lost their job to stay home with a sick child? Are you a business owner who provides/supports paid sick days? Email your story to us at policy@pathwayspa.org.
  • Call your Representatives! If you live in Philadelphia, call your City Councilperson and urge them to support "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces," which guarantees earned sick time for all working Philadelphians. Not sure who your City Councilperson is? Click on this link and type in your home address to find out which district you live in: http://www.phila.gov/citycouncil/districtform/districtform.html.
  • If you live in Pennsylvania (but outside of Philadelphia), call your state Representative. Tell him/her you support earned sick time for workers. Not sure who your Representative is? Simply type your address here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm.

Do You Need Help Paying for Post-Secondary Education?

PathWays PA offers Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), a matched savings program that offers financial education while helping you save for school. Through the program, your savings can be matched at a rate of three-to-one. If you save $500, we will give you an additional $1500 to go towards your school expenses.

Applicants must meet program income guidelines, be working (full or part time), and be enrolled or accepted into an accredited institution.

If you are interested or have any questions, please e-mail Kelly Binder at kbinder@pathwayspa.org.


Need Assistance With Public Benefits Applications?

PathWays PA provides assistance to those who need help applying for food stamps or other benefits. For further information, you can contact our office in Philadelphia 215-387-1470 or Delaware County 610-543-5022.

For more information about the services provided by PathWays PA please visit our website.