Friday, February 26, 2010

Sign Our Petition

Cross posted on the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Blog.

Did you know that approximately 46 percent of workers in the Pennsylvania and 44 percent in Philadelphia do not have paid sick days?

If you believe all Pennsylvania workers should have the chance to earn paid sick days so they can care for themselves as well as their sick children and parents, please sign our petition. The petition will be delivered to the Pennsylvania General Assembly and, if you live in Philadelphia, also to City Council – both of which are currently working on legislation to provide workers with this benefit.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Proposal Rolls Back Reproductive Rights

All of the health care proposals and bills can do amazing things to reform the current system and allow more individuals to have affordable coverage. The question is, why does this have to occur at the expense of women’s reproductive rights?

Last year, the House passed a health care bill that included the Stupak Amendment, which banned abortion coverage in any plan in the national exchange that has even one policy holder receiving a federal subsidy. Abortion coverage would only be available if a woman purchased a rider on her basic insurance policy.

Following passage of the House bill, the Senate passed a bill that allowed states to decide whether to prohibit abortion coverage in the state insurance exchanges. It also called for insurers to segregate funds for abortion coverage, requiring women to write two separate checks: one for abortion coverage and one for everything else. A recent proposal from the President works from the Senate bill and does not remove the restrictive abortion language.

While health care reform is meant to allow more access and make coverage more affordable, it seems to be denying women from receiving a legal medical procedure unless they pay more for it.

Currently, the White House is holding a Health Care Summit to discuss this and other important issues around health care reform. Please contact your House and Senate members as well as the White House and urge your representatives to ensure that women’s reproductive rights are not infringed on as a result of health care reform.

Latest Health Care Proposal

Earlier this week, President Obama released a new proposal for health care reform leading up to the White House Summit on Health Reform. The proposal is largely based on the bill that passed the Senate, with some offered some modifications. The President’s proposal:
  • Does not contain a public option or a national exchange
  • Would cover 31 million of the current 45 million uninsured people in our country
  • Includes an excise tax on generous health insurance plans (those that cost $27,500 or more for a family plan). The Senate version began the tax at $23,000.
  • Would raise Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, or $29,326.50 for a family of four.
  • Includes strong new provisions for federal oversight of insurance premium increases and help to states in enforcing and monitoring insurance markets.
  • Provides immediate assistance to beneficiaries who hit the Medicare donut hole in 2010 and close the hole completely by 2020
  • Strikes a compromise between the House and Senate bills on subsidies to help families afford insurance, as well as the percentage of medical costs that families would be expected to pay
  • Extends insurance market protections – like prohibitions on annual and lifetime limits and bans on pre-existing condition exclusions – to the older insurance plans and requires those plans to cover proven preventive services with no cost-sharing
The next step is for Congress and the President to come together at the summit, taking place today. The goal of the summit is to come to an agreement so that health care reform can move forward.

Please Join Us at the Public Forum on Earned Sick Time

The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces invites you to our

Public Forum on Earned Sick Time
March 10, 2010 - 10 AM to 12 PM
Central Branch of the Free Library, Skyline Room
1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia PA

Join us to learn more about earned sick time from:

-Legislators
-Affected workers
-Supportive employers
-Physicians

The event will also include polling data and information on earned sick time from The National Partnership for Women and Families!

To sign up for this event, please visit http://earnedsicktime1.eventbrite.com!You can also email your RSVP to policy@pathwayspa.org or call Kate Scully at 610-543-5022 x255.

If you have been affected by the need for sick time or are a business owner who offers sick time and would like to speak at this event, please call or email us as well!

The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces is a group of organizations supporting the need for earned sick time in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Primary organizers of this event include PathWays PA and WOMEN'S WAY. Coalition members include:

Childspace CDI ▪ CLASP ▪ Coalition for Labor Union Women ▪ Institute for Women's Policy Research ▪ Maternity Care Coalition ▪ MomsRising ▪ National Partnership for Women & Families ▪ National Organization for Women (Phila. Chapter) ▪ PathWays PA ▪ Pennsylvania ACORN ▪ People's Emergency Center ▪ Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility ▪ SEIU ▪
The Campaign for Working Families ▪ Women's Law Project ▪ WOMEN'S WAY ▪ Women Vote PA

PathWays PA New Publication: Keeping it Real – Teen Finances

PathWays PA is excited to announce the completion of a new handbook for managing money written specifically for teens: Keeping it Real: Teen Finances.

This guide discusses what teens should understand about their finances, and assists them in planning for their future.

The guide focuses on such areas as understanding your paycheck, budgeting, banking, financial contracts, credit, and insurance. It also includes goal setting, finding a job, education, child care, and housing.

You can view a copy of this publication, along with others, on PathWays PA’s website.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - February 24, 2010

State Budget Update

Two weeks ago, Governor Rendell announced his budget proposal for the 2010-2011 fiscal year calling for overall spending of $26.3 billion.

The Appropriation Committees of the General Assembly are currently holding hearings where each department is testifying on their specific budget proposals. The House is scheduled to have their hearings completed by February 25th and the Senate will continue to hear from the departments until March 3rd.

You can see a list of the hearings for the House and Senate online.


Philadelphia Budget Update

While Philadelphians brace for another potential snowstorm, the city has already spent about $15 million on snow removal. This cost only adds to the city’s deficit, which is estimated at $150 million (least years deficit was $257 million). The Governor has said he will apply for federal aid to help Philadelphia and other parts of the state with the unexpectedly high costs of numerous storms.

Mayor Nutter is scheduled to give his budget address on March 4th. With the large deficit, it is likely the Mayor will be proposing major cuts to programs and funding.


Some Results from United Way of Pennsylvania Survey

Last year during the 101-day budget impasse, social service agencies had to go without state funding at a time when their services were most needed. According to a survey of 350 agencies conducted by the United Way of Pennsylvania, many agencies are still recovering. Of the agencies surveyed:
  • 61 percent cut services,
  • 41 percent laid off workers,
  • 23 percent are dealing with unexpected deficits,
  • 15 percent are struggling to rehire staff lost to layoffs,
  • 39 percent reported missing a rent or mortgage payment,
  • 46 percent missed a utility payment,
  • 80 percent reduced their supplies,
  • 86 percent are getting less state aid than in previous years, and
  • 56 percent raised less from private donations in 2009 compared to 2008.

While social service agencies struggled and continue to struggle with less funding or deficits, 89 percent report an increase in demand for services.


Did You Know...


That over 350,000 people are on the waiting list for adultBasic, yet the cost to buy into the program has increased 80 percent and coverage will not expand beyond 50,000 people in the proposed budget?

If you or your clients believe that while 12 percent of adults in Pennsylvania are without health care programs that assist them to find affordable coverage are essential and need to be expanded, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.


Contact Your Legislators to Stop Cuts to Early Childhood Education Programs

Investments in high quality early childhood education are critical for Pennsylvania’s future, yet in the governor’s budget proposal these programs are being cut.
  • Pre-K Counts was cut by $475,000
  • Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program was cut by $784,000
  • Child Care Works and Keystone STARS rely heavily on nearly $41.7 million in federal ARRA funding, which will go away after 2011.
Support early childhood education programs by contacting your legislator and urging them to support such important programs as Pre-K Counts, Head Start, Child Care Works, and Keystone.


Did You Know...

For every $1 Pennsylvania invests in early childhood programs, more than $2 is circulated throughout our local economies

If you or your clients have been impacted by cuts or proposed cuts to early childhood programs, please contact your state legislators today and let them know how important the programs are to you and to Pennsylvania.


The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s Annual Budget Summit

Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center for a mini-summit on the state budget. They will take an in-depth look at the budget (this year and next) and discuss the options for protecting core services and preserving our long-term economic success.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 9, 2010, 1-4:30 p.m.
WHERE: Grace Methodist Church, Harrisburg PA

Learn the latest about:
  • Governor Rendell's Proposed Budget for 2010-11
  • Communications Strategies That Win
  • Understanding Sales Tax Modernization and Other Revenue Options
  • Pennsylvania's Pension Challenges
  • Protecting the Safety Net: Public Welfare Under Siege
Registration is free, and lunch is included. Register for the Budget Summit today!

If you have any questions, email Kathleen Daugherty or call her at 717-255-7159.


What else you can do:
  • Urge Immediate Extension of State Fiscal Relief - If you believe that fiscal relief needs to be extended, please sign on to this letter. Please also take a minute to call Senators Casey and Specter and your member of the U.S. House to urge the extension of FMAP.
  • The Industry Partnership program has leveraged $55 million in matching funds for its work in helping businesses create a skilled workforce. If you or your clients have been impacted by the Industry Partnership program, please contact your state legislators today and let them know how important the program to you and to Pennsylvania.
  • The greatest predictor of a child's future academic success is the literacy level of the child's mother. Adult education and family literacy programs are especially important during this recession to ensure that families have the opportunity to gain the education they need to become self-sufficient. If you or your clients have been impacted by the need for literacy, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Virtual March for Health Care Reform

To show the need for health care reform, starting on February 17th individuals have been marching the 135 miles from Philadelphia, PA to Washington, DC. On February 24th, the marchers will arrive in DC.

If you are not able to join the march in person MoveOn.org has set up a virtual march. If you want to be involved, just include your name, email, and zip code and you too can be part of this historic moment.

To follow the progress of the marchers visit March to the Finish Line for Melanie.

Monday, February 22, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: February 22, 2010

Federal

Proposed Cuts to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

VITA, or Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, is a program sponsored by the IRS to help low- and middle-income people file their income tax returns. Through the program, community partners engage and train volunteers and set up sites where clients can come to have their basic returns completed. VITA was created especially to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable credit that means big returns for the low and middle-income filers.

Earlier this month the President released his proposed budget for FY2011 and it includes a decrease in funding for the VITA Grant Program. Working families need increased access to safe financial resources.

Please contact your members of Congress and ask them to fund this important program.


February 23: Call-in Day to Save Jobs and Protect the Jobless

At the end of this month, the federal program providing unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed will expire. If Congress does not take quick action, nearly 1.2 million people will not get benefits in March and 5 million people will lose benefits in June.

Cutting off unemployment benefits will cause more job loss and service reductions in our communities - up to 800,000 jobs nation-wide if benefits are not extended through the end of 2010. That is because every $1 of unemployment insurance benefits that is spent results in $1.69 in economic stimulus in the community.

Call now to urge Congress to act now to prevent the lifelines that families and our communities need from being cut off.


State

Urge your Legislators Support the Supplemental Security Income Program

Prior to this month, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) was adding $27.40 per month to each Supplemental Security Income (SSI) check for the state's low income, severely disabled, elderly, and blind.

Even with this supplement, many SSI recipients were only at 78 percent of the federal poverty line. As a result of last summer's budget agreement this amount is being cut by $5 for an individual or $10 for a couple. This affects 345,000 Pennsylvanians, including 67,000 disabled children. While $5-$10 per month might not seem like a lot for people already living below the poverty level, it is a missed meal, a medical or pharmaceutical co-pay that cannot be met, or a para-transit ride that cannot be taken.

Contact your state legislator and urge them to find ways to restore this cut.


Sign-On Today to Stop Cuts to Early Childhood Education Programs

Investments in high quality early childhood education are critical for Pennsylvania’s future, yet in the governor’s budget proposal these programs are being cut.
  • Pre-K Counts was cut by $475,000
  • Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program was cut by $784,000
  • Child Care Works and Keystone STARS rely heavily on nearly $41.7 million in federal ARRA funding, which will go away after 2011.
Support early childhood education programs by adding your organization’s name to a letter to the General Assembly urging them to support such important programs as Pre-K Counts, Head Start, Child Care Works, and Keystone STARS by Friday, February 19, 2010.


Information/Events

Career Readiness Course: Making Computers Work for You

This is a free four-week course that upon completion students will have:
  • Assembled an employment portfolio
  • Gained a better understanding of MS Office
  • Become more competitive in the job market
WHEN: Tuesdays from 4:00-6:00 pm or Saturdays from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
WHERE: PathWays PA Career & Education Center, 926 West Allegheny Ave, Philadelphia

For more information, please contact Marylou Fusco at 215-226-2600 ext. 311.


Catch the Bus to DC: Join the March to the Finish Line for the Final Mile

To show the need for health care reform, starting on February 17th individuals have been marching from Philadelphia to Washington, DC. They will arrive in DC on February 24th and want as many people as possible to march with them for the last mile to the Capitol Building.

A bus will be leaving Love Park at 8:30 AM on Wednesday, February 24th. To reserve your spot on the bus click here. You can also email ahirsh2008@gmail.com or call 215-557-0822, ext. 106 for more information.

If you cannot make it you DC you can still share your story or your thoughts by contacting you members of Congress.

To follow the progress of the march and to learn of other events along the way please visit March to the Finish Line for Melanie.


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.


Investing in a Prosperous Pennsylvania: A Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on the Future of Our Workforce and Economy

Occurring less than a month before the Commonwealth’s primary elections, this forum will offer an informative and interactive look at the candidates’ plans for stimulating job creation and moving Pennsylvanians back to work.

WHEN: April 19, 6:00 – 9:00 PM
WHERE: The National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia

For the first hour, there will be a Workforce Open House, where there will be information about innovative programs that are moving youth and adults into learning and career paths. The remainder of the evening will include a forum with Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial candidates regarding how the Commonwealth can best meet the needs of workers, businesses, and local economies.

If you plan to attend, please save the date and RSVP at www.pagovforum.org. The forum is free, but space is limited.



PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

PathWays PA New Publication: Keeping it Real – Teen Finances

PathWays PA is excited to announce the completion of a new helpful handbook for managing money written specifically for teens, Keeping it Real: Teen Finances.

This guide not only discusses what teens should understand about their finances, it also assists them in planning for their future.

The guide focuses on such areas as understanding your paycheck, budgeting, banking, financial contracts, credit, and insurance. It also includes goal setting, finding a job, education, child care, and housing.

If you would like to have a copy or learn more about this handbook please email policy@pathwayspa.org.


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.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Working with H1N1

Cross posted on the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Blog.

During the H1N1 pandemic, workers were urged to stay home if they were sick. However, those without paid sick time often had no choice. These workers had to choose between going to work sick or losing their pay and possibly their jobs. In a recent report, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has found that many workers were forced to go to work sick and that their lack of having paid sick days likely extended the duration of the outbreak.

Looking at information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), IWPR found that almost 26 million working Americans were infected with H1N1 in the fall of 2009. Of that 26 million, only 18 million took some time off work, meaning that 8 million Americans went to work with H1N1 despite urging from the CDC and the White House to stay home if sick.

As a result, IWPR estimates that 7 million co-workers were infected with H1N1. The study found that while 90 percent of public sector employees took time away from work when infected with H1N1, only 66 percent of private sector employees did the same. The option of staying home if sick allowed more private sector employees to recover faster and to keep from spreading the illness to their co-workers, therefore allowing the duration and amount of absences to decline faster.

Being able to stay home from work when you are sick is good for not only for employees but also for employers. Having a waitress with the flu, a day care worker with a cold, or an office worker with a virus puts customers and co-workers at risk of becoming ill themselves. The United States is only one of a very few developed countries without paid sick time for their workers, and it should not take another pandemic for changes to be made to allow workers to earn paid sick time.

Contact your state and, if in Philadelphia, city representatives and urge them to support paid sick days legislation. You can also 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? Tell your story in the comment section below or email it to us at policy@pathwayspa.org.

How Healthy is Your County?

For the first time, that question can be answered in every county in the US. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute have put together the 2010 County Health Rankings, a collection of 50 reports that reflect the overall health of counties in every state.

The study looks at the health outcomes and health factors of each county. Health outcomes represent how healthy a county is, based on measures of mortality and morbidity. Health factors are what influences the health of the county, including health behaviors, clinical care, and social, economic, and physical environment factors.

In Pennsylvania, Philadelphia ranked the lowest, 67th, while Chester County was number 1, making it the healthiest county in Pennsylvania according to the study.

While this report shows where counties may be able to improve their services and health outcomes, it also shows that everywhere people need better access to health care. Even in Chester County, which was ranked the healthiest county in Pennsylvania, 13 percent of the adult population was without health care.

Contact your members of Congress and tell them just how much we need health care reform. To see how one group is having an impact by marching from Philadelphia to DC to show their support for health care reform visit March to the Finish Line for Melanie to follow their progress and learn about events.

Text4Baby

Pregnant women and new mothers have a new way to get health information – a nationwide free text message service. This service, called “Text4Baby,” grew from a coalition of mobile service providers, health professionals, and government agencies. Mothers will receive text messages timed to where they are in their pregnancy or the baby’s age up to the baby’s first year.


Topics covered in the text messages include seasonal flu prevention, nutrition, prenatal care, oral health, smoking prevention, immunization schedules, and safe sleep. Mothers will get no more than three text messages per week. Messages can also connect mothers to clinics and support services for prenatal care.


You can sign up for messages by texting BABY (or BEBE for Spanish messages) to 511411. To learn more, please visit text4baby.org.


image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonjon_2k8/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - 17 February 2010

Budget Update

Last week, Governor Rendell announced his budget proposal for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The deficit for the fiscal year is $525 million, compared to the $2 billion deficit last year.

The Governor's office also announced last week that some line items put into budgetary reserve in January 2010 would be released for spending. These line items total $32.7 million in funding for programs including spending for:

  • The Department of Agriculture: $2.05 million in total spending released, covering items such as farm safety, food marketing and research, and crop insurance
  • The Department of Public Welfare: $10 million in total spending released, including $4.2 million for acute care and $2.7 million for Healthcare Clinics. Some programs which had a 20 percent budget cut under the freeze (such as hospital based burn centers and Medical Assistance line items for Obstetrics and Neonatal care) had 10 percentage points of their budget restored.
  • The Department of Education: $4.5 million in total spending released, including $1.7 million on Mobile Science Education and $945,000 unfrozen for Regional Community Colleges and Higher Education Assistance.
  • The Department of Health: $4.6 million released, including $2.3 million for bio-technology research.
This is only a partial list of the items released. For a longer list, view this Capitolwire story (subscription needed).

Did You Know...

The Industry Partnership program has leveraged $55 Million in matching funds for its work in helping businesses create a skilled workforce?

If you or your clients have been impacted by the Industry Partnership program, please contact your state legislators today and let them know how important the program to you and to Pennsylvania.

Action Alert: Complete the United Way of PA Survey on Impact of Budget Cuts and Impasse

The United Way of Pennsylvania has released a new survey to measure the long-term impact of Pennsylvania's 2009 Budget Impasse and continued funding cuts on nonprofit organizations.

They need everyone's help to document the impact to make the case that funding health and human services is vital. The 2010 state budget negotiations ahead are expected to be extremely difficult. State revenues are well below projections from only a few months ago, and the legislature is showing little interest for expanding current revenue sources or increasing taxes to maintain funding levels for nonprofit services.

Please complete this important yet brief survey and share it with the organizations in your network.


Did You Know...


The greatest predictor of a child's future academic success is the literacy level of the child's mother?

Adult education and family literacy programs are especially important during this recession to ensure that families have the opportunity to gain the education they need to become self-sufficient. If you or your clients have been impacted by the need for literacy, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.

Urge Immediate Extension of State Fiscal Relief

While children and families felt the effects of budget cuts last year, the full impact of those cuts was avoided thanks to state fiscal relief passed by Congress and the President. This funding included having the federal government pay for more of the state's Medicaid costs (Federal Medical Assistance Percentages, or FMAP), among other items. Altogether, the program infused almost $4 billion into Pennsylvania over a 27-month period (which includes this fiscal year).

State fiscal relief was meant to be temporary, with expiration set for the end of 2010. However, Congress also expected that the economic recovery would be well underway by this point, which is far from the truth.

If you believe that fiscal relief needs to be extended, please sign on to this letter. Please also take a minute to call Senators Casey and Specter and your member of the U.S. House to urge the extension of FMAP.

Did You Know...

At least 16,000 families are on the waiting list to receive the child care subsidy?

The subsidy allows parents to afford to work by assisting them with the expense of child care. If you or your clients have been impacted by the need for child care, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Some 2009-2010 Budget Line Items Unfrozen

Eis-Spiegelungen1-AsioAlthough the Governor has already released his new budget for FY 2010-2011, work continues to be done on the FY 2009-2010 version. Last week, the Governor's office announced that some line items put into budgetary reserve in January 2010 would be released for spending. These line items total $32.7 million in funding for programs including:
  • Public Television: $500,000 of the $1 million line item was put into reserve (aka "frozen"). $900,000 is now available.
  • Minority Business Development: $900,000 unfrozen
  • Department of Agriculture: $2.05 million in total spending released, covering items such as farm safety, food marketing and research, and crop insurance
  • Department of Public Welfare: $10 million in total spending released, including $4.2 million for acute care and $2.7 million for Healthcare Clinics. Some programs which had a 20 percent budget cut under the freeze (such as hospital based burn centers and Medical Assistance line items for Obstetrics and Neonatal care) had 10 percentage points of their budget restored.
  • Department of Education: $4.5 million in total spending released, including $1.7 million on Mobile Science Education and $945,000 unfrozen for Regional Community Colleges and Higher Education Assistance.
  • Department of Health: $4.6 million released, including $2.3 million for bio-technology research.
This is only a partial list of the items released. For a longer list, view this Capitolwire story (subscription needed).

Monday, February 15, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter - 15 February 2010

As the Pennsylvania State Budget process continues, be sure to keep an eye out for PathWays PA's weekly Budget Alerts and budget updates on our blog.

Budget

Complete the United Way of PA Survey on Impact of Budget Cuts and Impasse

United Way of Pennsylvania has released a new survey to measure the long-term impact of Pennsylvania’s 2009 Budget Impasse and continued funding cuts on nonprofit organizations.

They need everyone’s help to document the impact to make the case that funding health and human services is vital. The 2010 state budget negotiations ahead are expected to be extremely difficult. State revenues are well below what was projected only a few months ago, and the legislature is showing little interest for expanding current revenue sources or increasing taxes to maintain funding levels for nonprofit services.

Please complete this important yet brief survey and share it with the organizations in your network.

Federal

Ask Congress to Extend Benefits for the Unemployed

On February 28, 2010, the extension of jobless benefits and subsidized COBRA coverage to the unemployed will expire without action by Congress. If you believe these programs are important, please sign on to a letter from the National Employment Law Project which will be sent to Congress.

The President’s Budget (Finally) Explained

The Coalition on Human Needs will be holding a conference call in the coming week to detail items in the President’s budget related to human needs spending. This call has been postponed several times due to record breaking snow, but should take place this week. If you have not already registered, you can do so at CHN’s website.


State

March Towards the Finish Line on Healthcare Reform

In Pennsylvania alone, 1.3 million people do not have health care. With limitations on coverage due to pre-existing conditions and/or high costs, families are unable to obtain or afford coverage. Reform is necessary to ensure a physically and financially healthy future for America.

To show the need for healthcare, from February 17th through February 24th, individuals will be marching from Philadelphia to Washington, DC.

While a group will march the entire 133 miles, organizers are inviting everyone to join for as long as they are able to. Many will begin the march with the core group leaving Philadelphia on the 17th and rejoin them in Washington on the 24th. If you want to spend just a day or two marching in Delaware or Maryland, there will be arranged vans and car pools.

To RSVP and for more information, please contact Marc Stier.

To kick off the march on February 17th there will be a rally at noon in Philadelphia (the exact location is yet to be determined).

House Bill 745 (Hate Crimes Bill) Expected to Come to Vote Soon

(from our friends at JSPAN)

In late 2009, the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee passed House Bill 745 with bipartisan support. In the next few weeks, a floor vote is expected on the bill.

HB 745 would amend the Title 18 Ethnic Intimidations Act to define crimes against individuals based on "actual or perceived ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity" as ethnic intimidation, or hate crimes. Passing H.B. 745 would add the above listed groups as protected classes of Pennsylvanians, classes that are not now protected on the state level from hate crimes and violence. The legislation could impact tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

From 2002 to 2008 Pennsylvania protected all of its citizens from hate crimes, including those based on perceived gender identity. However, even though the State Legislature supported hate crimes legislation, it was struck down by the State Supreme Court in 2008 because of a technicality.

As we move closer to a vote on this important legislation to provide protection for all Pennsylvanians, please let your representative know your thoughts on the bill.


Information

What Can Your Organization Do To Support the Census?

The Pennsylvania Office of Financial Education and the Department of Banking are working to support statewide efforts to have every Pennsylvanian counted in the 2010 Census.

Organizations can play an important role in making the 2010 Census successful by encouraging clients and others in the community to take part in the count. You or your organization can:

• Ensure accurate census data, which guide funding decisions for your community and affect your representation in Congress.
• Spread the word about temporary census jobs in your community.
• Reassure your community it is safe to answer the census.

Further information and materials on the Census can be found at www.2010census.gov. Information on Census activities in Philadelphia, including a forum this coming Thursday on why the Census is important to those under 30, can be found at http://www.phillycounts.org.


Connect 2-1-1

CONNECT211.org is a new web site that has information on health and human service agencies in southeast Pennsylvania where individuals can retrieve the information on services around health, jobs, school, and family. The website contains a large database of health and human services in the five county Philadelphia region - Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.

Additionally users of connect can conduct proximity searches and see their results on a graphical map and obtain accurate driving, transit and walking directions. Services that can be searched for on the website include:

  • Children, Youth and Families
  • Disaster Services
  • Employment Services
  • Food Services
  • Housing Services
  • Substance Abuse Services
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Disability Services
  • Education Services
  • Financial Services
  • Health Services
  • Legal Services
  • Transportation Services
  • Other General Services

March Toward the Finish Line on Healthcare Reform

In Pennsylvania alone, 1.3 million people do not have health care. With limitations on coverage due to pre-existing conditions and/or high costs, families are unable to obtain or afford coverage. Reform is necessary to ensure a physically and financially healthy future for America.

To show the need for healthcare, from February 17th through February 24th, individuals will be marching from Philadelphia to Washington, DC.

While a group will march the entire 133 miles, organizers are inviting everyone to join for as long as they are able to. Many will begin the march with the core group leaving Philadelphia on the 17th and rejoin them in Washington on the 24th. If you want to spend just a day or two marching in Delaware or Maryland, there will be arranged vans and car pools.

To RSVP and for more information, please contact Marc Stier.

To kick off the march on February 17th there will be a rally at noon in Philadelphia (the exact location is yet to be determined).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

PathWays PA Special Budget Alert - February 10, 2010

Budget Update

Yesterday, Governor Rendell announced his budget proposal for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The deficit for the fiscal year is $525 million (there was a $2 billion deficit last year).

In the FY 2010-2011 budget, the Governor is calling for overall spending of $26.3 billion. His budget maintains cuts from last year and does not create any new programs. The Governor also stated his commitment to having a budget signed by the constitutionally mandated deadline of June 30th - unlike last year's budget, which was passed 101 days late.

Under the proposal:

  • Adult and Family Literacy will receive funding of $17,510,000 (which matches their current funding under the budget freeze)
  • Child Care Assistance will receive $198,682,000 in funding (an increase of $535,000)
  • Children's Health Insurance will receive $100,375,000 in funding (an increase of $3,263,000, enough to cover approximately 10,300 more children)
  • Community Colleges will receive $214, 217,000 (level funding from the previous year)
  • Community Services Block Grant will receive $29,500,000 (level funding from the previous year)
  • Family Savings Accounts were zeroed out for the second year in a row
  • Industry Partnerships will receive $1,710,000 in funding (a cut of $290,000)
  • Minority Business Development was zeroed out (a cut of $1,000,000)
  • Nurse Family Partnerships will receive $11,978,000 in funding (level funding from the previous year)
  • Pre-K Counts will receive the $85,937,000 (a cut of $475,000)
  • Women's Commission will receive $253,000 (an increase of $15,000)
  • For more information, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has a full comparison of this year's budget to previous budgets on their website.

The Governor also called for some revenue to be placed in a Stimulus Transition Reserve Fund. This fund will be accessed once stimulus funds are no longer available. Revenue raising proposals include:

  • Lowering the sales tax from 6 percent to 4 percent, but eliminating the sales tax exemption for some non-essential items. Under this plan, the sales tax exemption will continue for food, clothing, prescription drugs, and non-profits.
  • Instituting a severance tax on natural gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale deposits.
  • Instituting an excise tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco.
  • Closing the so-called "Delaware Loophole" which allows state businesses to avoid paying the corporate tax levy by shifting their income and profits to other states. At the same time, the state's corporate net income tax will decrease from 9.99 percent to 8.99 percent.

Action Alert: Complete the United Way of PA Survey on Impact of Budget Cuts and Impasse

The United Way of Pennsylvania has released a new survey to measure the long-term impact of Pennsylvania's 2009 Budget Impasse and continued funding cuts on nonprofit organizations.

They need everyone's help to document the impact to make the case that funding health and human services is vital. The 2010 state budget negotiations ahead are expected to be extremely difficult. State revenues are well below projections from only a few months ago, and the legislature is showing little interest for expanding current revenue sources or increasing taxes to maintain funding levels for nonprofit services.

Please complete this important yet brief survey and share it with the organizations in your network.


Local Stories

To complete last year's budget, Pennsylvania relied heavily on one-time revenue sources and service cuts. Those cuts are having a real impact on Pennsylvania families:

  • Social Security supplement payments for 340,000 low-income elderly and disabled Pennsylvanians have been reduced, jeopardizing their ability to pay for food or medical care.
  • An 80 percent increase in premiums (from $330 to $600 a month) for individuals buying into the state's adultBasic health care program is making coverage unaffordable for thousands of uninsured Pennsylvanians.
  • Pennsylvanians, particularly children, have less access to libraries as hours are reduced and branches are closed.
  • There are 4,500 fewer state government employees.

Specific Programs That Need Your Support

Please contact your state legislators today and let them know how important these programs are to you and to Pennsylvania:

Industry Partnerships - Industry Partnerships are consortiums that allow employers to improve and expand their workforce by bringing together companies committed to the development of their workforce. In Pennsylvania, more than 6,300 businesses are involved with more than 70 Industry Partnerships across the state. More than 70,000 workers have been trained since 2005.

CHIP - Cover All Kids - During the past three years, CHIP has provided comprehensive health insurance coverage for thousands of children throughout Pennsylvania who would not have been eligible without the Cover All Kids program.

adultBasic - This program provides health insurance for adults to cover such needs as primary care, specialty care, hospitalization, emergency services, testing services, maternity care, and rehabilitation coverage. While there were 41,786 individuals receiving this benefit, the wait list is over 330,000. The wait list for the program has tripled over the past two years.

Child Care Work Subsidies - The subsidy allows parents to afford to work by assisting them with the expense of child care. For many parents, the cost of child care may be more than they bring home in a paycheck. Over 16,000 are eligible for the child care subsidies but are currently on the waitlist, where some families remain for months.

Adult Education and Family Literacy - Adult education and family literacy program are especially important during this recession to ensure that families have the opportunity to gain the education they need to be or become self-sufficient. Overlooked and Undercounted: Struggling to Make Ends Meet in Pennsylvania shows that 40.9 percent of all Pennsylvania households have a high school education or less, and of those households, 49% of those with less than a high school education earn less than the Self-Sufficiency Standard.

Monday, February 8, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: February 8, 2010

As the Pennsylvania State Budget process kicks off this week, be sure to keep an eye out for PathWays PA’s weekly Budget Alerts.


PathWays PA Publications Survey

In order to enhance our work we have put together a short survey for individuals who have received any of PathWays PA’s publications. Your response would be greatly appreciated! Please click here to be taken to the short survey.

If you are interested in learning more about PathWays PA’s publications, you can access them online by clicking here.


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!


State

Watch Governor Rendell’s Budget Address

Governor Rendell will be giving his budget address to a joint session of the General Assembly starting at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 9.

According to the Governor, his budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year is focused on bolstering Pennsylvania’s economic recovery, creating jobs, keeping taxes under control, continuing our investments in schools, and ensuring essential services are provided to older adults and Pennsylvanians in need.

You can view the budget address online at www.pa.gov or by watching coverage on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.

Below are some things it is believed the Governor will call for in the address:
  • A $29 billion spending plan, an increase of $1.2 billion, or 4 percent
  • Another hefty increase for public schools
  • New taxes on the extraction of natural gas and sales of cigars and smokeless tobacco


More Funding for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

It was announced on Thursday that low-income families facing a heating emergency or utility service termination may start to see some additional relief thanks a recent increase in federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds.

Pennsylvania LIHEAP helps low income people pay their heating bills through home heating energy assistance grants and crisis grants. A family of four with an annual income of up to $33,075 can qualify for assistance, and no lien is placed on the family’s property if assistance is granted. Last year, a family of four could have a maximum income of $44,443.

There will be an additional $26 million in federal contingency funds which will make many families eligible to receive additional crisis grant funds to supplement their original grant, up to a maximum of $400. Crisis grants are approved for families with heating emergencies such as fuel shortages or utility terminations. While additional funding to families is important, there are still a large number of families that do not qualify for LIHEAP these year but are still struggling or unable to heat their homes.


Information/Events

Campus Philly: Online Internship Fair

Campus Philly’s career matching website will be the center of online talent recruitment for the Philadelphia region during its fourth Online Internship Fair. From March 15th-26th, the nonprofit invites area employers to recruit student talent for internship opportunities on CampusPhilly.org/careers, free of charge.

As a new element to the fair, Campus Philly will post a video panel of local experts answering students’ job and internship questions as well as online workshops to build resume writing and interviewing skills.

Internship programs are an effective way to increase a company’s workforce without the cost of a full-time hire. While students gain the competitive edge of real-world experience, host companies can increase work-flow efficiency at minimal or no cost. What’s more, internship programs create an internal talent pipeline for employers interested in future recruiting.
Over 200 employers are expected to offer internships in this year’s fair with over 1000 students participating. Employers can register for free at www.campusphilly.org/careers. The online fair will go live at Noon, Monday, March 15th.


Reauthorization of Child Nutrition Act Conference Call

Please join Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J Vilsack on Wednesday, February 10, for a call about the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. Further details on the specific time will be forthcoming to registered participants.

This conference call with the Secretary is an opportunity to discuss the Obama Administration's priorities for Child Nutrition Reauthorization in greater depth. The call will also include an update on the First Lady's Childhood Obesity initiative, which was highlighted in the President's State of the Union address. Finally, this call will be an opportunity for the Secretary to answer your questions and explore how your organizations can best amplify the President and the First Lady's efforts to provide access to healthy food for all American children.

The Obama Administration is committed to making sure every child in America has the To receive final time details for the conference call, please register by clicking here.

To participate in the conference call, please dial 1-800-369-1790 and provide the participant pass code 3769722.


Community Forum for the Next Governor

With the Governor's primary right around the corner, it is important for us to know where the candidates stand on the issues that matter most to us - education, housing, public benefits, job development, health care, prison reentry programs, and much more. Join a broad coalition of community-based organizations, unions and advocacy projects for this important educational forum where our social and economic needs set the agenda.

WHEN: Thursday, February 18th at 7pm
WHERE: Arch St. United Methodist Church, 55 North Broad Street (at the corner of Broad and Arch Streets)

We ask the questions; the candidates tell us where they stand! For more information, call (215) 568-4990.


Connect 2-1-1

CONNECT211.org is a new web site that has information on health and human service agencies in southeast Pennsylvania where individuals can retrieve the information on services around health, jobs, school, and family. The website contains a large database of health and human services in the five county Philadelphia region – Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.

Additionally users of connect can conduct proximity searches and see their results on a graphical map and obtain accurate driving, transit and walking directions. Services that can be searched for on the website include:
  • Children, Youth and Families
  • Disaster Services
  • Employment Services
  • Food Services
  • Housing Services
  • Substance Abuse Services
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Disability Services
  • Education Services
  • Financial Services
  • Health Services
  • Legal Services
  • Transportation Services
  • Other General Services

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.


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.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Super Bowl Ads Include Talking Babies, Famous Celebrities, and Coming Soon: Anti-Choice Messages

Many watch the Super Bowl not just for the game, but for the commercials. In the past, broadcasting companies have held fast to a policy of not accepting ads they deem contentious. Citing this policy, ads from organizations such as MoveOn.org and the United Church of Christ were found to be too controversial to be aired.

This Super Bowl, CBS has approved the airing of an anti-choice ad featuring Tim Tebow, the quarterback for the University of Florida’s football team, and his mother discussing her choice not to have an abortion. Ms. Tebow made a difficult decision regarding a pregnancy which threatened her life, a decision which many must make every day. But in reality, the important part of her decision is not the choice she made, but that she had a choice. Just as no doctor should have had the right to force her to terminate her pregnancy because of its risk, no doctor should have the right to force a woman to continue a pregnancy under any circumstances. Ms. Tebow was able to make a choice, the choice that was right for her and her family based on her circumstances – every woman should have that same opportunity.

Call CBS Broadcasting and tell them that airing this ad, while denying others, only shows one side of the story. Call 212-975-4321

Sign Up For Our Weekly Policy Enewsletter

As this year's Pennsylvania budget gets ready for kick-off, it is the perfect time to sign up for our free policy e-newsletter and weekly budget alerts!


Sign up for our Policy E-Newsletter





Monday, February 1, 2010

PathWays PA Letter to the Editor: Enhance Women’s Choice, Do Not Limit It

To the Editor:

When it comes to buying insurance, women do not plan for an unintended or complicated pregnancy any more than men plan for unexpected medical complications or issues. Yet under current health reform plans, men will be able to receive treatment specific to their health needs, while women may not have access to an abortion that can save their health and their lives.

By banning abortion coverage or requiring women to write two checks (one for abortion coverage and one for the rest of their health insurance), the Stupak and Nelson Amendments create an unworkable situation for insurance companies and a burdensome situation for women. The health care debate should focus on how we can support women's health and well-being by expanding access, not by prohibiting women from undergoing a lawful procedure.

Current proposals will thankfully end gender rating and prevent insurance companies from classifying pregnancy or domestic violence as pre-existing conditions. We hope legislators will continue to work on these proposals to enhance women’s choice, not limit it.


Carol Goertzel
President/CEO
PathWays PA
Holmes, PA

PathWays PA E-Newsletter - 1 February 2010

As the Pennsylvania State Budget process kicks off next week, be sure to keep an eye out for PathWays PA's weekly Budget Alerts starting next Wednesday.

PathWays PA Publication Survey

In order to enhance our publications, we have put together a short survey for individuals who have received any of PathWays PA's materials in the past two years. Your response would be greatly appreciated!

If you are interested in learning more about PathWays PA's publications, you can access them online at our website.

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. You must schedule an appointment to have your taxes prepared.

Philadelphia

PathWays PA West Philly Office
3617 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia, PA
To schedule an appointment call Linda at 215-387-1470.

Appointment times:
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.

Appointment times:
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.

Appointment times:
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.

Appointment times:
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.

Appointment times:
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!

Federal

Ensure Funding for On-The-Job Training in Jobs Bill

In December, the House passed a $154 billion jobs bill, which included $1.25 billion for job training. The Senate version, while not yet passed, is expected to be much smaller ($80 billion) and to focus on tax credits. It remains unclear if any funding for workforce education and training will be included in the Senate bill.

Senators must hear from the workforce development field about the need for additional funding for training and education. Sustained job growth requires workers to acquire the skills to get and keep newly created jobs so that businesses can find the skilled workforce they need to grow and compete.

On-the-job training (OJT) is one promising model that can address the skill needs of workers and businesses alike. It can be a critical link to rapid employment or reemployment, enabling businesses to create jobs earlier in the business cycle, and leading to lasting job and career opportunities for targeted workers. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) is circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter urging Senate leadership to include $500 million for OJT.

Please ask your Senators to support this vision by signing the Shaheen "Dear Colleague" letter today.

For more information please read the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry's employer survey, and National Skills Coalition's recommendations for including OJT in the jobs bill.

State

Help Stop the Cuts to Pennsylvania's Most Vulnerable Citizens

Pennsylvanians who are disabled, blind, and elderly face cuts of 19 - 24 percent in their State Supplemental Payments (SSP) unless the legislature takes action.

To qualify for the SSP, individuals must receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a federal benefit for the very poor administered by the Social Security Administration. Currently, individuals receiving SSP will receive $27.40/month for an individual and $43.70/month for a couple. This supplemental payment, along with the individual's SSI payment, still does not bring the individual or family up to the federal poverty level.

Individuals living on SSI are among the most vulnerable citizens in Pennsylvania, yet the state intends to reduce the SSP for an individual by $5.30/month (down 19 percent) and by $10.40/month for a couple (down 24 percent). A reduction of $5.30 per month may seem small, but it equals a missed meal, a medical co-pay that cannot be met, or a paratransit ride that cannot be taken.

Please contact your state legislator and urge them not to prevent these cuts. News articles on the cuts are available from the Inquirer and Daily News.


Stand Up for Equity in Athletics

Take Action for PA Girls!

Contact your State Senator and State Representative and urge them to support sports equity for women and girls!

Under Title IX, a federal law passed in 1972, educational institutions are required 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. Two pieces of related legislation include Senate Bill 890 and House Bill 2061, which require Pennsylvania secondary schools to publicly disclose information pertaining to Title IX requirements.

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.


Information and Events

Summer Food Service Program Webinar

Each summer, 18 million students are at risk of going hungry when the school year ends and school lunches are no longer available. For many children, school meals are the only complete and nutritious meals they eat, and in the summer, they go without even this source of food. In the summer of 2010, the need for meals will likely increase. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) can help to fill the summer meal gap for low-income children.

Faith-based, community and private non-profit organizations can make a difference in the lives of hungry children by serving meals with SFSP, a federally funded program administered by states that reimburses organizations for meals served to children during the summer. Schools, churches, recreation centers, playgrounds, parks and camps can serve meals in neighborhoods with high percentages of low-income families. These venues are safe and familiar locations where children naturally congregate during the summer. There are two ways to get involved with SFSP. Your organization may become a SFSP site where meals are served, or a SFSP sponsor that both serves meals and keeps track of the accounting and paperwork. Sponsors are reimbursed for all meals served that meet USDA's nutrition standards.

Join this webinar to learn more and hear the benefits to being a part of the Summer Food Service Program!

Date: Thursday, February 18, 2010
Time: 11:00am - 12:00pm EST

To register please click here.

Already working with SFSP?: The USDA wants to hear from you! If you are already participating as a sponsor or a site, and would be willing to share your story on a live webinar or a webcast recording, please contact Emily Buckham Buday, USDA FNS Outreach Strategist, at Emily.buckham@fns.usda.gov.

Additional SFSP Information: Additional information on the Summer Food Service Program can be found on the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Website: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/summer/

If you have any questions, please contact: Emily Buckham Buday at Emily.buckham@fns.usda.gov or 703-605-0772


Work/Life and Kids: What Do Kids Really Think About Their Working Parents?

When both mom and dad work, it can complicate parenting and marriage. What is the impact of social pressures and media coverage on working couples and their children, what the research tells us, and what we can do to make things better for both kids and their working parents?

WHEN: Wednesday, February 10, 1 PM EST

Join Fem 2.0, as Ellen Galinsky, president of Families and Work Institute and author of Ask the Children and Mind in the Making, moderates a discussion about what kids really do think about their working parents.

The discussion will include Lisa Belkin, New York Times writer and author of the Motherlode blog on nytimes.com, and clinical psychologist Joshua Coleman, author of The Marriage Makeover and The Lazy Husband, and co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families.

Below are a list of other upcoming programs on the Fem 2.0 Blog Radio:
  • Work/Life and Latino Families: How Are Latino Families Changing as Latinas Bring Home the Bacon? | Monday, February 1, 1:00 PM EST |details
  • Work/Life and Older Americans: Taking Care of Oneself and Take Care of Others | Tuesday, February 2, 1:00 PM EST | details
  • Work/Life and the Military: What It's Really Like to Work and Serve | Wednesday, February 3, 1:00 PM EST | details
  • Working Title: Work/Life and African-American Families | Thursday, February 4, 1:00 PM EST
  • Fighting Words! Creating Change for Working Families | Friday, February 5, 1:00 PM EST | details
  • Work/Life and Kids: What Do Kids Really Think About Their Working Parents? | Wednesday, February 10, 1 PM EST | details

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 (46 percent of workers in Pennsylvania) 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.