On April 26, the U.S. Census Bureau released its first population estimates from the 2020 decennial census. This release, primarily consisting of national and statewide population results, found that that there are approximately 331 million residents in the U.S., an increase of nearly 7.5 percent from the 2010 census.
This population increase, however, masks the fact that the U.S. has experienced its sharpest population decline since the 1930s. From 1950 to 2010, the U.S., on average, experienced a nearly 13% population increase after every decennial census. The only other comparable period from 2010 to 2020 is the 1940 census where the U.S. experienced a 7.3 percent population increase from 1930. These results are prompting demographers to take a closer look at emerging patterns such as lower birth rates and reduced immigration as key indicators for declines in population growth. (How the 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic impacts future population growth is yet to be determined).
We all at UWCA were heartbroken and devastated by the March 16 mass shooting incident involving the murder of 8 people in Atlanta, 6 of whom were women of Asian descent, and shocked again on Monday to see a 65-year-old woman of Asian descent knocked down, kicked and stomped as she walked to church, in an incident caught on video. We acknowledge these attacks and other acts of hate targeted at Asian communities has created an environment forcing many to feel unsafe in their own homes and fearful for lives of their friends and family.
Sadly, violence and hate directed against Asian Americans have deep roots in in our history, from racist discrimination in the late 1800s under color of law in states like California and at the federal level under the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and the unconstitutional internment and dispossession of Japanese-Americans on the West Coast during World War II, to violent attacks such as mob violence against Filipino workers in Watsonville in 1930, the tragic murder of Vincent Chin in 1982, and more. This history makes the frequency with which we saw mentions of a “China-Virus” or “Kung Flu” from elected representatives and media personalities even more triggering for our communities, and those speakers more responsible.
After two-months of deliberations, President Biden recently signed into law a $1.86 trillion COVID-19 relief package (HR 1319) that reflects key components of his American Rescue Plan.
In a major victory for California’s counties, the final legislation includes robust, direct, and flexible federal COVID-19-related financial support to all counties. Pursuant to the bill, counties across America will receive a total of $65.1 billion, with funds allocated based on population. According to preliminary estimates, California counties are projected to receive at least $7.6 billion.
On January 8, 2021, Governor Newsom unveiled his proposed 2021-2022 budget, amounting to a $227 billion spending plan, thanks in large part to an estimated $26 billion windfall in tax revenues according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates from November 2020. The Budget closes a $54.3 billion gap in 2020-21 and significantly reduces the state’s ongoing structural deficit to $8.7 billion in 2021-22, after accounting for reserves.
(Los Angeles, CA) — Statement from Pete Manzo, President & CEO, United Ways of California
We were horrified to witness inexcusable acts of violence and criminal behavior Wednesday as domestic insurgents attempted to prevent the peaceful transition of power set forth under our Constitution. This was a violent assault against our democracy, and all those who carried it out or incited it, including the president and high-ranking national and state officials, including some from California, must be held to account.
The dozen ballot measures Californians weighed in on this month were a multitude of reforms addressing everything from corporate taxation, rent control, criminal justice to other topics. As a network United Ways of California endorsed Propositions 15, 16, 17, and 25. Though only one of these measures received enough support to pass, we will continue to work with state and city electeds and partner organizations to help advance the common good for every individual in every community. Please find our post-election analyses of each propoistion we endorsed down below.
Children’s health coverage is critical in ensuring kids are on the path to succeed in school and in life. We know that when children have access to comprehensive quality care, they are healthier and more likely to enter school ready to learn and reach graduation. Overall, California has made huge strides in recent decades to ensure more families and children are healthy and excel in life, particularly by increasing access to health coverage. In fact, we reduced the number of uninsured children from 2 million in 1999 to just over 300,000 in 2016. However, despite steady coverage gains up to 2016, recently published data by the Center for Children & Families of the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute show that too many children are losing ground on this critical factor and therefore cannot access regular and preventative health care in California and across the U.S.
United Way's mission is to mobilize the caring power of communities for the common good. For over 130 years, United Way has brought together leaders in communities to solve problems in a non-partisan manner. Engaging citizens and encouraging them to be actively involved in their communities is at the heart of how we advance our mission.
Today, our role is even more critical than ever. We know that it takes engaged citizens, working in good faith, from all sectors – community, business, labor, government and charitable – to improve the quality of life in our communities. Elevating community voice is fundamental to solving our nation’s most challenging community problems and helping people become active, engaged and empowered members of their communities is critical to creating strong, healthy, equitable and resilient communities.
This is why we are committed to expanding participation in our democracy. There is a deep connection between participating in community life and voting. Voting is how we express our hopes and dreams for our shared future. It is also the most fundamental right for all American citizens, upon which all other rights and liberties depend.
After years of tireless organizing to expand the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) to income-eligible workers; ALL immigrant tax filers are now included. Follow us as we share the greatest hits from the CalEITC Coalition in our way to make it for all.
With the passage of the new statewide eviction moratorium - the Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020 (AB 3088) - Californians across the state are all scrambling to understand what the law means for them. This is a critical period for California where tens of thousands of people are at risk of homelessness if they are not properly informed of their rights as tenants.
In order to address this, UWCA is working with a number of legal aid and tenants rights groups on a newly launched text “RentSOS to 211-211” campaign. This will help tenants understand what steps they need to take to stay housed and access resources to support them.
We strongly encourage you to use and refer people seeking updated information to text "RentSOS" to 211-211. Once individuals text "RentSOS"to 211-211, they will:
Receive information on their rights as tenants,
Be directed to a resource directory for legal aid in their county, and;
Be provided with important documentation that may be needed for legal protections under the law
We will continue to consult with legal aid experts and the State Administration on the content to ensure timely and accurate information.
Vulnerable kinship and foster families who are at further economic and resource risk during COVID-19 uncertainties can find local supports
As KinshipCareCA.org celebrates its two-month anniversary today, its kinship “concierge service” is ramping up to better support grandfamilies, kinship caregivers, foster parents, and service providers to connect with local services and improve youth outcomes. This service is becoming even more important in light of California’s ongoing battle with COVID-19.
Many children and youth are raised by relatives other than their biological parents, but outside of the formal foster care system. For these “kinship care” families, finding resources can be difficult because a new kinship parent may not know where to begin, and may not be aware that supports exist for their situation. Similarly, as with all families, the developmental needs of children are always evolving, so even a veteran kinship parent often needs assistance. The goal of KinshipCareCA.org is to curate a library of updated resources that can be easily navigated by kinship caregivers and kinship service providers. KinshipCareCA.org further supports those who need additional help by beginning conversations with 24/7 kinship navigator specialists. KinshipCareCA.org quickly pivoted prior to its site launch to publish COVID-19 resources with the kinship and foster caregiver in mind. Additionally, the program features access to live help, by phone or text, from resource specialists who are trained on the needs of kinship and foster youth and caregivers.
How KinshipCareCA.org Works
With KinshipCareCA.org, caregivers have free access to a guided search for online resources and a callback 24/7 from a kinship navigation expert in real-time whenever there is a new crisis, question or fork in their kinship journey. This concierge service both builds resilience for navigating the systems of care that are relevant to kinship families in that it puts resources directly at the fingertips of families in need when they need it, and institutes a type of virtual safety net because if the caregiver provides some basic information, a specialist will call back and check in on their experience with the resource.
Launched on World Foster Day
“Kinship and foster parenting is a global response to a growing global situation,” says Agnes Barnard, leader of the South African organization, Kin Culture behind “World Foster Day,” a special day celebrated around the world on May 31 to uplift all types of family caregivers who are raising a child who isn’t biologically theirs. United Way launched KinshipCareCA.org on World Foster Day 2020 as a tribute to caregivers everywhere. World Foster Day aims to promote foster care through storytelling, education and activation of communities.
“We also take time thanking foster families for the work they do for children around the world, Barnard added. United Way launched KinshipCareCA.org on World Foster Day 2020 as a tribute to caregivers everywhere. A recent Facebook post from World Foster Day reposts Embrace Washington's definition of foster parenting as “risking the protection of one’s heart for the protection of a child.”
[This is the first post in a new blog series that will explore racial disparities in California].
In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the U.S. has seen a wave of civil protests in over 2,000 cities calling for the dismantling of systemic racism and policing practices. Not since the Civil Rights movement has the U.S. seen such broad-based calls for racial justice.
The disruption and hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic, where at least 36 million people have claimed unemployment nationally since March 2020, is the backdrop for this movement, and may have contributed to the unrest. Many of the protesters have been people of color disconnected from the labor market and from educational opportunities as they seek a better life for themselves, free of discrimination.
Although this is the final agreed upon budget, this agreement only avoids steep cuts to education and safety net programs until next year. Negotiations went better than expected as both Governor Newsom and the Legislature were encouraged by tax revenues which came in about $1 billion ahead of prior dismal May projections. This final version is very similar to the Legislative Version that passed on June 15th.
This final version does not rely on additional Rainy Day Funds, Safety Net Reserve Funds, or the PERS deferral that were included in the Legislature’s version if additional federal funds did not materialize. Instead, it relies upon updated baseline forecast adjustments to revenues and expenditures and an increased Prop 98 deferral. $14 billion in additional funding would be appropriated if the State receives federal funding by October 15.
Note: Although this is the final agreed upon budget, the Governor may still exercise line item vetoes in trailer bills.
In January, California was propelling the American economic resurgence—with 118 consecutive months of growth, stratospheric job creation, and its highest credit rating in nearly two decades. Because of prudent one-time investments which enabled the state to attain the largest rainy day fund in its history, California in a far stronger fiscal position today than it has been during previous downturns.
In this blog post, we will go over:
California's economic outlook prior to the COVID-19 induced recession.
The rationale for this year's May Revise and projected budget cuts.
An in depth analysis of areas most important to our members, including: education & child care, financial stability, health, as well as housing & homelessness; and,
These numbers are most certainly going up during COVID-19.
United Way’s relief programs support working families impacted by quarantine or disruption of income and to support the coordination of community relief efforts, with special attention to those who were already vulnerable prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis.
This week United Ways of California announced a major donation to its statewide COVID-19 fund of $10 million made graciously by an anonymous donor. This follows the donor’s $4 million donation to United Way Bay Area in March. United Ways of California’s statewide COVID-19 fund is intended to ensure equity in the distribution of philanthropic resources across all of California.
This past week, Governor Newsome signed four new executive orders that will:
Wage Garnishment & Student Loan Protections: Exempt garnishment for any individuals receiving federal, state or local government financial assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes recovery rebates under the CARES Act. Funds may still be garnished for child support, family support, spousal support or criminal restitution for victims. The Governor also announced a new initiative for students with commercially owned Federal Family Education Loan or privately held student loans who are struggling to make payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic which now may also be eligible for expanded relief. Relief options include providing a minimum of 90 days forbearance, waiving late payment fees, ensuring that no borrower is subject to negative credit reporting, and helping eligible borrowers enroll in other assistance programs.The text of the Governor’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here.
School Transparency: Empower schools to focus on responding to COVID-19 and to provide transparency to their communities.The order extends the deadlines for local educational agencies to submit Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP), which are multi-year planning documents tied to budget projections. By law, LCAPs must be developed in collaboration with parents, students, teachers, and community groups. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, school leaders are appropriately focused on managing the immediate needs of their students and families.
This past week Govenror Newsom signed 6 new executive, ranging from juvenile justice to the establishment of a new task force on economic recovery.
Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery: Bringing together leaders across California’s diverse, innovative economic and social sectors to chart a path forward on recovery in the wake of COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the formation of a state Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery. The Task Force will be co-chaired by Governor Newsom’s Chief of Staff Ann O’Leary and philanthropist, environmentalist and businessman Tom Steyer, who was also appointed Chief Advisor to the Governor on Business and Jobs Recovery. He will receive no compensation for his service.
Members of the Task Force include Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senate Minority Leader Shannon Grove, Assembly Minority Leader Marie Waldron, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Walt Disney Company Executive Chairman Bob Iger, former head of the Small Business Administration Aida Álvarez and dozens of prominent leaders in business, labor, health care, academia and philanthropy.
California has officially been approved to allow food stamp recipients to buy groceries online.
California will be allowed to participate in an ongoing pilot program experimenting with giving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients the option to use their benefits to shop for groceries online. This will allow nearly 5 million more people to use online shopping services that often include delivery.
California is expected to launch its SNAP online program by the end of the month.
This past week Governor Newsom issued 7 new executive orders:
Child Care:Will facilitate child care for children of essential critical infrastructure workers by allowing the California Department of Education and California Department of Social Services the flexibility to waive certain programmatic and administrative requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The waivers will focus on current eligibility and enrollment priorities that prevent child care and afterschool programs from serving children of essential infrastructure workers. The waiver will allow eligibility for child care to prioritize essential workers, including health care professionals, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, and grocery workers.
Additionally, the order states that the Department of Education and the Department of Social Services shall jointly develop and issue guidance on how the essential worker prioritization will roll out, as well as guidance on how child care programs and providers can safely provide care. This guidance will be issued no later than April 7, 2020.
Priority for abused and neglected children will not be impacted.
The order also allows the state to take advantage of new federal flexibility to provide pandemic Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to children. Specifically, the California Department of Social Services and the California Department of Education will share data and information to identify students who may be eligible for the pandemic SNAP benefit, to reduce food insecurity and ensure children receive nutritious meals at low or no cost.
This past week, Governor Newsom issued 3 new executive orders.
Statewide Rental Eviction Moratorium: California landlords will not be able to evict tenants while the state fights coronavirus. The ban will be in place through May 31, 2020. The moratorium allows tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus spreading through the state. It requires tenants to declare in writing that they can’t pay their rent because of the pandemic within a week after their rent was due.
State Prisons & Juvenile Facilities: Meant to reduce the risks of COVID-19 in correctional settings, this order directs the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Secretary to temporarily halt the intake and/or transfer of inmates and youth into the state’s 35 prisons and four youth correctional facilities. Those inmates and youth will remain in county custody for the next 30 days. This period can be extended if needed. This action builds on the state and local correctional and public safety leaders’ longstanding partnership, to protect public health and safety in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.
Judicial Council Emergency Authority: Specifically, the executive order empowers the Judicial Council and the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court to take necessary action to be able to conduct business and continue to operate while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order allows the Judicial Branch to allow for remote depositions in every case (the law had previously required that parties be deposed in person) and electronic service of process. Additionally, the order leaves the Judicial Branch discretion to make any modifications to legal practice and procedure it deems necessary in order to continue conducting business.
Last Friday, President Trump signed into law the largest stimulus bill in American history, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act will provide billions of dollars of relief to individuals, businesses, state and local governments, and the health care system suffering the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the United States. Although the program's price tag is $2.2 trillion, the economic impact is expected to approach nearly $7 trillion over the course of several economic cycles. Some of the key provisions include:
One-Time Financial Relief Payments
All U.S. residents (meaning those that file with an ITIN are excluded, unless they have military service) with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples) would get a $1,200 ($2,400 for couples) “rebate” payment. They are also eligible for an additional $500 per qualifying child. The payments would start phasing out for earners above those income thresholds and would not go to single filers earning more than $99,000; head-of-household filers with one child, more than $146,500; and more than $198,000 for joint filers with no children.
The federal government will use previous tax information to determine the amount tax units will receive. If the Internal Revenue Service already has bank account information for a tax unit, it will transfer the money via direct deposit based on the recent income-tax figures it has (2018 or 2019 if filed already).
People who don’t pay taxes, such as those with very low incomes, may be hard to reach the way the program is designed.
An excellent FAQ article by the New York Times that goes into greater detail can be found HERE.
California United Ways are here to help families access vital resources at a time of great need as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt life for people across the state. We mobilize statewide partners to help low-income Californians get support filing their taxes and claiming tax credits that make all the difference for our most vulnerable communities. We want to update our networks with the latest developments, and provide solutions on how we can band together to support those who need it the most.
The deadline to file and pay both state and federal taxes has been pushed back by 90 days to July 15th 2020. This applies to 2019 tax returns, 2019 tax return payments, 2020 1st and 2nd quarter estimated payments, 2020 LLC taxes and fees, and 2020 non-wage withholding payments. Tax payers will not need to file any paperwork to qualify for this extension, and there will be no interest or penalties for filing by the new date. If at all possible, taxpayers should file their taxes online by going to www.MyFreeTaxes.org, where chat support is available 24/7 in English and Spanish. Especially for those who are expecting a refund, filing now and claiming credits such as the CalEITC and the Young Child Tax Credit will be a quick way to get money in the pockets of those who may be struggling financially during this public health crisis. Our chatbot is an advanced AI specifically focused on assisting with a wide range of support issues such as mental health and financial stress. The Franchise Tax Board is continuing to process returns and issue refunds in a timely manner, and providing phone and live chat support to taxpayers. Additionally, texting “Taxes” to 211-211 will provide taxpayers with the latest updates. In-person volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) sites have been closed across the state indefinitely due to COVID-19. However, for those who have access to the internet and a phone, computer, or tablet; you can get support online from a trained VITA volunteer, without having to go to a physical location, by going to www.GetYourRefund.org.
While families across the nation may be losing income, and are struggling to pay for food/rent, United Ways of California wants to make it as easy as possible to connect families to other resources that they may qualify for. Services such as Benefit Kitchen can easily determine eligibility for up to 18 other social benefits. We have also issued a State Wide Relief Fund to support those impacted by COVID-19. This fund will aid in the coordination of efforts among partners on the ground serving our most vulnerable Californians who may be experiencing hardship in quarantine or due to a loss of income. It’s our priority to ensure that our most at risk communities are staying safe, supported, connected, and informed during the COVID-19 crisis.
There is no doubt that California is facing a harsh reality when it comes to homelessness – from the seemingly more visible presence of unsheltered individuals in urban cores and on city sidewalks – to the less obvious scenarios, such as a single mother of two spending a night sleeping in the family car or a hidden encampment. What we do know is that we are decades deep into this crisis, and we still lack an effective statewide and national strategy to bring an end homelessness.
According to the most recent publicly available data on homelessness by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), California has the largest homeless population in the country with approximately 130,000 people living in shelters or on the street. That comprises 24% of the country’s homeless population, easily the highest in the nation. With nearly 53,000 reported homeless individuals, Los Angeles County alone contains 10% of the national homeless population. What is poorly understood, however, is how homelessness numbers are calculated and why it is important to regard them as estimates when attempting to address intervention strategies on homelessness and affordable housing, in general.
Earlier this summer, United Ways of California released Struggling to Stay Afloat: The Real Cost Measure in California 2019, a new financial stability report that focuses on the financial challenges of working families. Unlike the official poverty measure, which primarily accounts for the cost of food adjusted for inflation, the Real Cost Measure incorporates the costs of housing, food, health care, child care, transportation and other basic needs for a more accurate measure of self-sufficiency.
Today, we are glad to release new legislative profiles to accompany the release of the study. These profiles illustrate the percentage of households below the Real Cost Measure by neighborhood cluster. Neighborhood clusters, or public use microdata areas as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, are contiguously consolidated neighborhoods with at least 100,000 people, and are more statistically accurate than other geographic boundaries such as zip codes or census tracts.
United Ways of California improves the health, education and financial stability of low-income workers and families by enhancing and coordinating the advocacy and community impact work of 31 member United Ways throughout California.
Last year we wrote to Samantha Deshommes, Chief of the Regulatory Coordination Division, at the Office of Policy and Strategy, for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Department of Homeland Security, opposing the White House’s proposed changes to the “public charge” rule. Click here to read that correspondence.
Today, we underscore our opposition. The final rule, despite its 837-page length, is vague in its explanation of how the expanded definition will be applied, and to what end. Fear and confusion over this new rule has already proven harmful—especially to kids.
Governor Gavin Newsom has a chance to supercharge upward mobility for all working families in California, by ensuring that low-income taxpayers who file with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) are also included in his bold vision for California and the Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC).
One in three families in California struggle to meet basic living costs, about twice the official poverty rate, and these are overwhelmingly working families: 9 in 10 of them are led by a working adult, according to United Way’s Real Cost Measure research. Why then wouldn’t the state continue to do whatever it can to help raise more people out of poverty?
United Ways of California (UWCA) recently provided a comment on the current effort by the Federal Communications Commission to study the feasibility of designating a three-digit number to the National Suicide Hotline and to assess the effectiveness of the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. UWCA understands that the ease of contacting assistance is a critical factor for people in crisis and friends, family and community members seeking to help. UWCA recommends that resources should be invested to improve a unified single point of access with a blended partnership of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and United Way’s 211 services. Additionally, strengthening links between 2-1-1 and crisis helplines may be the most effective approach. Please click here to read our public comment.
Children’s health coverage is critical in ensuring kids are on the path to life success. We know that when children have access to comprehensive and quality care, they are more likely to enter school ready to learn and reach graduation. Despite coverage gains in previous years, recent trends show that too many children cannot access regular, preventative health care.
A new analysis by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families shows an estimated 3.9 million children were uninsured nationwide in 2017. The number of uninsured children in the U.S. increased by about 276,000 last year, the first significant increase in a decade, according to the new report. California showed no improvement: About 301,000 or 3.1 percent of California children 18 and younger were uninsured in 2017.
Over the past two weeks, two significant wildfires have devastated in Northern and Southern California. The Camp Fire in Northern California, has burned over 142,000 acres, and destroyed the community of Paradise. As of this writing, over 600 people remain unaccounted for. The Woolsey and Hill Fires in Southern California has burned nearly 103,000 acres combined, and is affecting communities in both Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
In response to the fires, several California United Ways have established disaster relief funds to help those impacted, particularly low-income families and children. We ask you to please spread the word on both of these efforts, and give today.
Camp Fire Fund in Butte County by United Way of Northern California
Los Angeles, CA – Below is a statement from Peter Manzo, President and CEO, on behalf of United Ways of California (UWCA), regarding the final State Budget signed today:
The final budget signed by Governor Brown today provides significant investments in California families. As a state, we are making good progress towards our ultimate goal of supporting all Californians to be healthy, educated and financially stable.
We are shocked and deeply disappointed by reports on the conditions and treatment of the nearly 2000 children that have been separated from their families at the border in just the past several weeks. United Ways of California urgently requests the Trump Administration to reverse its practice of separating children from their families at the border and take immediate steps to reunify any detained children with their parents.
Los Angeles, CA – Below is a statement from Peter Manzo, President and CEO, on behalf of United Ways of California (UWCA), regarding the proposed State Budget agreement:
California is the fifth largest economy in the world and is experiencing an almost $9 billion surplus, so while United Ways of California is pleased that the budget agreement between Governor Brown and the Legislature includes more workers in the state earned income tax credit and funding to address the growing housing and homelessness crisis, we also see missed opportunities for smart and much needed investments in healthcare and expanded early child care.
Los Angeles, CA – Below is a statement from Peter Manzo, President and CEO, on behalf of United Ways of California (UWCA), regarding the Governor’s May Revise budget proposal:
United Ways of California is delighted to see the Governor’s May Revise include more workers in the state earned income tax credit and also the proposed commitments to lifting up low-income households and ensuring that more investments are made to address the growing housing and homelessness crisis.
I'm proud to announce that United Ways of California is sponsoring Assembly Bill 2066 to reduce poverty among working Californians and to boost local economies. Assemblymembers Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) and Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino) have jointly introduced the measure to extend the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) to working families and individuals currently ineligible for the credit, including low-income youth, seniors, and immigrants without Social Security Numbers. United Ways of California is joined by Children’s Defense Fund-CA, California Immigrant Policy Center and Golden State Opportunity Fund as co-sponsors for the bill.
The “Digital Divide” persists, despite huge improvements in the capacity and affordability of computers and mobile devices. Low-income consumers increasingly have smart phone technology few could have imagined back in the early 2000s when the term had its heyday (in fact, Latino households, are the largest users of smart phones in California), yet they often lack wi-fi at home and a laptop or desktop computer.
As many as 4 in 10 households in low-income communities still lack broadband access, though the overall rate of broadband adoption statewide is improving. These communities correlate with low-income, largely the same neighbhorhoods our Real Cost Measure study identified, as shown on these below:
Last month, we had the opportunity to explore some of the latest American Community Survey data on median household earnings, and how they have changed over time both nationally and throughout California. (Earnings have largely remained constant for decades among most working families, but there are huge disparities among CA neighborhoods). In this blog post, we are using the same data source to explore the intersection between educational attainment and median personal earnings. This is a particularly important subject as educational attainment is universally acknowledged as a primary factor in eliminating generational poverty, and in human development.
Last Thursday, the U.S. Census Bureau released new supplemental demographic data on health, education, and income well-being on American FactFinder. The annual October release is significant as this new data allows us the ability to dig deeper to see how people are faring in their own local neighborhoods.
One of the critical pieces of data we look at here at United Ways of California is median household earnings, which illustrates the economic potential of families throughout the state. It is a key component of our Real Cost Measure report, which determines what it takes a given household to make ends meet in California.
United Ways of California (UWCA) is proud to be co-convener of the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) Advocacy Coalition thatwas recognized with a Community Hero at the California Reinvestment Coalition's Celebrate Sacramento Valley Reinvestment event last night. The CalEITC Advocacy Coalition is composed of more than 20 organizations across the state and is led by UWCA and Children’s Defense Fund-CA.
Today United Way Worldwide released the following statement. United Ways of California stands with United Way Worldwide in asking the Senate to pass a budget that defends the health, employment and education programs that families and children depend on. The following is United Way Worldwide's statement.
To: Members of California’s congressional delegation
RE: Pass Legislation to Protect California Dreamers and DACA
Dear Majority Leader McCarthy, Minority Leader Pelosi, Senator Feinstein, Senator Harris, and all members of California’s congressional delegation:
This week the White House announced its decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects approximately 242,339 young people from deportation in California. Nationwide, the DACA program is a lifeline for nearly 800,000 young immigrants who came to this country as children. We urge you to take action to protect them by passing legislation to protect their status.
While it is too early to estimate the long-term impact of the Trump Administration’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), Latino households in California have the most to lose than any demographic group nationally.
On Wednesday, August 30th, Pete Manzo from United Ways of California discussed affordable housing, SB3, a bill to propose state bond funding for affordable housing for approval by voters in the November 2018 election, and The Real Cost Measure, our financial stability report for California, on "AirTalk", hosted by Larry Mantle on KPCC in Pasadena. Mr. Manzo and David Wolfe from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association discussed the merrits of SB 3 and its potential implications for housing in California. Click here to listen to the full interview.
The “Better Care Reconciliation Act” released by the Senate Majority today is anything but better. It will degrade health coverage for everyone, and deprive it altogether from millions of Americans. In fact it appears to be worse than the American Health Care Act passed by the House last month.
America’s modern health system has been built around employer-sponsored health insurance. According to Forbes, 170 million Americans receive health coverage through plans sponsored by their employers. The BCRA will require most of those 170 million to pay more for worse health care coverage, by eliminating requirements for essential health benefits, allowing states the option of instituting life time caps and charging higher premiums to those over 50. In fact it eliminates the requirements for large employers to even offer health coverage and makes it impossible for small businesses to afford decent coverage if they so desire.
Medicaid is a safety net for those who are still suffering from the recession, have lost their jobs, or have low paying jobs without benefits. In the Central Valley, for example, the oil and agriculture industries have dropped tens of thousands of jobs in the past decade, and these families have no choice but to rely on Medicaid as they search for new work or training opportunities.
Children in low-income families – nearly one of every two children in the US – and people with disabilities also depend on Medicaid, which is funded in partnership between the federal government and state governments. In all, 65 million Americans are covered under Medicaid, including 37 million children; in California, Medicaid covers 14 million people, including 1.4 million children.
BCRA cuts $800 Billion from Medicaid, and these drastic cuts will force states to kick millions off the program. California stands to lose over half of its in federal funding for Medicaid ($15 billion (58%)), which would be impossible to backfill with tax increases and will mean millions will lose insurance.
Many people may not be aware that Medicaid is what allows seniors to access long-term care without imposing a burden on their families, on their children, and grandchildren. According to AARP, about 65 percent of nursing home residents are supported primarily by Medicaid, and Medicaid pays for 45 percent of the total nursing home bill. With block grants or per capita caps, it is our parents and grandparents that will suffer. BCRA’s cuts likely would lead to severe financial hardship on millions of families, including having to quit work to care for elderly parents, and risk losing their own health coverage and financial security.
And for low-income children, the BCRA’s proposed Medicaid cuts would be a disaster. 95 percent of children in America now have health insurance coverage, 97 percent in California. In California, we’ve gone from 1.2 million uninsured kids down to less than 100,000. More than 37 million children are enrolled in Medicaid, compared to 1 million in the health exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. There simply is no way to shield our nation’s most vulnerable children from Medicaid cuts of this magnitude.
The BCRA violates President Trump’s promises on the campaign and in office not to cut Medicaid, and his promise after inauguration to “come up with a new plan that’s going to be better health care for more people at a lesser cost.” The BCRA’s devastating block grants and per capita caps upon the Medicaid program are harsher than even the House bill, which President Trump himself referred to as ‘mean.’ We agree. The Senate’s decision to exempt disabled children from imposed caps only highlights how harmful BCRA is to kids. Per capita caps and block grants are bad for everyone.. This bill asks low and middle-income people (and their employers) to spend more for less coverage, and makes it impossible for states to respond to population growth, epidemics, medical advances and treatment, or emergencies like earthquakes and fires.
As damaging as the bill’s substantive provisions are, the Senate has been reckless and irresponsible in handling such a vital, life and death issue. The Affordable Care Act, which the BCRA is meant to dismantle, was debated in three House committees and two Senate committees, and was subject to hours of bipartisan debate that allowed for the consideration of 130 amendments from both sides of the aisle. The BCRA is likewise a major piece of legislation, yet it was drafted in secret, with none of the Senates’s “regular order” of committee hearings and processes. In 2009, the full Senate debated the health care bill for 25 straight days before passing it on Dec. 24, 2009. We expect 20 hours of debate total on this bill.
The BCRA will not not produce better care for anyone; instead, it will destabilize the health insurance markets, including private insurance sponsored by employers; cause risk pools to be older and sicker; cause uncertainty for hospitals and health systems across the country; require middle- and low-income families to pay more for worse coverage; and kick millions of people off insurance altogether. This is bad policy, plain and simple.
Written with Judy Darnell, Vice President for Public Policy, and Danielle Kilchenstein, Health Coverage Project Administrator
The economic well-being of hundreds of thousands of working Californians hangs in the balance as California’s Budget Conference Committee meets to work out their disagreements for the 2017-2018 budget before final negotiations with Governor Brown. This legislative budget will get us one step closer to determining whether California’s Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) will support self-employed, “gig-economy” workers. Both houses have luckily already agreed that outreach dollars again are needed to build awareness of the CalEITC among the very low-income workers living in poverty and just trying every day to make ends meet.
The CalEITC is a refundable state tax credit that increases the economic security of working families, who can receive as much as $2,706 from the program, depending on their income, in addition to the income boost they receive from the federal EITC.
The American Health Care Act passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives will have a devastating impact on California’s children and families. This new version of the bill is significantly worse than the previous version, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated would result in over 24 million Americans losing health insurance. Congress rushed this through before getting an independent analysis from CBO, which means that our nation’s leaders and their constituents have no idea how much worse it’s gotten and how many more people will lose coverage. At a minimum, we know that the bill guts Medicaid, cutting more than $800 billion over 10 years, and will cause at least 24 million more uninsured people within a decade. It will also expose everyone with private insurance, from their employer or purchased on their own, to discrimination for pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps on care.
In March 2017, Measure of America, a trusted partner of United Way, released their latest report on disconnected youth, those not enrolled in school or participating in the labor force between the ages of 16-24.
In Promising Gains, Persistent Gaps: Youth Disconnection in America, Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis find there were approximately 609,000 disconnected youth in California in 2015, easily the highest rate in the nation. However, California also experienced a decrease of disconnected youth from 2010-15 by 18%, indicating improved well-being for that vulnerable population since the Great Recession. While that is certainly good news, it is prudent to consider how disconnected youth are spatially dispersed throughout California and the opportunities we have to better serve them.
United Way’s ask of President Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his Congressional colleagues is that any changes to our healthcare laws must improve on existing healthcare coverage, protect Medicaid from harmful structural changes and leave intact all consumer protections for all Americans. It may sound like a tall order, but it can be done, and that is the task for Speaker Ryan, President Trump and other Congressional leaders who have vowed to replace the Affordable Care Act with something better.
With that in mind, let’s look at the GOP’s proposed new health insurance law, the “American Health Care Act” (AHCA), sponsored by House Speaker Paul Ryan and championed by President Trump.
Last month, the world lost one of its greatest champions in human development and global health, Hans Rosling. Among other things, Mr. Rosling became internationally famous for visualizing complicated data and making it understandable, interactive and engaging for all audiences (even if it meant proving we are often no smarter than a chimpanzee). He taught us that despite all of the world’s ongoing challenges, we have made great social progress over the past several decades. Take for instance that:
Now that Speaker Paul Ryan has introduced the Republican proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (a pair of bills referred to as the American Health Care Act), it would be instructive to look back to 2009, the last time health insurance reform was on the table, to see what directions health reform may take.
Back then, 49.9 million Americans, or about 1 in 6, were uninsured; health care premiums for Americans who had coverage were increasing by double digits every year, and Americans paid more for health care and got worse results than citizens in any country we would consider our peers.
For the second time in 8 years, America’s elected leaders are grappling with the thorny problem of how to improve health coverage and care for all Americans.
This time will be the same in one critical respect - the simple, unavoidable market realities to providing real access to health coverage for people who aren’t able to obtain coverage from an employer.
This will again be a free market issue – whatever its faults, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was firmly built around preserving a central role for private insurers to provide coverage and for consumers to have choice of plans and doctors. This pro-market nature of the ACA has been obscured by all the politics surrounding it.
Also, we need to take luck into account, as the great conservative economist Milton Friedman observed. None of us know which of us will be sick in the future, or which of us may lose our jobs. By its very nature, insurance redistributes the burdens of the unfortunate few across the many who are more fortunate. That’s built in, that’s how insurance works.
The upshot is that to expand health coverage in a private insurance market, we need to employ three interdependent tools, like the legs on a stool:
Require insurers to offer coverage to everyone, even if they have a pre-existing condition;
Require/incentivize younger, healthier people to buy into the insurance pool, even though they might otherwise choose not to buy insurance and;
Provide subsidies for lower income people who earn too little to pay the full cost of their premiums but earn too much above the poverty line to receive fully-subsidized health coverage
What would happen to income levels in Santa Barbara County if everyone completed their high school diploma/GED? Thanks to the new Common Good Forecaster developed by United Way and Measure of America, we now have the ability to find out — not only in Santa Barbara, but across California and the entire country.
California has made huge strides in recent years to ensure more families and children are healthy and excel in life, particularly by increasing access to health coverage. The state has reduced the number of uninsured children from 2 million in 1999 to just over 100,000 today who are eligible but yet to be enrolled. The number of children in California with health coverage is at 97 percent, an all-time high. This is not the time to turn back the clock. If their parents lose coverage, children are at risk too.
Yet members of Congress are proposing to do just that. Policy makers in Washington intend to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a concrete plan to replace it – an ill-advised scheme that would have unprecedented consequences according to a new report from the Urban Institute.
The following blog post is by Danielle Kilchenstein and Judy Darnell from United Ways of California.
Health coverage is a critical piece of the puzzle to ensure overall health for any person, but perhaps most importantly for our children to ensure they’re on a path to success. Today, United Ways across California are celebrating good news about children’s health. The number of uninsured children dropped from 7% (over 700,000) to 3% (still over 300,000) between 2013 and 2015. While still too many children cannot access regular, preventive care, the trend shows we are definitely on the right path.
In the next few weeks, The Chronicle of Philanthropy will release “The Philanthropy 400,” their annual ranking of the largest charities in the U.S. For at least the last two years, The Chronicle of Philanthropy has predicted that Fidelity Charitable, one of a handful of large commercial donor-advised fund vehicles, will pass United Way on the Chronicle’s list as the largest US charity, and 2016 may be the year that actually happens.
You might shrug and wonder, why should it matter? What’s the difference between the number one spot and number 5, or 10, or 15, among the hundreds of thousands of U.S. charities?
The most significant finding in Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015 is that real median household income increased 5.2% from 2014. That is the first genuine increase households have experienced since 2007, just before the Great Recession.
California United Ways are working together to help kids enter school ready to learn, from preschool through high school, and graduate high school ready for college and career. As we kick off a new school year, please join us in expanding educational opportunity for California's low-income students. To donate, please visit http://igfn.us/vfu/STUDENTS.
With the 2016 General Election just a few weeks away, we decided to look into some historical voter participation rates to determine potential turnout in November and discuss some of the steps we can take to encourage voter participation.
In a powerful infographic recently released by the New York Times, 88 million eligible voters in the United States did not vote in the 2012 General Election. Among the largest demographic of those who did not vote are young people between the ages of 18-24. Of those, only 38% voted according to recent data published by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Since the 1972 General Election, voter turnout in the U.S. and California has been gradually declining (and more so in primary elections). As the chart below illustrates, 66% of eligible voters in California voted in the 1972 General Election compared to just 48% in 2012. Moreover, The Center for the Study of the American Electorate projects that up to 95 million eligible voters may not vote in this year’s election.
One potential detriment to voter participation is the number of ballot measures Californians regularly have to consider. As one of the few states in the Union that allows voters the ability to place initiatives and referendums on ballots by its state Constitution, California voters will be asked to consider 18 initiatives this November in addition to vetting various local, state and national elected offices. (The record is 48 ballot initiatives in 1914). Doing so requires voters to conduct their own research on ballot measures which can be a barrier for some citizens who may lack literacy skills, a reliable Internet connection and more.
What We Can Do to Encourage Voter Participation
There are a number of changes we can make that would increase voter turnout, such as providing longer early voting periods, instituting vote by mail for all registered voters (as is the case in Oregon), allowing voting on weekends, same-day registration and more ideally, voting by smartphone. (A recent article from the Los Angeles Times cites CA Senate Bill 450 which seeks to expand absentee ballots and offer same-day voter registration through temporary “vote centers.”)
The Pew Research Center reports that nearly two-thirds of adults in the U.S. own a smartphone. If we can make purchases on our phone, board a plane, and send messages to the entire world instantly, we can certainly make voting more accessible and secure with current technologies. Perhaps more importantly, it would significantly increase voter turnout and negate inefficiencies such as waiting in line at voting precincts, and requiring employers from providing employees time off to vote on Election Day. Naturally, adopting any of these changes would require legislative change and would be subject to partisan debate.
Closer to home, one way to encourage voter participation is to organize meetups with friends and neighbors to discuss proposed ballot initiatives. While some of them may have already made up their minds on certain initiatives (or have predisposed inclinations), discussing the pros and cons of issues may bring clarity to understanding their respective short and long-term impacts. It will also be an opportunity to get to know others in your neighborhood better!
If you work or volunteer at a charitable organization, you can encourage their leaders to sign up with the “Vote with Your Mission/Nonprofit VOTE” campaign supported by the California Association of Nonprofits and United Way. The campaign aims to encourage those working and volunteering at a nonprofit to register vote, as well as those who benefit from their programs and services. It is a great way to encourage civic participation among your own colleagues.
The hardest task of course is encouraging eligible voters between 18 and 24 to vote. The nonpartisan organization Rock the Vote has demonstrated strong success in connecting eligible youth to registration drives and local voting precincts. However, by reaching out to young, eligible voters via social media, we can also do our part. Some research suggests encouraging young people to vote through social networks is far more likely to be effective than television advertisements and phone calls. Thus, posting notices on your own social network about registration deadlines and information on voting precincts before election day can go a long way in incentivizing youth to vote.
With thousands of families being displaced and impacted by the Blue Cut Fire in San Bernardino County, Inland Empire United Way has launched a relief fund to help families with short and long-term needs.
If you would like to support relief efforts, please text “RELIEF” to 40403 or visit their donation page. GIVE. ADVOCATE. VOLUNTEER.
It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but actually they didn't walk into a bar.
Instead, in Denver 1887, Frances Wisebart Jacobs, the Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J.O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman created the nation's first united campaign, and established an organization to collect the funds for local charities, to coordinate relief services, to counsel and refer clients to cooperating agencies, and to make emergency assistance grants for cases that could not be referred. That year, Denver raised $21,700 for this greater good, and created a movement that would become United Way.
On April 4, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill (SB 3) that will raise California's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Together, with the passage of a similar law in New York State and living wage campaigns throughout the nation, California’s action has brought the idea of a $15 minimum wage to the forefront of the national discussion on poverty.
“Structural inequality is the fight of our time. Philanthropy, are you in it?”
Dr. Robert Ross, CEO of The California Endowment, framed this challenge in a panel at a recent conference on philanthropy sponsored by USC’s Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy, and he called on foundations to “spend” their brands – to put the good will they have accrued – in fighting inequality.
This reminded me of similar excellent advice Dr. Ross shared with California United Way board members and leaders at our 2012 Capitol Day in Sacramento. Dr. Ross discussed the distinct role United Way plays in the social sector and the opportunities we have to improve well-being in health, education and income throughout California. He thanked us for getting in the fight, and also encouraged us to use all the good will we can call upon in our communities to push for positive change. Click here to read his remarks, posed with his permission.
Los Angeles, CA—Below is a statement from Peter Manzo, President and CEO, on behalf of United Ways of California (UWCA), regarding the Governor’s proposed budget release:
United Ways of California applauds the Governor for once again making significant investments in K-12 education. With an increase of $3,600 per pupil in K-12 funding over last year, and a continued commitment to the Career Technical Education Incentive Grant program, California will continue to move toward an improved education system. The Governor’s proposal also makes a very welcome increased investment in Transitional Kindergarten, a vital bridge to helping children enter K-12 schools ready to learn. Click here to read the full press release.
About 830 million people in the world are working poor—living on less than $2 a day—and more than 1.5 billion are in vulnerable employment, usually lacking decent working conditions and adequate voice and social security. - 2015 Human Development Report
Earlier this morning, the United Nations Human Development Programme released its global 2015 Human Development Report which among other things, measures well being in health education and income, the core areas of United Way’s community impact work.
The report reveals some very encouraging news, especially when we take a look at the historical data. Between 1990 and 2015:
Arrowhead United Way established a relief fund today to support the needs of those affected by the tragedy in San Bernardino. If you would like to support their cause, please text "SBUNITED" to 71777 or visit their donation page. A disaster distress hotline is also available at 800.985.5990. GIVE. ADVOCATE. VOLUNTEER.
Los Angeles, — California. Today, United Ways of California joined Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and other California leaders to announce the launch of CalEITC4me, a statewide campaign involving community, faith, civic, labor and business leaders to ensure the first-ever California Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) winds up in the hands of those who worked hard to earn it. Click here to read more.
Struggling to Get By introduces the Real Cost Measure, a new tool that provides a more realistic picture of poverty than the Federal Poverty Line. The Real Cost Measure creates “basic needs” budgets for households, using actual costs for food, housing, transportation, health care, childcare, and taxes throughout California.
Among the questions Struggling to Get By seeks to answer are: What is the true rate of financially challenged households? How many are led by working adults? What do we know about these households? What do their family configurations look like? What regions and communities struggle more than others? What do income challenges look like across race, ethnicity and gender boundaries and more.
Today’s budget agreement provides an opportunity for the nine million Californians who find it difficult to afford housing, food, and the basic necessities needed to survive. While there is still much work to be done, Governor Jerry Brown, the California legislature and community organizations like the United Ways of California network have embarked on an ambitious plan to reverse some of the damage done during the Great Recession.
Creating a California state Earned Income Tax Credit for low and moderate income workers will provide some much needed relief for working families by helping them secure an apartment or repair a car, and spur demand for goods and services by increasing purchasing power for tax filers in local economies that need it most.
In an overwhelming show of bi-partisan support, the Assembly today approved legislation by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) that creates a policy framework for a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Sponsored by United Ways of California with co-sponsor Alameda County, AB 43 addresses the lack of income gains for working Californians in the Post-Great Recession economic recovery and provides a much-needed economic stimulus in the most economically distressed communities.
California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, according the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure. Nearly 1 in 4 Californians – over 8 million people, including 2 million children - lived in poverty in 2013. These are overwhelmingly working families; almost 70 percent had at least one working adult. Many families above the poverty line also struggle to make ends meet. Our United Way research shows 1 in 3 working families earn below the threshold of a basic needs household budget.
The best way to assure our children grow up in a society where opportunity is growing, not shrinking, is to expand opportunity for all children. Perhaps the most effective and affordable way for us to do that is ensure all low-income children have access to high quality preschool.
"Good afternoon, Chairman Ting and Committee members. I’m Pete Manzo, President/CEO of United Ways of California, the state association for California’s 34 local United Ways. United Way works to improve health, education and financial stability for low-and moderate-income families, three interrelated building blocks of a good life. We are proud to co-sponsor AB 43.
California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, according the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure. Nearly 1 in 4 Californians – over 8 million people, including 2 million children - lived in poverty in 2013. These are overwhelmingly working families; almost 70 percent had at least one working adult.
Many families above the poverty line also struggle to make ends meet. Our United Way research shows 1 in 3 working families earn below the threshold of a basic needs household budget.
Thankfully, the EITC is a proven tool for fighting poverty.The federal EITC lifts more children out of poverty than any other federal policy. That is why 25 other states have established state EITCs to supplement the federal credit.
If enacted, AB 43 would help lift over 178,000 Californians, nearly half of them children, out of poverty, and would improve financial stability for over 3.1 million, including 1 million children.
A state EITC also would boost local economies. People tend to use their refunds to make larger necessary purchases, such as car repairs, first-and-last months’ rent, or paying off debt, and each dollar received by a tax filer can generate an additional $1.50 - $2 in local economic activity, according to a study of other state EITCs.
We are very excited to see a state EITC becoming a priority among legislators and the Governor. And we believe AB 43 offers the best approach. It combines two elements we believe are especially important: (1) enhanced reimbursement for families with children, at least one child under 5, when the impacts of poverty can be most damaging, and (2) eligibility that matches the federal EITC, which assists workers with income up to $47,000 for a single parent and 3 or more kids.
This is critically important for many families slightly above the poverty line who earn too little to make ends meet, but earn too much to qualify for other public supports.
We are proud to sponsor AB 43, and we look forward to working with Assemblyman Stone and other stakeholders to ensure a state EITC can indeed reduce and mitigate poverty in California."
We're delighted to see Governor Brown's proposal to create a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a momentous first step to fight poverty, but we're disappointed he did not go further to invest in early education and health coverage for low-income children. Read our statement on the Governor's May Revision here.
8.9 million Californians find it difficult to afford housing, food, and some of the basic necessities needed to survive. Over the last 40 years, productivity has increased by approximately 74%, yet wages for most low- and moderate-income people have not kept pace, with median hourly compensation rising only 9% over that period, according to a report by Economic Policy Institute featured in The Atlantic Monthly.
Children bear the brunt of this, sadly. California leads the nation in residents living in poverty, and our poverty rate for children, 27%, is worst in the country, according to a recent report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The EITC is one bright spot, however; from 2010 to 2012, the federal EITC pulled 1.3 million people, including 629,000 children, above the federal poverty line in California. To make work even more effective at reducing poverty for low-income families, California’s United Ways, working through our United Ways of California state network, are sponsoring Assembly Bill 43 (Stone), which would create a state refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program, as twenty-five other states have done.
This morning, Measure of America, a project of the Social Science Research Council, released Geographies of Opportunity, a new human development report focusing on U.S. Congressional Districts (114th Congress). This is an important report as it measures well-being in health, education and income nationally which perfectly correlates with United Way's community impact work. Some of the conclusions from the report include:
In a new commentary, Michael Alexander (United Way of Fresno County) and Rosemary Caso (United Way of Tulare County) talk about the latest threat to the federal Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the impact it can have on California's low-income families. Click here to read the piece.
On December 9, Measure of America released A Portrait of California, 2014-15, California's newest Human Development Report. The report is significant for several reasons. First, human development measures well-being in health, education and income—what most of us would agree are the building blocks of a decent life.
For years, economists such as Joseph Stiglitz have argued that measures such as gross domestic product, do not project an accurate pulse of how ordinary Americans are doing. The American Human Development index measures well-being adquately because it uses common indicators we are familiar with such as life expectancy at birth, educational attainment and median personal earnings, and scales them in a simple 0-10 index that is easy to understand and talk about.
Since 1997, the federal government has been providing match funding to states to provide health coverage for low-income and families through the federal Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). While CHIP was recently reauthorized by Congress through 2019, CHIP funding is set to expire on September 30, 2015.
On October 18, the California State Controller’s Office will launch its first annual “Manage Your Money Week.” The event has several goals including: 1) promoting the importance of helping all Californians make good financial decisions; 2) connecting consumers to financial management resources in their own local communities and; 3) providing a framework for state, regional and local financial education groups to collaborate on highlighting their respective programs and services.
In an op-ed in this morning's Stanford Social Innovation Review, United Ways of California's President/CEO, Pete Manzo, talks about the opportunities 2-1-1s and other information and referral providers have in "making their resource data and their data about users’ needs usable by the whole wide world." In doing so, they can expand their social impact and further their sustainability. Click here to read the full post.
On May 20, Measure of America, founders of the American Human Development Index, released “A Portrait of Sonoma County,” which measures well being throughout Sonoma County, CA. Some of its primary findings include:
Sonoma County residents have an average life expectancy of 81.0—two years longer than the national average of 79.0 but just under California’s life expectancy of 81.2.
Variation in educational outcomes by census tract in Sonoma County is significant and meaningful. The range in the percentage of adult residents with less than a high school diploma is huge, going from a low of 0.4% in North Oakmont/Hood Mountain to a high of 46.1% in Roseland Creek.
Men in Sonoma County earn about $8,500 more than women. This wage gap is similar to the gap between men and women at the state level, although it is around $1,000 smaller than at the national level.
Earlier this month, the Executive Office of the President and the U.S. Treasury Department released a proposal to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by $60 billion. This is significant as EITC is the largest public anti-poverty program for workers not receiving Social Security benefits.
If the proposal goes through, over 7.7 million people will receive a larger EITC benefit and 5.8 million would become newly eligible. The Washington Post reports “workers would get 15.3 cents back on every dollar they earn up to $6,570, for a maximum of $1,005. Then the tax credit is frozen until the worker earns $11,500.” Once a worker reaches $18,070 in annual income, the tax credit will automatically phase out.
Under the leadership of its Board of Directors, 2-1-1 California is seeking a new Director to conduct the day-to-day management of the fiscal, contractual, personnel and other activities related to 2-1-1 California. Responsibilities include developing a strategy for building and strengthening relationships with state and local public agencies and officials, foundations and other sources of support, integrate 2-1-1 service into official emergency and disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts, and more. To learn more about this position, visit our posting on Idealist.org.
Three months ago, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released its latest math and reading results from “The Nation’s Report Card,” an assessment typically conducted every two years that measures how well students perform in core subject areas. It is arguably the best tool we have to measure how K-12 students are performing academically across states.
The results for California students in both 4th grade reading and 8th grade math are encouraging. As illustrated in the charts below, California students have improved 11 points, on average, in 4th grade reading since 1998, and 16 points, on average, in 8th grade math since 2000.
February 11 is national 2-1-1 Day, in recognition of the free, user-friendly phone and online system that serves 90% of America's population, and connects some 16 million people a year to critical resources, information and services.
On February 6, UWCA President/CEO Pete Manzo testified before the California Assembly Banking and Finance Committee in San Francisco. We thought you'd like to read his testimony about the Bank On program and the needs of unbanked and underbanked families.
California’s finances are more solid than they have been for several years, thanks in no small part to Governor Brown’s leadership. While the Governor’s proposed budget increases investment in K-12 education, similar investments in health programs and initiatives that help families achieve financial self-sufficiency are needed to strengthen opportunities for low-income families, which are essential to California’s overall competitiveness and well being. Click here to read our full press release.
On November 8, typhoon Haiyan, the second worst Philippine typhoon on record, hit landfall leading to over 4,000 fatalities and thousands more to be homeless, scattered and hungry. To address the impact of the storm, United Way Worldwide’s Disaster Rebuilding Fund is helping to support long-term rebuilding and recovery efforts. Click here to learn more about United Way Worldwide’s Fund and make a donation today.
Elise Buik, President and CEO of The United Way of Greater Los Angeles, and Sarah Burd-Sharps, co-director of the American Human Development Project and co-author of "A Portrait of California," are interviewed by Patt Morrison's Guest Host, Pilar Marrero, on this radio report: "Rating California (for the first time). Are we special or just adequate?"
Ventura County Star May 22, 2011 By David M. Smith
When "A Portrait of California" was released last week, the results detailing the nitty-gritty of Ventura County's socio-economic profile were hardly a big surprise.
As background, the state "portrait" uses an internationally-recognized Human Development Index to rank how state, regional and local residents and communities are doing against key national benchmarks, broken out by demographic, geographic and other distinctions.
It's no secret that Californians are starkly divided — socially, economically, philosophically — to the point where, when our political leaders debate, they hardly seem to be talking about the same state.
Well, maybe that's because, in an important sense, we live in different states.
KSBW-TV8 (NBC, Monterey) May 16, 2011 Joseph W. Heston, President and General Manager
With the economy slowly slugging forward, it seems we see some gains and some setbacks almost every week. We're still waiting for the expected gasoline price reductions(!). So it was great news this week to hear that the United Way of Monterey County surpassed its 2010-2011 goal and surpassed last year's campaign results, for a total of $3,550,000 in contributions this year.
The United Way of Santa Cruz County had similar success. They surpassed their goal of $1 million and were almost even with last year.
United Way Silicon Valley said it is awarding $100,000 in grants each year for two years to programs that offer a new way of doing things, have the potential to be replicated and can demonstrate positive results for our community.
“With more government budget cuts looming and high demand for services, nonprofit organizations need to be innovative so they can continue to provide high-quality services to people in need,” said Carole Leigh Hutton, United Way Silicon Valley president and CEO. “United Way Silicon Valley is willing to provide the seed money to give local nonprofits the impetus to make that happen.”
California advocacy organizations committed to improving children’s health reacted to negotiations among congressional leaders that could cut health care for children and families across the state and throughout the country. A new study released today by the National Bureau of Economic Research (link below) emphasizes how critical health coverage is for low-income families.
Report illustrates the markedly different opportunities and outcomes for California residents across geography, race and gender.
Los Angeles, CA May 17, 2011
A new report released May 17, 2011 provides, for the first time, an easy-to-understand composite number that measures the well-being of Californians in the areas of health, education and income. A Portrait of California uses the internationally recognized Human Development Index to rank how Californians are doing against key benchmarks, broken out by demographic, geographic and other distinctions. This exhaustive report was prepared by the American Human Development Project, a nonpartisan initiative that seeks to move beyond an overreliance in the U.S. on GDP as a measure of well-being.
Peter Manzo, President & CEO of the United Ways of California, issued the following statement today in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s May revised budget proposal to merge Healthy Families into Medi-Cal (a General Fund savings of $31.2 million) and increase funding for K-12 education by $3 billion.:
“United Ways of California believes that health, education and financial stability are the building blocks for a good life, and that addressing any of those areas effectively requires attention to all. We appreciate that, while facing an enormous budget deficit, the Governor recognized the importance of education in our children’s lives by increasing funding for K – 12 education. Clearly that is a win for our kids.
United Way Helps Americans Achieve Financial Stability.
As many as one-third of working Americans do not earn enough money to meet their basic needs. Wages have not kept pace with the rising cost of housing, healthcare, and education. Currently, 40 million Americans are working in lowpaying jobs without basic health and retirement benefits. For families walking a financial tightrope, unable to save for college, a home, or retirement, United Way is here to help.
Whether it is a neighbor or child without health insurance, a victim of abuse, or someone struggling with mental illness or addiction, United Ways are working to ensure everyone has access to affordable and quality care.