Statement by Peter Manzo, President & CEO of United Ways California, Denouncing Epidemic of Hatred and Gun Violence
Our hearts break for the victims of the horrific shootings in Gilroy CA, El Paso TX, and Dayton OH, and for everyone touched by these tragedies. We stand United with these communities and our colleagues at United Way Bay Area, United Way of El Paso County, and United Way of Greater Dayton.
Unfortunately, we have seen far too many communities across the US ravaged by mass shootings, lives taken in mere seconds, and countless others forever changed by the trauma of our country’s gun violence epidemic.
We must commit to is addressing gun violence in unequivocal terms as the public health crisis it clearly is and begin to speak plainly about what enables this epidemic. It is well past time that we collectively put a concerted emphasis on gun violence research to inform public health strategies to remove the vectors that give rise to it, and to develop a comprehensive response as a nation to this epidemic ravaging our communities.
The perpetrators of at least two of these heinous acts were indoctrinated in a dangerous and deadly ideology of white nationalism allowed to fester online, in divisive public rhetoric, and now increasingly spilling into our streets, our churches, our schools — places we gather together in community. That hatred is not mental illness, and it must be squarely faced and rejected by all Americans.
United Ways around the world work to strengthen families and communities. United Ways of California condemns hate groups and the violence that they engender. We will continue to work in partnership with those that seek to strengthen our communities, celebrate our diversity, and Live United in our never ending quest to build a more perfect union.
Statement by Peter Manzo, President & CEO of United Ways California, Regarding New SNAP Requirements
United Ways of California improves the health, education and financial stability of low-income workersand families by enhancing and coordinating the advocacy and community impact work of 31 member United Ways throughout California.
Earlier this year we wrote to the Certification Policy Branch of the SNAP Program Development Division of the Food and Nutrition Service office in the U.S. Department of Agriculture opposing the White House’s proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Click here to read our correspondence.
Today we underscore our opposition. The new requirements hurt food insecure families.
37% of all California households struggle to stay afloat. And 9 out of 10 of these households have at least one working adult in them. 30% of California residents spend more than a third of their income on rent, and some spend up to 76%, which means that after paying rent, many low-income working families have little to meet all their other needs, such as transportation, medical necessities, child care, and food. Without CalFresh food assistance, hundreds of thousands of low-income working families would go hungry.
A sad fact of American life is that 40% of households, including middle class earners, would have trouble meeting an unexpected expense of only $400. California and the United States should be doing more to help working families build savings and assets, to move toward financial security.
The new SNAP requirements take us in exactly the wrong direction. They eliminate benefits for all individuals (including seniors and persons with disabilities) if their assets exceed $3,500. Small savings accounts and other modest assets are all that stand between many households and homelessness. Depriving these families of SNAP food assistance not only guarantees more families will go hungry, it pushes them those lucky enough to have some modest savings to drain them down to zero, putting them at greater risk of catastrophe.
Even Californians who continue to receive CalFresh under the new SNAP requirements are likely to see lower benefits as the program is nearly fully federally funded. Those working to support children will be hit hardest. Especially those working to support young children—60% of all households in California with children under 5 have a hard time meeting their basic needs. And food insecure children experience developmental, educational, health, and other challenges with both short and long term repercussions.
United Ways of California Joins State Treasurer To Launch CalSavers Retirement Savings Program
The President and CEO of United Ways of California, Peter Manzo, joins California State Treasurer, Fiona Ma, former State Senator and Senate President Pre Tempore, Kevin de Leon, representatives from the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board, as well as business, nonprofit, organized labor, and consumer advocacy champions today in the Traffic Circle in front of the State Treasurer’s Office to officially launch the CalSavers Retirement Savings Program—a new state facilitated, privately invested, workplace retirement savings program designed to offer California workers a simple, portable, and low cost way to save for the future.
“United Ways of California is excited to partner with the CalSavers Retirement Program to help Californians become more financially secure,” said United Ways of California President and CEO, Pete Manzo. “In California, 7.5 million people don't have access to a workplace retirement plan. As a result, too few California workers save for retirement and retire into financial hardship—the majority of whom are women and people of color. CalSavers will help improve this crisis by providing a simple, portable, low-cost way for workers to save and invest in their futures to truly move them toward financial stability.”
United Ways of California Lauds U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Decision to Temporarily Halt Addition of Citizenship Question in 2020 Census
United Ways of California (UWCA) celebrates the United States Supreme Court’s decision to remand to the district court in New York the question of whether to permit addition of an untested and unnecessary citizenship question in the 2020 Census—whose data will inform policy-making, determine the allocation of over $800 billion in funding and the makeup of our electoral representation, drive business decisions, and inform service providers and advocates about the needs of diverse communities.
“We are thankful the Court has, for now, halted the addition of the citizenship to the Census. United Ways, along with our partners and grantees support a range of initiatives that rely upon the completeness and accuracy of the 2020 Census,” said Peter Manzo, UWCA President and CEO. “These include increasing access to healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured; ending homelessness; increasing access to early childhood and youth development opportunities; providing chances to learn beyond high school; supporting community development; creating access to affordable housing; and delivering safety net services to vulnerable communities.”
New United Way Report: 37 Percent of California Households Struggle to Meet Their Basic Needs
The 2019 Real Cost Measure determines what a decent standard of living really costs in California. We find that 37% (more than 1 in 3) households in California struggle to meet basic living costs, which is roughly three times as many as federal poverty statistics would indicate.
Other key findings include:
- More than one in three California households—over 3.8 million families (37%)—do not earn sufficient income to meet basic needs
- Workers: Of the estimated 3.8 million households in California that fall below the Real Cost Measure, 9 in 10 have at least one working adult
- 6 in 10 Young Children Live in Struggling Households: 60% of households in California with children aged between 0 and 5 fall below the Real Cost Measure
- Housing Burden: Nearly 4 in 10 households in California (38%) pay more than 30% of their income on housing. Households living below the Federal Poverty Level can spend up to a staggering 76% of their income on housing.
- Households of all Ethnicities Struggle, but Rate is Higher for Latino and African Americans: Over 1.8 million Latino households are estimated to fall below the Real Cost Measure compared to over 1.2 million white households, 524,000 Asian American households, and 269,000 African-American households
- Single Mothers: Over 7 in 10 households led by single mothers in California (74%) fall below the Real Cost Measure
- As Education Increases, Rate of Struggling Households Falls: Nearly three-fourths of California householders without a high school diploma or equivalent (74%) fall below the Real Cost Measure, compared to those with at least a high school diploma (53%), those with at least some college education (38%), and those with at least a bachelor’s degree (18%)
- Foreign-Born Householders Have More Trouble Staying Afloat: Nearly one-third (30%) of California households led by a person born in the United States earn income below the Real Cost Measure. By contrast, 40% of households led by a person born outside the U.S. are below the Real Cost Measure, and that number rises to 62% when the householder is not a citizen.
Households living below the Real Cost Measure are overwhelmingly working families. They are doing their part, but as our data make clear, hard work alone is not enough to get ahead.
Statement on the 2019-2020 State Budget Agreement
There is much to be pleased about and proud of in the compromise agreement on the budget that the Governor and leaders from the Senate and Assembly have reached, in early childhood education, housing and health, as we discuss further below. But we are concerned that the agreement may fumble a critical opportunity to help low-income families move up.
We are concerned that the package for the California earned income tax credit (CalEITC) remains unresolved. The CalEITC is one of the most effective tools we have for helping California families move out of poverty. Going into conference, the budget proposals from the Governor, Senate and Assembly all called for significantly expanding the, to increase the eligibility of the credit to track with full-time minimum wage earnings as the minimum wage increases, and to provide an enhanced credit to families with young children. Importantly, the Senate and Assembly proposals included providing access to the CalEITC to taxpayers who file with, or whose households merely include, an adult using a federally assigned Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
Greater Support for Low-Income Workers, Kids’ Early Education, Healthcare & Housing; More to Do to Realize the Promise of California for All
California United Ways applaud the Governor’s bold proposal to expand the California Earned Income Tax Credit by 200%, (an increase from $400 million up to $1.2 billion) and strengthen its impact in fighting poverty —in particular in families with children under 6, where the credit will double from $500 to $1,000 per child. We know that one in three families in California struggle to meet basic living costs, according to our Real Cost Measure study, Struggling to Stay Afloat. The CalEITC and the federal EITC are the most effective tools we have for fighting poverty and helping working families and individuals move up the economic ladder, and reward and promote work. We strongly support the Governor’s proposal to provide a $1000 credit to CalEITC eligible families with young children (aged 0-6) and increase the credit for more families. We are deeply disappointed, however, that the Governor’s proposal continues to exclude many immigrant tax filers and their families who contribute significantly to our economy and society, but file their taxes with a federally assigned Individual Tax Identification Number (ITINs).
United Ways of California Joins Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court to Reject Citizenship Question in 2020 Census:
“It is unusual for philanthropy to come before the Court,” said Peter Manzo, President & CEO of United Ways of California, “but we and our partners want to ensure the Court understands how important accurate Census data are to effective philanthropic and charitable activities, and the harm an undercount in the upcoming 2020 Census will have on philanthropy’s ability to design data-driven investments and solutions tailored to local communities.”
A prime concern is whether the 2020 Census will ask people about their citizenship status, as has been proposed. The Census Bureau’s own analysis suggests that the effects of adding the citizenship question to the 2020 Census would significantly reduce the accuracy of the count. The inaccuracy that would result from this question is especially problematic because the groups likely to be undercounted are central to philanthropy’s mission, including young children, immigrants, low income families, and people in rural areas.
Restoring Healthy Start Will Connect Students and Families with Services
Richmond, Calif. — Flanked by leaders of the United Ways of California, the Children’s Defense Fund of California, and Richmond’s RYSE Youth Center, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) announced her bill, AB 875, to reestablish California’s Healthy Start program to connect children and families with critical services to improve health and academic outcomes and remedy trauma and violence.
"For over 15 years Healthy Start was a proven program,"said Peter Manzo, President & CEO, United Ways of California. "We’ve gone without it since 2007 And that’s 12 years too long. We’re thrilled Assemblymember Wicks is authoring AB 875. And we look forward to working with her and our fellow champions for children, youth, and families to launch a renewed Healthy Start. One whose impact delivers on the promise of California for all."
Assemblymember Wicks and Statewide Advocates Call for Reestablishment of Healthy Start Program
Richmond, Calif. — Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) will join with advocates from United Ways of California, RYSE Youth Center, Children’s Defense Fund, and others to announce the introduction of AB 875 to reestablish “Healthy Start.” Health Start, established in 1991 with bipartisan support, was a historic program that gave seed money grants to Local Education Agencies and community partners to address the social determinants of health and comprehensively meet the needs of students and their families. The program, which was cut in 2007 as a result of the Great Recession, helped connect children and families to services related to: dental health, mental health, vision, academic support, job training, violence intervention and prevention, parenting education, and more. Healthy Start 2.0 will build on the positive community-level impacts of the original program by integrating child- and family-facing service systems and emphasizing evidence-based approaches to program access and effectiveness, especially for high-need communities.
Coalition Encouraged by Governor’s Support and Expansion of CalEITC | More Than 400,000 New Households Expected to be Eligible
Sacramento, CA – Statement from the CalEITC Advocacy Coalition, of which the United Ways of California is a proud member, regarding the Governor’s budget proposal:
The CalEITC Advocacy Coalition is pleased to see the Governor proposing support and continued expansion of the California’s Earned Income Tax Credit to help working families. The California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) provides much-needed assistance to working families and individuals who are struggling to make ends meet. The Governor’s Budget is a step in the right direction in meeting many of the coalition’s goals, including increasing the credit for families with young children and expanding the income eligibility guidelines to reach more Californians. We look forward to working with the legislature to further strengthen the credit by ensuring that all working tax filers who meet the income eligibility are eligible for the credit, including working immigrant tax filers.
Governor’s Budget Invests in CalEITC, Kids’ Early Education & Healthcare
Los Angeles, CA – Statement from Peter Manzo, President and CEO of the United Ways of California, (UWCA) regarding Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2019-2020 budget proposal:
United Ways of California Assists CalSavers to Boost Saving for Retirement by California Private Sector Employees
Los Angeles, CA - Below is a statement from Peter Manzo, President and CEO, on behalf of United Ways of California (UWCA) regarding the new retirement savings program, CalSavers:
United Ways of California is proud to announce a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to support a statewide initiative to engage and educate business leaders and employees about CalSavers, a new retirement savings program created by the state to enable more Californians to save for retirement.
California’s 2018-2019 State Budget Provides Important Investments for Low-Income Families
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.
California’s State Budget Agreement Increases Eligibility for the CalEITC, Funds Free Tax Preparation and Increases Funding to House the Homeless
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.
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- Governor’s May Revise Includes Hope for Low Income Households by Increasing Investment in CalEITC and Addressing California’s Housing Crisis
- UWCA Sponsors Measure to Extend Tax Credit to More Poor Working Households
- Governor’s Budget Proposal Increases Investment in Kids’ Education and Protects Their Health
- Open Letter to CA Congressional Delegation: Pass Legislation to Protect California Dreamers and DACA
- State Budget Helps Low-Income Californians and Children by Expanding CalEITC and Denti-Cal