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October 2017 Newsletter – Michigan Community Action

Michigan Community Action

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MCA Catalyst – October 2017
See newsletter for full story on each of these items

Poverty narrative needs change

“We need to change the narrative about poverty,” urged Kate White of Michigan Community Action at the Michigan League for Public Policy Annual Forum Oct. 4 in Lansing.  Speaking on a panel titled “Preserving Basic Needs” along with two other nonprofit leaders, White asked other human service providers to help get the message out that some beliefs about poor people are wrong... The MLPP Forum also featured a keynote address by Bob Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, titled “What Happens in Washington Doesn’t Stay in Washington.”

Anti-poverty program effects measured by Census Bureau

Accurately measuring poverty in the U.S. and the impact of poverty relief efforts is difficult, said the Coalition on Human Needs in a webinar Sept 7.  Programs like food distribution, weatherization and emergency housing have both immediate and long-term effects that need to be considered in order to understand whether programs are working and which are most effective.  Data released annually by the U.S. Census Bureau can help Community Action Agencies more effectively measure the impact of their work.

Newer measure accounts for anti-poverty program effects
The U.S. Census Bureau employs two measures, the Official Poverty Measure and the Supplemental Poverty Measure, but only the SPM includes the effects of anti- poverty efforts...

Anti-poverty programs need long-term view
Some programs should be measured over a longer period of time, Bernstein recommended, because their impact takes longer to demonstrate.  For example, while feeding people or getting families into temporary housing have immediate positive impact, some programs, such as providing stable, affordable housing or workforce training, may help raise parents’ income and result in a child doing better in school and eventually graduating...

Weatherization benefits families, workers, communities

Because low-income households spend a greater portion of annual income on energy compared with average households, weatherization efforts can free up income for other essentials like food, medicine and education by making homes more energy efficient.  During National Weatherization Month in October, CAAs are encouraged to speak to state and local leaders about the need for continued funding of Weatherization Assistance Programs.

Weatherization helps improve housing, neighborhoods
By repairing windows and doors and installing insulation and weather stripping, homeowners and renters can reduce their energy usage by 15 to 20 percent, saving an average of $250 to $450 per year in heating, cooling and electrical costs.

WAP also helps reduce out-of- pocket medical costs. After weatherization, families' spending on medical care decreased by an average of $514, according to a study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy...

Did you know?

In 2016, more than 1,600 homes in Michigan were weatherized using a combination of U.S. Department of Energy funds and federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds.

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