A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action

September 2020 Newsletter – MASSCAP

Massachusetts Association for Community Action

Road to Opportunity: Finding the Way Forward
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MASSCAP newsletter – September 22, 2020

WATCH OUR LATEST VIDEO: SERVICE AND RECOVERY IN THE TIME OF COVID-19 IN SPRINGFIELD, MA
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Episode #3

Springfield Partners for Community Action

Missed Episodes 1 and 2? Watch here

DID YOU KNOW: We are OPEN and READY TO SERVE
  • The effects of the pandemic continue to compound the needs of the people we serve - people living with low income, diverse populations, marginalized communities, and people of color - as well as many families seeking help for the first time.
  • The programs we run and services we provide are even more important now to help stabilize lives.
  • Prior to the pandemic, 1 in 11 MA households were Food Insecure.  The need for assistance with accessing and affording food has increased dramatically.
  • Heating Help Programs including Fuel Assistance (LIHEAP) and Energy Efficiency Programs helped 160,000 households in MA last year including 35% children and 47% elderly.
  • VITA sites not only provide free tax prep (including virtual VITA), but also provide access to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) as well as other tax credits.
  • The EITC and the Child Tax Credit CTC have kept 150,000 people out of poverty in MA by helping them to bridge the wage gap.
PUBLIC POLICY MATTERS

The state funding for policy and programs is crucial in finding the way forward in Massachusetts, especially now when so many are being negatively impacted by COVID-19.  While we are mindful of the unprecedented budgetary challenges that MA is facing, we firmly believe that the budget priorities below will assist some of Commonwealth's most vulnerable residents continue to thrive during and following this crisis.

Please join us in supporting our TOP FY21 Priorities that will strengthen our social safety net now and into the future.

Bridging the Wage Gap
Provide resources for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Sites across the Commonwealth ($800K).
Learn more at www.masscap.org/freetaxprep

Creating a Foundation for Economic Opportunity
Create State Fuel Assistance Line Item ($10M)
Learn more at heatinghelpma.org

Strengthening Families through Affordable and Accessible Early Education and Care
Provide Hazard funding (6 months): $70M
We must address the challenges and risks early education and Out of School Time (OST) services face during the pandemic

Ensure Pre-Pandemic Level Monthly Program Funding: Early Education/OST

Increase Head Start Line Item (3000-5000): $15M

Support Early Education Teacher Salary Line Item (3000-1042)

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: #CommunityActionResponds

Community Action Agencies are constantly thinking about what is most needed inthe communities they serve and responding.  Sometimes there are quick ways to respond, and sometimes there is a need for long-term project plans.  Check out these exciting projects:

Greater Lawrence Community Action Council (GLCAC) broke ground on a 39-unit, five-story complex of apartments and commercial space at the corner of Essex and Amesbury streets.  The project will provide much needed affordable housing to low-income residents as well as transform the street.  It is only a few blocks from GLCAC main offices providing easy access to so many services – learn more.

South Shore Community Action Council (SSCAC) is pleased to announce it has been awarded a $1.18 million grant from the federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Head Start. The grant will fund start-up costs and enable SSCAC to expand its award-winning Head Start and Early Head Start program to provide free early education and care for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers from Wareham and Bourne.

CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION

Heating season is just around the corner!  Heating Help is available: Get help with heating bills as well as conserving energy – learn more.

We urge you to support the FY21 priorities so that together we can move forward on the road to opportunity.  Visit our Public Policy Priorities webpage.

Get Everyone Counted: Census 2020!  Federal funding is at stake!  Health care, education, and emergency planning all depend on getting an accurate census count.

www.masscap.org

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