Kids Count Reports – Minnesota, Kentucky

  • More children of color live in poverty than whites in Minnesota, By Linda Vanderwerf, November 19, 2015, West Central Tribune: “Minnesota was named the top state in the country for child well-being in July, but that lofty ranking doesn’t tell the full story of a state experiencing wide opportunity and achievement gaps for children of color…”
  • Child poverty stubborn in Kentucky, report shows, By Deborah Yetter, November 15, 2015, Louisville Courier-Journal: “At the Plymouth Community Renewal Center, Markham French measures child poverty through the increasing number of young adults seeking aid from the center in Louisville’s Russell neighborhood…”

State Unemployment Rates

  • Unemployment rates fall in two-thirds of US states, Associated Press, November 20, 2015, New York Times: “Unemployment rates fell in 32 U.S. states last month as employers nationwide added the most jobs of any month this year. Jobless rates rose in just three states in October and were unchanged in 15. The unemployment rate has tumbled below 4.5 percent in 21 states, including Texas, Colorado, and Virginia. That’s a historically low level that may help push up pay in the coming months…”
  • Payrolls increase in 40 states in October, led by California, By Victoria Stilwell, November 20, 2015, Chicago Tribune: “Payrolls rose in 40 states and the unemployment rate fell in 32 as the U.S. labor market powered ahead in October. California led the nation with a 41,200 increase in employment, followed by a 35,200 advance in Florida, figures from the Labor Department showed Friday in Washington…”

Homelessness in the US

  • New York’s rise in homelessness went against national trend, U.S. report finds, By Nikita Stewart, November 19, 2015, New York Times: “The federal government’s annual homelessness count showed an increase in New Yorkers living on the streets or in shelters, even as the number of homeless people nationwide dipped slightly compared with the previous year. The results of the count, released on Thursday by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, confirmed what many New Yorkers had already recognized, particularly in recent months — that homelessness was rising and that more government action was needed…”
  • Homelessness ticks downward across US, despite local crises, By Corey Fedde, November 20, 2015, Christian Science Monitor: “The number of people experiencing homelessness in the United States dipped slightly this year, according to federal data released Thursday.  A Housing and Urban Development (HUD) study found 565,000 people – roughly a quarter of them children – were homeless in the US during a point-in-time survey conducted in January. The number reflects a two percent decrease from 2014, and an 11 percent drop since 2007.  While the downward trend, however slight, is promising, advocates are cautious to celebrate declines just yet…”
  • New data show homelessness dropped early this year, HUD says, but problems persist, By Lisa Rein, November 20, 2015, Washington Post: “New figures released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Thursday show that 564,708 people were homeless on a night in January of this year, a 2 percent drop from 2014.  HUD officials said the decline, of a total of 11 percent since 2007, is an encouraging sign that the Obama administration is succeeding in its five-year-old goal of preventing and ending homelessness and ending what the government calls chronic homelessness by 2017…”

Child Care Subsidies – Massachusetts

Computer woes delay child-care subsidies, By Stephanie Ebbert, November 20, 2015, Boston Globe: “About 1,600 low-income children remain stuck on a waiting list for subsidized child care because a computer system built by the state government has been beset by problems for four months.  The Department of Early Education and Care launched the new, $5.05-million system on July 1, despite concerns about its readiness raised by the child-care providers who rely on it to get paid…”

Business in High-Poverty Neighborhoods – Arizona

  • Where the Money Lives: Poor areas of Phoenix offer different business challenges, opportunities, By Mike Sunnucks, November 20, 2015, Phoenix Business Journal: “Kat Proffitt knows how many people perceive the Coronado area of Phoenix, along McDowell Road near 16th Street. ‘They think it’s the ghetto,’ said Proffitt, co-owner of Smooth Brew, a coffee shop at McDowell and 14th Street. ‘They think it’s dangerous.’ Proffitt lives a couple of blocks from where she and partners Clint Coonfer and Darin Toone opened Smooth Brew last May. She insists the neighborhood isn’t as rough as commuters and passers-by might think…”
  • Where the Money Lives: 1 in 5 Arizonans live in poor neighborhoods, By Mike Sunnucks, November 20, 2015, Phoenix Business Journal: “Arizona has some of the poorest ZIP codes in the U.S. and some intense concentrations of poverty. More than one in five Arizonans, 22 percent, live in economically distressed neighborhoods. That is fifth worst among the states, according to the Washington-based Economic Innovation Group…”

Poverty Rate – New Jersey

  • Record number of N.J. residents living in poverty, study finds, By MaryAnn Spoto, November 15, 2015, Star-Ledger: “More New Jersey residents are in poverty now than in the past five decades and the outlook for the future is bleak, according to a report released Sunday, which aims to redefine the definition of poor in the state. The findings in the study done for Legal Services of New Jersey, an organization based in Edison that gives free legal help to low-income residents in civil cases, paint a grim picture for those in the middle and lower classes. The reports also notes more families have remained in poverty since the 2008 Great Recession…”
  • Report: One-third of N.J. residents in ‘true poverty’, By Shannon Mullen, November 16, 2015, Daily Record: “If you’re living paycheck to paycheck or falling behind on bills, you’ve got plenty of company.  Nearly one-third of New Jersey households can’t make ends meet, the highest percentage since the 1960s, according to a new report issued by Legal Services of New Jersey.  The state’s official poverty rate stood at just over 11 percent in 2014. But Legal Services, an Edison-based non-profit organization that provides legal aid to thousands of low-income state residents each year, says federal poverty income guidelines aren’t telling the full story…”

Homelessness in the US

New stats boast a dip in homelessness — but they’re not the full story, By Pam Fessler, November 19, 2015, National Public Radio: “More than 560,000 people lived on the streets or in homeless shelters in the U.S. earlier this year. That number marks a 2 percent drop from the year before, according to new figures released Thursday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Still, some question how accurately those numbers depict the problem. There are many ways one can count who is and isn’t homeless…”

Housing First – Washington, DC

Women in D.C. housing-first units concentrate on their futures, By Julie Zauzmer, November 15, 2015, Washington Post: “For the first time in her tumultuous 22 years, Kortney Parkey has an apartment of her own.  Like anyone with a new home, Parkey is happy to give a visitor the grand tour. She shows off the ample closet space, the newly renovated kitchen and bathroom, the pretty patterned bedspread and the place mats on the table that match the blue doors.   But there’s so much more to this apartment that Parkey can’t point to. That here, at last, she is out from under the thumb of a crooked boss, a dishonest landlord, an abusive man. That she can shut her own door, an impossible luxury in the homeless shelters that have been her home more often than not for the past two years. That this place gives her a foothold to keep her job and improve her health…”

Cities and States and the Homeless

  • Anti-panhandling laws spread, face legal challenges, By Teresa Wiltz, November 12, 2015, November 12, 2015, Stateline: “Many cities—and even some states—increasingly are cracking down on panhandling, driven in large part by the unlikely combination of thriving downtowns and the lingering effects of the Great Recession. The number of cities with outright bans on panhandling increased by 25 percent between 2011 and 2014, while the number of cities with restrictions on begging in specified public places, such as near schools or banks, rose by 20 percent, according to a report by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, an advocacy group…”
  • Cities, states turn to emergency declarations to tackle homeless crisis, By Rebecca Beitsch, November 11, 2015, Stateline: “Governments typically declare a state of emergency to deal with natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires. But over the last two months, several West Coast cities and one state have used the declarations to tackle a worsening homeless crisis. Hawaii, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, have all declared states of emergency, using the proclamations as a way to loosen up funds or bypass ordinances to take swifter action…”

Habitat for Humanity – Minnesota

Habitat for Humanity dramatically improves families’ lives, study finds, By John Reinan, November 12, 2015, Star Tribune: “The before-and-after picture is dramatic for people who move into a Habitat for Humanity home in Minnesota. Once they move into their new homes, Habitat families make more money and use fewer government social programs. Their kids do better in school. Families feel safer and spend more time together. All in all, 92 percent of Habitat homeowners say their lives are better since they moved into their homes…”

US High School Dropout Rate

  • The nation’s high school dropout rate has fallen, study says, By Emma Brown, November 10, 2015, Washington Post: “The U.S. high school dropout rate has fallen in recent years, with the number of dropouts declining from 1 million in 2008 to about 750,000 in 2012, according to a new study to be released Tuesday. The number of ‘dropout factories’ — high schools in which fewer than 60 percent of freshmen graduate in four years — declined significantly during the same period, according to the study by a coalition of education groups…”
  • Report: Quarter-million more students now graduate from H.S. each year, By Greg Toppo, November 10, 2015, USA Today: “About a quarter-million more students graduated from high school in 2012 than four years earlier, new research shows, with the number of ‘dropout factories’ — high schools that persistently graduate fewer than 60% of students — cut in half since 2008. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan welcomed the findings, saying that poorly performing high schools have been ‘failing generations of students…'”

Smoking Rates for Poor and Low-Income

U.S. smoking rate declines, but poor remain at higher risk, By Sabrina Tavernise, November 12, 2015, New York Times: “Smoking, the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, continued to decline last year, federal health authorities reported Thursday, with the share of American adults who smoke dropping to 16.8 percent, down from 17.8 percent in 2013.  Smoking has been one of the brightest public health successes of recent history. Nearly half of all Americans smoked in the 1960s, but a broad push against the habit, starting with the surgeon general’s warning in 1964, helped bring rates down. The rate has dropped by about a fifth since 2005, when it was 21 percent.  But the national numbers mask deep trouble spots within the American population…”

Poverty Measurement – California

California’s economy is booming, so why is it No. 1 in poverty?, By Chris Kirkham, November 13, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “From a quick glance at the headline numbers, California’s economy looks to be in its strongest shape in years. Over the last four years, California has added jobs at a rate faster than all but six other states, and faster than the U.S. overall. The state unemployment rate is at 5.9%, the lowest since November 2007, and significantly below the 25-year average of 7.5%…”

Unemployment Among Veterans

Unemployment for veterans at lowest level in 7 years, By Angela Johnson, November 11, 2015, CNBC: “The unemployment rate for veterans has dropped to its lowest level in seven years, thanks to an all-hands-on-deck push by government and corporate America to hire veterans.  According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the jobless rate for veterans — a population of nearly 20 million— dropped to 3.9 percent in October, down from 4.3 percent a month earlier and 4.5 percent a year ago. This is its lowest level in seven years…”

Foster Care System – Minnesota

Child protection reforms strain Minnesota’s foster care system, By Brandon Stahl, November 10, 2015, Star Tribune: “Minnesota’s renewed effort to stop child abuse and neglect is straining the foster care system, a refuge for children removed from their homes. The number of children placed into foster care has risen dramatically in the past year, and a larger share of them are staying in the system longer, state child welfare and court records show. Some foster parents are also complaining that a cut in reimbursements is discouraging them from taking any more children…”

Health Insurance Coverage – Kentucky

Kentucky’s newly insured worry about their health under next governor, By Amy Goldstein, November 9, 2015, Washington Post: “Amid the coal fields of eastern Kentucky, a small clinic that is part of the Big Sandy Health Care network furnishes daily proof of this state’s full embrace of the Affordable Care Act. It was here that Mindy Fleming handed a wad of tissues to Tiffany Coleman when she arrived, sleepless and frantic, with no health insurance and a daughter suffering a 103-degree fever and mysterious pain. ‘It will be all right,’ Fleming assured her, and it was. An hour later, Coleman had a WellCare card that paid for hospital tests, which found that 4-year-old Alexsis had an unusual bladder problem.  Such one-by-one life changes are the ground-level stakes ushered in by the election last week of businessman Matt Bevin as Kentucky’s next governor. The second Republican elected to the office in 48 years, he wrapped his campaign around a pledge to dismantle Kynect, the state’s response to the federal health-care law. If he follows through, the Bluegrass State would go from being perhaps the nation’s premier ACA success story to the first to undo the law’s results, razing a state insurance exchange and reversing its considerable expansion of Medicaid…”

October 2015 Unemployment Rate

Economy adds a surprising 271,000 jobs; unemployment rate falls to 5%, By Don Lee, November 6, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “An unexpected surge of hiring last month accompanied by strong wage gains suggests that the U.S. labor market remains solid and increases the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will make its first interest rate hike in nearly a decade next month.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday that employers across a broad spectrum of industries added a net 271,000 new jobs in October. That is far more than most analysts’ forecast of about 180,000 jobs, and a sharp acceleration from revised payroll gains of 137,000 in September and 153,000 in August…”

Poverty Measurement in the US

The growing problem that has serious implications for the poor, By Roberto A. Ferdman, November 2, 2015, Washington Post: “For decades, the U.S. government has used the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) to calculate several of the most important measures of national well-being. The CPS reaches roughly 100,000 households each year and captures important information about poverty and other things. And that’s a problem, because, over time, the survey has become a misrepresentation of what is actually happening.  That, at least, is the conclusion of an important new paper looking at how well we measure poverty—and how well we take into account the impact of the safety net…”

Medicaid Coverage Gap – Missouri

Failure to expand Medicaid impacts thousands in Ozarks, By Jon Swedien, Springfield News-Leader: “Looking back over the past year, Terri McCulloch said she was like one of the living dead. The 52-year-old said a thyroid condition had rendered her sick and unable to work. And in the wake of a recent divorce, she was left scrambling for a new place to live and without the health insurance…”

Cliff Effect of Public Assistance Programs

Why getting ahead often feels like falling behind when you’re poor, By Megan Verlee, November 3, 2015, Colorado Public Radio: “Call it poverty’s ‘glass ceiling.’ The way many public benefit programs are structured, even minor increases in income can result in a big loss in assistance. That’s sometimes so large a loss that it can send families tumbling backwards just when they thought they were finally getting ahead. Longmont resident Tracey Jones knows all about the phenomenon, often called the ‘cliff effect.’ She’s been living at its edge for several years now…”