Housing Choice Voucher Program – Baltimore, MD

Voucher program for chronically homeless loses funding, By Jessica Anderson, September 25, 2010, Baltimore Sun: “Joseph Hill proudly shows off his new home – a one-bedroom McCulloh Street apartment that is his first stable housing in 15 years. Hill, 45, who had been homeless for a third of his life, now has a place to display his collection of battered family photos and the certificates of progress marking the two years he’s been clean of drugs. But city officials and homeless advocates who hoped to duplicate Hill’s success have run into problems. Money for a voucher program that is paying the rent for Hill and nearly 400 other formerly homeless city residents has dried up. While those already enrolled in the Housing Choice Voucher program administered by the city’s Housing Authority will continue to receive benefits, the initiative is closed to new applicants…”

Joblessness and Unemployment – South Africa

Wage laws squeeze South Africa’s poor, By Celia W. Dugger, September 26, 2010, New York Times: “The sheriff arrived at the factory here to shut it down, part of a national enforcement drive against clothing manufacturers who violate the minimum wage. But women working on the factory floor – the supposed beneficiaries of the crackdown – clambered atop cutting tables and ironing boards to raise anguished cries against it. ‘Why? Why?’ shouted Nokuthula Masango, 25, after the authorities carted away bolts of gaily colored fabric. She made just $36 a week, $21 less than the minimum wage, but needed the meager pay to help support a large extended family that includes her five unemployed siblings and their children. The women’s spontaneous protest is just one sign of how acute South Africa’s long-running unemployment crisis has become. With their own industry in ruinous decline, the victim of low-wage competition from China, and too few unskilled jobs being created in South Africa, the women feared being out of work more than getting stuck in poorly paid jobs. In the 16 years since the end of apartheid, South Africa has followed the prescriptions of the West, opening its market-based economy to trade, while keeping inflation and public debt in check. It has won praise for its efforts, and the economy has grown, but not nearly fast enough to end an intractable unemployment crisis…”

Rural Health Clinics – Wisconsin, Kentucky

Wisconsin’s free health care clinics might emulate Kentucky program, By David Wahlberg, September 27, 2010, Wisconsin State Journal: “In Lena and Ralph Burnette’s modest but tidy home, Pollyanna Gilbert opened a catalog for a store called Dr. Comfort. It was time for the Burnettes, who have diabetes, to order diabetic shoes. Gilbert is a lay health worker with Kentucky Homeplace, a state-funded program that helps people in a region with the worst life expectancy in the country navigate the complicated health care system. Organizers of Wisconsin’s rural free clinics are paying attention to the program, saying they could develop a similar navigator role if the new health care reform law reduces demand for free care…”

TANF Emergency Fund and Jobs Programs

Job loss looms as part of stimulus act expires, By Michael Cooper, September 25, 2010, New York Times: “Tens of thousands of people will lose their jobs within weeks unless Congress extends one of the more effective job-creating programs in the $787 billion stimulus act: a $1 billion New Deal-style program that directly paid the salaries of unemployed people so they could get jobs in government, at nonprofit organizations and at many small businesses. In rural Perry County, Tenn., the program helped pay for roughly 400 new jobs in the public and private sectors. But in a county of 7,600 people, those jobs had a big impact: they reduced Perry County’s unemployment rate to less than 14 percent this August, from the Depression-like levels of more than 25 percent that it hit last year after its biggest employer, an auto parts factory, moved to Mexico. If the stimulus program ends on schedule next week, Perry County officials said, an estimated 300 people there will lose their jobs – the equivalent of another factory closing…”