Foster Care Shelters – California

Chronicle investigation spurs calls to close foster care shelters, By Karen de Sá, Joaquin Palomino, and Cynthia Dizikes, May 22, 2017, San Francisco Chronicle: “The state attorney general’s office is looking into hundreds of dubious arrests at California’s shelters for abused and neglected children that were detailed last week in a San Francisco Chronicle investigative report. The attorney general’s response comes amid calls from judges, state lawmakers and youth lawyers to consider shutting down shelters where children as young as 8 have been funneled into the criminal justice system for minor incidents…”

Section 8 Housing Vouchers – California

Despite Section 8, affordable housing’s doors still slamming shut, By David Downey, March 31, 2017, Press-Enterprise: “After reopening last summer following a 13-year absence, Long Beach’s Section 8 housing program is finding plenty of takers. But more than 1,000 voucher holders can’t find a place to live, a report says. And 17,000 others are on a waiting list, said Alison Whyte King, Long Beach Housing Authority bureau manager…”

Bail System – California

Here’s how state lawmakers plan to reform the bail system in CaliforniaBy Jazmine Ulloa, March 26, 2017, Los Angeles Times: “State lawmakers have unveiled an ambitious plan to reform how counties in California set bail for defendants while they wait for their cases to be resolved or go to trial.  New language added Friday to bills by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) and Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) would prevent criminal defendants from having to post money as a condition of release from jail and would shift some power from judges to pretrial services agencies to assess the risks they would pose if allowed out in the community…”

Homelessness in Orange County, CA

Price tag of homelessness in Orange County is nearly $300 million, UCI study finds, By Theresa Walker, March 8, 2017, Orange County Register: “Orange County would save $42 million a year in health care, law enforcement and other expenses by placing people who chronically live on the streets into housing, according to a first-ever countywide study of the costs of homelessness.  The study, conducted by UC Irvine researchers and released in summary form Tuesday, aimed to pinpoint how much money was spent on services and other costs related to homelessness during a 12-month period in 2014-15 by local cities, the county and non-governmental agencies. Overall, the price tag came to about $299 million, with the lion’s share – roughly $120 million – borne by the 34 cities that comprise the county…”

Child Poverty – California

  • More than a quarter of Orange County’s youngest kids lives in poverty, By Margot Roosevelt, February 23, 2017, Orange County Register: “A quarter of California’s children under age six were living in poverty, more than 750,000, as the state emerged from the Great Recession, according to new data from nine local regions on income, demographics, cost of living, social safety programs and other factors…”
  • The Bay Area cities and neighborhoods with the most and least child poverty, By Alix Martichoux, February 23, 2017, San Francisco Chronicle: “The Bay Area is well-known as one of the most expensive places to live in the country. And while the Bay Area is home to quite a few millionaires, a large segment of the population is living in poverty. Many of those people are young children.  The Public Policy Institute of California released a report Wednesday that shows nearly 25 percent of children in California live in poverty…”

Retirement Savings for Low-Income Workers – California

Congress targets a California law that aims to give low-income workers retirement security, By Evan Halper, February 9, 2017, Los Angeles Times: ” An ambitious California law intended to help create retirement security for low-income workers is in the crosshairs of the Trump-era Congress, which is moving to block the state and others from launching programs to automatically enroll millions of people in IRA-type savings plans…”

Homelessness in Los Angeles

Homeless people face L.A. crackdown on living in cars, By Gale Holland, January 24, 2017, Los Angeles Times: “Los Angeles’ new ordinance on living in cars was billed as a boon to homeless people, making it legal for the first time to park and sleep in half the city’s streets.  But with the measure set to kick in Feb. 6, a new map suggests the law could trigger a crackdown on some of the city’s 28,000 homeless people…”

Child Care Subsidies – California

For some workers, pay raise comes with loss of cheap child care, By Natalie Kitroeff, January 6, 2017, Los Angeles Times: “When the minimum wage in California rose to $10.50 an hour Jan. 1, more than a million people got a raise. But for an untold number of families across the state, that pay bump could price them out of child care.  This year, for the first time, two parents working full time at minimum wage jobs, with one child, will be considered too well off to qualify for state subsidies for day care and preschool. It’s been 10 years since the state set the threshold for who is poor enough to get the benefit, which is pegged to 2005 income levels…”

Homelessness in Los Angeles, CA

A fix for L.A.’s homeless crisis isn’t cheap. Will voters go for $1.2 billion in borrowing?, By Doug Smith, October 20, 2016, Los Angeles Times: “For years, many Los Angeles residents have watched with alarm as homeless encampments spread across the city, from the sidewalks of skid row to alleys in South Los Angeles, behind shopping centers in the Valley and even  on the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean.  Next month, voters will have to decide whether these concerns are strong enough to approve a new tax to fight homelessness…”

Health Insurance Coverage – California

More Californians are insured in 2016, but many still worry about medical costs, By Soumya Karlamangla, August 18, 2016, Los Angeles Times: “Nearly three-quarters of Californians who didn’t have health coverage before the Affordable Care Act are now insured, yet many are still concerned about their medical expenses, according to a report released Thursday. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey tracking the state’s uninsured population found that 72% of those without insurance in 2013 had a health plan in 2016…”

Homelessness and Housing – Los Angeles, CA

Is the shift to permanent housing making L.A.’s homelessness problem even worse?, By Doug Smith, August 15, 2016, Los Angeles Times: “As Los Angeles grapples with the nation’s worst homelessness problem, experts have almost universally embraced permanent housing as the best approach for lifting people out of homelessness.  The strategy is to quickly re-house those who are able to live independently, and to provide housing with intensive on-site services for chronically homeless people for as long as it takes them to become independent, or for life if needed.  But the shift toward permanent housing has had a cost: As money has been directed away from programs that combine services with shorter-term housing, the region’s homelessness problem has gotten worse…”

Earned Income Tax Credit – California

From Sacramento to Fontana, new anti-poverty tax credit has paid out, By Jim Miller, July 28, 2016, Sacramento Bee: “California’s new earned-income tax credit had put about $189 million in the pockets of the working poor as of earlier this month, well below the $380 million in claims the Brown administration and lawmakers had expected.  Proponents, though, consider the program’s first year a success, and new data from the Franchise Tax Board show that taxpayers from around the state have claimed the credit…”

TANF programs – Missouri, California

  • Tougher rules shrink Missouri welfare rolls, advocates for the poor say, By Kurt Erickson, June 17, 2016, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “New figures show the number of poor people receiving temporary cash benefits in Missouri has plummeted in the past five years.  And, the number is expected to nosedive further in the coming months under a proposed new law that calls for the state to scrub the welfare rolls to eliminate people who aren’t eligible for the aid…”
  • California’s new budget repeals welfare rule denying extra aid for newborns, By Jessica Calefati, June 16, 2016, San Jose Mercury News: “Capping a month of remarkably productive talks between Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders, lawmakers on Wednesday adopted a new state budget that repeals a harsh welfare rule advocates for needy families had fought against for years.  Assembly members barely debated the $122.5 billion general fund budget, passing it 52-27. The Senate approved the spending plan 27-11 over the objections of most Republicans, who argued that the Legislature was a bit too generous this year and should have saved more of the tax revenue it collected…”

Homelessness in Los Angeles, CA

L.A. sees another sharp rise in homelessness and outdoor tents, By Gale Holland and Peter Jamison, May 4, 2016, Los Angeles Times: “Homelessness increased in the last year in the city and county of Los Angeles, leaving nearly 47,000 people in the streets and shelters despite an intensive federal push that slashed the ranks of homeless veterans by nearly a third, according to figures released Wednesday by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.  Nearly two-thirds of the homeless people tallied countywide, or 28,000, were in the city of Los Angeles, representing an 11% jump in January from a year earlier, a report from the agency stated. The county’s homeless population grew 5.7%.  Homelessness has increased steadily since 2013, as local officials struggle to identify funding for billion-dollar plans they approved this year to solve one of the region’s most intractable problems…”

Paid Family Leave – California

Brown signs California law boosting paid family-leave benefits, By Patrick McGreevy, April 11, 2016, Los Angeles Times: “Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed a bill expanding California’s pioneering family-leave law to help more low-income workers and provide better benefits. ‘It’s a real pleasure to be able to sign another bill that helps ordinary Californians, working men and women,’ Brown said.  The action comes 15 years after California became the first state in the nation to guarantee workers paid time off to care for a new child or ailing family member…”

Medicaid and Dental Care – California

California’s dental safety net fails most clients, report says, By David Gorn, April 6, 2016, National Public Radio: “California’s dental health system for the poor is dysfunctional, according to a report by a bipartisan oversight commission.  A more vivid description comes from Pedro Nava, the commission’s chairman: ‘In California we have kids’ teeth rotting out of their heads,’ he says. ‘That’s utterly inexcusable.’  The program, Denti-Cal, ranks among state government’s greatest deficiencies, according to the report released last week by the Little Hoover Commission, an independent oversight agency. One third of the state’s population is eligible to use Denti-Cal for subsidized dental care, including more than half of the state’s children…”

Elder Poverty – California

Poverty rate jumps among California seniors, By Claudia Buck and Phillip Reese, March 26, 2016, Sacramento Bee: “The older you are, the poorer you get.  For a growing number of California seniors living on the edges of poverty, that’s the uncomfortable reality.  In the Sacramento region, the number of residents 65 and older living at or below the federal poverty line – $11,400 for a single individual – roughly doubled from 2005 to 2014, according to a Sacramento Bee review of U.S. census data. That means 28,000 seniors, or 9 percent of the region’s elderly population, are officially considered poor.  Statewide, the number of impoverished residents age 65 and older increased by 85 percent, to roughly 520,000, between 1999 and 2014, more than double the rate of population growth among the elderly…”

Minimum Wage – California

Calif. governor announces plan to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, By Jim Tankersley and Lydia DePillis, March 28, 2016, Washington Post: “California’s plan to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 — higher than any other state in the union — would put the state in uncharted territory, carrying both hope and danger for workers in the nation’s largest economy. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) announced the deal with state lawmakers Monday. Under the agreement, California’s minimum wage, now $10 an hour, would climb gradually over six years. The deal came together quickly, under duress: A pending ballot initiative threatened to raise the wage more swiftly if politicians didn’t act. The state legislature still has to vote on the plan…”

Foster Care System – California

California’s two different visions for better foster care, By Jessica Mendoza, March 9, 2016, Christian Science Monitor: “Alberto Gutierrez had been off the streets and living at a youth shelter in Los Alamitos, Calif., for about a year when, for the first time in his life, he found himself nursing a broken heart. His girlfriend of nearly two years – someone who had helped see him through the horror of being homeless – had cheated on him, he learned. ‘I felt like I had been stabbed in the chest,’ says Mr. Gutierrez, who was 15 at the time. ‘I started crying. I needed a hug.’  Thankfully, he says, Kathleen Cyr, a senior staffer at Casa Youth Shelter, where Gutierrez was then living, was happy to oblige. To a boy with few friends, a rocky relationship with his stepfather, and a mother fighting a heroin addiction, that bit of comfort meant the world, says Gutierrez, now 18…”

Foster Youth Welcome Centers – Los Angeles, CA

L.A. County is shutting down troubled centers for foster kids with nowhere else to go, By Garrett Therolf, March 1, 2016, Los Angeles Times: “The waiting rooms for foster youths with nowhere else to go opened with great fanfare several years ago. Known as Youth Welcome Centers, they were hailed by Los Angeles County officials as an important way to address the chronic shortage of foster homes, especially for children hardest to place. They were the only facilities in the county system with a no-refusal policy and quickly became a place for youths who would otherwise be homeless. But in the next few days, the county plans to close both of its centers, acknowledging they didn’t work as intended…”