New York Free College Tuition Program

New York’s free-tuition program will help traditional, but not typical, students, By David W. Chen, April 11, 2017, New York Times: “The program to provide free tuition for students at New York State’s public colleges and universities passed on Friday by the Legislature has been hailed as a breakthrough and a model for other states that will change the lives of students at public colleges across the state. The Excelsior Scholarship, as the program is called, is expected to cut the cost of a degree from a four-year State University of New York college — now almost $83,000 for tuition, fees and room and board — by about $26,000 for an eligible family making $100,000 a year. That is a substantial reduction, but still means paying about $57,000 over four years…”

Housing for Prison Parolees – New York

Parolees to go from big house to Syracuse public housing under new state pilot program, By John O’Brien, March 3, 2017, Syracuse Post-Standard: “Public housing in Syracuse will soon be home to certain newly paroled New York state prisoners under a new pilot program.  The state will allow carefully screened and monitored parolees to live in public housing with their families in Syracuse, White Plains and Schenectady, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.  The goal is to reduce the likelihood that the paroled prisoners will commit new crimes, Cuomo said in a news release…”

Homelessness in New York City

Mayor de Blasio scrambles to curb homelessness after years of not keeping pace, By J. David Goodman and Nikita Stewart, January 13, 2017, New York Times: “During Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first year in office, the Department of Homeless Services created 16 new shelters across New York City to house more than a thousand families and hundreds of single adults.  Then, for eight months, the city stopped opening shelters. With the number of people falling into homelessness still rising and with shelter beds running short, the city instead turned to what was supposed to be a stopgap: hotels…”

Student Homelessness – New York, Minnesota

  • Where nearly half of pupils are homeless, school aims to be teacher, therapist, even Santa, By Elizabeth A. Harris, June 6, 2016, New York Times: “There are supposed to be 27 children in Harold Boyd IV’s second-grade classroom, but how many of them will be there on a given day is anyone’s guess.  Since school began in September, five new students have arrived and eight children have left. Two transferred out in November. One who started in January was gone in April. A boy showed up for a single day in March, and then never came back. Even now, in the twilight of the school year, new students are still arriving, one as recently as mid-May…”
  • Amid recovery, many families struggle with homelessness, By Kristi Marohn, June 4, 2016, St. Cloud Times: “In 2004, then-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty set an ambitious goal for the state: End homelessness by 2010.  But 12 years later, despite the bold pronouncement, the problem of homelessness continues to plague the state, including the St. Cloud area.  Despite the economic recovery and lower unemployment, Central Minnesota families are still struggling with incomes that have stayed flat since the Great Recession. Meanwhile, a tight rental market has pushed the cost of housing beyond the reach of many…”
  • Child homelessness can have long-term consequences, By Stephanie Dickrell, June 4, 2016, St. Cloud Times: “There are strong moral reasons to end homelessness and its consequences. But there are economic incentives for society as well. Children who grow up in homelessness may experience long-term effects on behavior, employability, relationships and brain development. As those children grow into adulthood, society ends up paying for the consequences through law enforcement, the criminal justice system and social service programs…”
  • Facing summer on an empty stomach, By Vicki Ikeogu, June 4, 2016, St. Cloud Times: “June 2, 2016. The day area school-aged kids could not wait for.  Yearbook signings. No more homework. Freedom.  The last day of school can bring a whirlwind of emotions for students. But for thousands in the St. Cloud school district, summer vacation can mean anxiety. Worry. Hunger.  Because without the breakfast and lunch provided during the school day, many kids are facing a summer filled with limited access to nutritious and filling meals…”

Public Housing

  • Syracuse’s public housing creates prisons of poverty; what if they could move to suburbs?, By Marnie Eisenstadt, April 14, 2016, Syracuse Post-Standard: “If David Paccone could, he would begin attacking Syracuse’s poverty crisis from outside the city. He’d build small developments of low-income family housing in DeWitt, Manlius and Fayetteville, in the hopes that some people now in Syracuse’s poorest neighborhoods would move there. But that’s not a solution in Paccone’s arsenal. As the assistant executive director of theSyracuse Housing Authority, he oversees 2,340 public housing apartments. The tenants largely are the poorest of the poor, making less than 30 percent of the average median income — less than $16,000 a year…”
  • Public housing residents could get credit boost, By Philip M. Bailey, April 9, 2016, Louisville Courier-Journal: “The Louisville Metro Housing Authority is partnering with a nonprofit to help its public housing occupants improve their financial future, Mayor Greg Fischer announced Thursday morning.  The city has made an agreement with Credit Builders Alliance to begin a credit building program that Fischer’s office says is one of only five of its kind in the country…”

Minimum Wage – New York

New York budget deal with higher minimum wage is reached, By Jesse McKinley and Vivian Yee, March 31, 2016, New York Times: “Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state legislative leaders announced on Thursday that they had reached a budget agreement that would raise the minimum wage in New York City to $15 by the end of 2018, but initiate slower increases elsewhere, even in the city’s wealthy suburbs.  For Mr. Cuomo, the wage agreement came with clear concessions, as some lawmakers outside the city won a softer phase-in period. Long Island and Westchester County will not reach a $15 wage for nearly six years; areas north of Westchester are assured only of reaching $12.50 by 2021.  In announcing the $15 wage, New York became the second state to embrace that threshold; California lawmakers passed a similar measure only hours earlier on Thursday…”

State Minimum Wages

New York push for $15 minimum wage spurs broader national debate but faces obstacles at home, By David Klepper (AP), October 8, 2015, Star Tribune: “New York’s plan to give fast-food workers a $15 minimum hourly wage is spurring similar efforts in other states even as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s effort to enact a $15 wage for all workers faces vocal opposition at home.  In a campaign modeled after the successful push by fast-food workers in New York, groups in 18 states are creating citizen wage boards to pressure elected officials to raise the minimum wage. While the boards have no legal or governmental power to raise wages, they reflect the increasingly potent political muscle of low-wage workers…”

Child Poverty and Opportunity – Buffalo, NY

Escaping poverty easier for children in Erie County than elsewhere, but girls face ‘opportunity gap’, By Charity Vogel, August 8, 2015, Buffalo News: “Children growing up poor in Erie County have a better chance to earn a higher income as adults than those in most other urban counties across the nation, according to a Harvard University study. In addition, children who move to Erie County improve their chances of escaping poverty, and they might someday earn paychecks that are thousands of dollars higher than those who remain in places like Baltimore, Chicago and Charlotte, N.C., the researchers found. In essence, the longer a child lives in Erie County, the better the odds the child will earn more as a young adult…”

Minimum Wage

  • With buck bump to $9 per hour, Minnesota ushers in top state minimum wage in middle America, By Brian Bakst (AP), July 28, 2015, Star Tribune: “Minnesota will vault past Illinois, Michigan and South Dakota this week to gain the highest minimum wage in the Midwestern region at $9 an hour, which also will rank among the most-generous state wage floors in the country. The dollar-per-hour bump taking effect Saturday for some 288,000 of Minnesota’s lowest-paid workers is the second of a three-stage increase adopted in 2014, when the state had one of the lowest minimum wages in the region. Next August, the wage will rise again to $9.50 and it will go up automatically with inflation in following years…”
  • Proposed raise for fast-food employees divides low-wage workers, By Rachel L. Swarns, July 26, 2015, New York Times: “Rebecca Cornick cheerfully chopped 120 heads of lettuce, wiped tables and rang up some Baconators, fries and chicken club sandwiches. For most of her customers, it was just another afternoon at a Wendy’s restaurant in the East New York section of Brooklyn. Not for Ms. Cornick. She was celebrating. It was Thursday, one day after a state panel recommended that theminimum wage for fast-food workers be raised to $15 an hour, and Ms. Cornick was savoring congratulations from some regulars and the knowledge that soon, very soon, she would have more money to pay her bills…”

Minimum Wage Proposals

  • Higher minimum-wage proposals gain ground on both coasts, By Lisa Leff and David Klepper (AP), July 23, 2015, ABC News: “The push for a higher minimum wage gained momentum on both sides of the country, with New York embracing an eventual $15 an hour for the state’s 200,000 fast-food workers and the huge University of California system announcing the same raise for its employees…”
  • California, New York and Washington, D.C., make moves on minimum wage, By Sam Sanders, July 22, 2015, National Public Radio: “A wave of wage increases in cities across the country, as well as at several major businesses, continued on Wednesday.  University of California President Janet Napolitano announced that the minimum wage for direct and contract employees in the U.C. system working 20 hours or more per week will be raised to $15 an hour over the next three years. The first hike will be to $13 an hour on Oct. 1, 2015. The minimum wage will then jump to $14 a year later, and hit $15 an hour on Oct. 1, 2017…”

State Minimum Wages

  • Minimum wage to rise in Alaska to $8.75 an hour, Associated Press, February 23, 2015, The Oregonian: “Alaska’s minimum wage will rise to $8.75 an hour Tuesday, giving a pay increase to thousands of workers. Voters in November overwhelmingly approved raising the minimum wage from $7.75 per hour to $8.75 per hour, effective Jan. 1. Because the state constitution calls for ballot measures to take effect 90 days after election results are certified, the raise doesn’t take effect until Tuesday…”
  • Tipped workers in New York will get a raise, By Katie Lobosco, February 24, 2015, CNN Money: “Waiters, bartenders and other tipped workers in New York will get a raise at the end of the year.  The state said Tuesday that it will hike the minimum wage for tipped restaurant workers to $7.50 from $5 an hour on Dec. 31…”

Extreme Poverty – Rochester, NY

Report: Rochester tops ‘extreme poverty’ list, By David Riley, January 9, 2015, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: “This is not the kind of national list that Rochester-area residents hope to top. Rochester now has more people living at less than half the federal poverty level than any other similarly-sized city in the U.S., says a report released Thursday by the Rochester Area Community Foundation and its ACT Rochester initiative. For a family of four, that means getting by on less than $11,925 a year — conditions that the report described as ‘extreme poverty.’ Another unfortunate distinction: Rochester is now the only city of its size where slightly more than half of children live in poverty, according to the report…”

Public Housing – New York City

Budget cuts reshape New York’s public housing, By Mireya Navarro, September 11, 2014, New York Times: “The crushing news came less than a year after Diane Robinson and her 24-year-old son moved into an airy two-bedroom apartment in the Bronx. The city, which helps pay her rent, wrote this summer to say she would have to downsize into a one-bedroom apartment or pay $240 more a month in rent. A public school aide, Ms. Robinson, 48, decided to stay in the apartment, in the Castle Hill neighborhood. But on an annual income of about $25,000, she is struggling, she said, and she does not know how long she can hang on. Moving to a one-bedroom apartment would mean that her son, a college student who works to help with food and utilities, would have to sleep in the living room. ‘My son works — he’s not entitled to have his own bedroom?’ she said. ‘Next thing they’re going to tell me is that I’m not entitled to a roof over my head…'”

Mixed-Income Housing – New York

Living in the mix: Affordable housing in New York’s luxury buildings, By Julie Satow, August 29, 2014, New York Times: “Brandon Deese lives just a few blocks from where he grew up, but it might as well be another world. Mr. Deese, 23, spent his childhood at the Chelsea-Elliott Houses, a public-housing project in the West 20’s. But last year, thanks to a housing lottery, he beat out thousands of others for an affordable apartment at the Chelsea Park, a luxury rental at 260 West 26th Street…”

Housing Blight – Buffalo

As an alternative to demolition, Buffalo offers homes for a dollar, By Alana Semuels, August 14, 2014, Los Angeles Times: “The breeze carries the tinny jingle of the approaching ice cream truck, so Mike Puma leaves the railing he’s painting on his two-family, electric-blue home to buy a milkshake. He pays more for the shake than he did his entire home. Of course, when he bought this home for $1 this year, it had a demolition notice on the door, walls the consistency of a Three Musketeers bar and mold coating the ceilings…”

Long-Term Unemployment

  • Out of work, out of benefits, and running out of options, By Annie Lowrey, April 3, 2014, New York Times: “Abe Gorelick has decades of marketing experience, an extensive contact list, an Ivy League undergraduate degree, a master’s in business from the University of Chicago, ideas about how to reach consumers young and old, experience working with businesses from start-ups to huge financial firms and an upbeat, effervescent way about him. What he does not have — and has not had for the last year — is a full-time job. Five years since the recession ended, it is a story still shared by millions. Mr. Gorelick, 57, lost his position at a large marketing firm last March. As he searched, taking on freelance and consulting work, his family’s finances slowly frayed. He is now working three jobs, driving a cab and picking up shifts at Lord & Taylor and Whole Foods…”
  • For jobless LIers, desperation becomes way of life, By Carol Polsky, March 30, 2014, Newsday: “Growing numbers of jobless Long Islanders are struggling to survive with little to no income since extended federal unemployment benefits ended in December. Despite improving local unemployment rates and job growth, thousands of long-term unemployed are still unable to find work, and now many say they are running out of money to meet even basic expenses. A bipartisan compromise was reached recently in the U.S. Senate to provide extended benefits through May, retroactive to December, but it faces an uncertain fate in the House…”
  • Oregon food stamps, welfare numbers rose after long-term unemployment aid ended, By Yuxing Zheng, April 1, 2014, The Oregonian: “The number of Oregonians relying on welfare and food stamps rose slightly in January after long-term unemployment benefits ended in December. The increases illustrate the almost immediate impact local families felt after the federal unemployment benefits ran out, pushing families already living on the margins into welfare. Although not substantial, the January increases were some of the most sizable since Oregon began to see a slow and steady decline in the number of food stamps and welfare recipients…”

Homeless Schoolchildren – New York

Homeless schoolchildren numbers soar as federal funds decline, By Laura Figueroa, March 16, 2014, Long Island Newsday: “The number of homeless schoolchildren has quadrupled in Nassau County and more than doubled in Suffolk since the recession first hit — even as federal funding for homeless student programs has decreased. While Long Island’s economy is recovering, the number of homeless families continues to grow, according to state and county figures. The uptick has strained resources in many districts already beset by layoffs and reduced state education aid. Social service programs for the children and their families also have experienced federal, state and county budget cuts. Apart from New York City, which has some 80,500 homeless students, Suffolk has the highest homeless enrollment in the state. The county had nearly 5,000 homeless students as of the 2012-13 school year, up from 1,956 in 2007-08…”

LIHEAP and SNAP

New York, Connecticut offset cuts to food stamps by increasing home heating assistance, By Stephen Singer (AP), March 2, 2014, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Connecticut and New York have found a way around federal budget cuts that played a central role in the massive farm bill passed this month: bump up home heating assistance a few million bucks in return for preserving more than a half-billion dollars in food stamp benefits. The moves by Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — with the possibility that more governors could follow — cheer social service advocates who say the deep recession and weak economic recovery have pounded low-income workers and the unemployed who rely on heating assistance and food stamps…”

LIHEAP and SNAP – New York

New York to prevent cuts in food stamps for 300,000 families, By Cara Matthews, February 25, 2014, Journal News: “New York will dedicate roughly $6 million in additional federal heating assistance funding to prevent 300,000 households from losing food stamps because of the farm bill that Congress adopted and the president signed, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today…”