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PNS Daily Newscast - January 22, 2021 


Biden revokes permit for Keystone XL Pipeline; Dr. Anthony Fauci expresses relief at being able to speak honestly about COVID-19.


2021Talks - January 22, 2021 


Cabinet appointments moving along: SecDef nominee Lloyd Austin's Senate confirmation may come today. Tribal reaction to Biden's permit cancellation of Keystone XL Pipeline, plus new details on COVID-response.

Report: Pandemic-Fueled Poverty Especially Dire for Families of Color

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Using recent Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau, a new report says many Americans describe themselves as feeling "down, depressed or hopeless." (Adobe Stock)
Using recent Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau, a new report says many Americans describe themselves as feeling "down, depressed or hopeless." (Adobe Stock)
December 16, 2020

BOSTON -- The pandemic has wreaked havoc on Massachusetts families and children of color in particular, according to a new report.

Researchers from the Annie E. Casey Foundation discovered 10% of Bay State parents can't afford enough food and 7% lack health insurance. Twenty percent say they feel "down, depressed or hopeless," and one in six doubts he or she will be able to pay the rent or mortgage next month.

Reginauld Williams, communications director for the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said the threat of homelessness is even worse for families of color.

"It's twice as high for Black or Latinx households than for their white counterparts," he said. "These numbers are glaring."

The 2021 state budget is being finalized now. When Massachusetts lawmakers start on the next one in January, Williams said, he'd like to see full funding for education, possibly funded by increased taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president for external affairs at the Casey Foundation, said children need stability -- and that means secure housing, food, medical care and education.

"We have to get back to the basics," she said. "We have to make sure that the poorest and most fragile families are taken care of, and that we're funding those programs that can have an impact and make sure that everybody's basic needs are met in this country."

The report recommended that federal relief money be distributed with racial equity in mind, and for COVID vaccines to be given at no cost. It also called on policymakers to expand access to unemployment insurance for part-time and gig-economy workers, and put more money into subsidized child care.

Disclosure: Annie E. Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Education, Juvenile Justice, Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MA