Saturday, November 27, 2021

Play

Don't want the hassles of Black Friday - consider a refurbished gift this year; day after Thanksgiving travel could be messy - and supporters regroup for recreational marijuana in South Dakota.

Play

Big retailers predict an historic holiday shopping season, but small businesses are not sharing that optimism, and economists weigh in on what s behind the nation's labor shortages.

Play

South Dakota foster kids find homes with Native families; a conservative group wants oil and gas reform; rural Pennsylvania residents object to planes flying above tree tops; and poetry debuts to celebrate the land.

Advocates: Federal Plan Could Do Wonders for Housing, Child Care in MN

Play

Tuesday, November 16, 2021   

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. -- In Congress, initial votes are possible this week on the Biden administration's budget reconciliation bill. From child care to affordable housing, Minnesota's community action agencies say there's real hope about giving struggling families the tools for long-term success.

The proposal known as Build Back Better is separate from the recently approved infrastructure plan.

One area the reconciliation package is poised to address is affordable housing.

Isaac Meyer, housing development director for KOOTASCA Community Action in northern Minnesota, said a lack of housing development and skyrocketing rents creates a vicious cycle for low-income families. On top of that, there is only so much current aid to go around.

"For our folks doing the crisis housing and homelessness services, we're able to serve as many people as we have funding, but no more," Meyer explained. "And that means so many families go simply unserved."

The plan includes nearly $25 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers.

Meyer argued it will empower more families to find something to meet their needs. As for child care, agencies say $100 billion for affordable care for kids ages birth to five is another investment which will have a long-term positive effect. Republicans and some Senate Democrats still raise concerns about the size of the bill, tying it to inflation.

But supporters said the changes address roadblocks holding many families back.

Maria Steen, child care aware manager for the Lakes and Prairies Community Action Partnership in the northwestern region, said another plan to cap families' child-care costs at no more than 7% of their income would be transformational.

"I know a lot of families that make choices about their family size, like family planning, because they can't afford child care," Steen observed.

She noted when families often spend roughly 25% of their income on child care, it can keep them out of the workforce. A cap would eliminate a difficult decision for many households.

Annie Shaprio, advocacy director for the Minnesota Community Action Partnership, said Build Back Better represents a cross-section of needs and services that could play a tremendous role in shaping a family's future. And because it is multi-year funding, there is opportunity for real change.

"The ability to actually implement programs that have longer tails, that can be ramped up," Shaprio urged. "Programs on the ground have time to establish, to start to run, to see the benefit, is the way that people and families will actually experience the impact."

Disclosure: Minnesota Community Action Association Resource Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Early Childhood Education, Health Issues, Housing/Homelessness, Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Vicki Harder-Thorne is honoring 30 years of sweat equity her parents put into restoring 80 acres of land in Ottawa County. (Harder-Thorne)

Environment

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Succession is an inevitable process for Ohio farmers, and it can also be an opportunity to re-imagine the land. Vicki Harder-…


Environment

HELENA, Mont. -- To honor the Biden administration's steps toward greater ties with tribal nations, conservation groups are calling on it to list the …

Social Issues

PIERRE, S.D. -- Supporters of establishing recreational marijuana in South Dakota say they're pouring all their energy into a new ballot initiative…


Farming is Virginia's largest private industry, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

RICHMOND, Va. -- In central Virginia, permanent access to land is one of the biggest barriers to farming. A new land-trust model aims to secure both …

Social Issues

BOSTON -- This holiday season, consumer advocates are urging Commonwealth residents to consider giving gifts that don't require purchasing anything…

The mission of the 'Buy Nothing Project' is to promote the giving of goods and services within hyperlocal circles. (bfleeson/Pixabay)

Social Issues

AUSTIN, Texas -- Supply chain delays have some holiday shoppers stressed that gifts won't be on store shelves on this "Black Friday," or won't arrive …

Social Issues

NEW YORK -- A team of New York-based filmmakers is producing a documentary about reclaiming Indigenous heritage, told through the experiences of an 18…

Social Issues

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- A new report ranks Maryland as one of the worst states in providing support for young victims of sex trafficking. While Maryland …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021