Saturday, July 2, 2022


The U.S. Supreme Court strips the EPA's power to curb pollution, California takes a big step toward universal health care, and a Florida judge will temporarily block the state's 15-week abortion ban.


SCOTUS significantly limits the Clean Air Act and rules against the "Stay in Mexico" policy, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in to office, and President Biden endorses a filibuster carveout for abortion rights.


From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

Report: Pandemic Policies Reduce Poverty in Massachusetts


Tuesday, February 8, 2022   

A new report shows financial supports made available in the pandemic have led to a direct reduction in poverty in Massachusetts.

From expanded unemployment benefits and Child Tax Credit payments to increases in food assistance, the report said targeted benefits have shown there is a way to cut childhood poverty in half.

Nancy Wagman, research and Kids Count director for the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center and the report's author, contended today's poverty and racial disparities are partly a result of past policies. She cited decades of low wages, housing discrimination and denying Black veterans GI benefits after World War II, and said major investments are needed to reverse those impacts.

"There's really an opportunity to learn from some of these investments during the pandemic emergency that we can take and move forward," Wagman urged. "We can ensure that every family, regardless of their immigration status, has enough to make ends meet."

In addition to federal supports, Wagman pointed out the state has a role as well, to help promote building generational wealth, through supporting small businesses, homeownership programs or student debt cancellation, for instance.

She added Massachusetts should invest in universal child care, make sure schools are well-funded and address the root causes of unaffordable and unstable housing.

Laura Meisenhelter, executive director of North Shore Community Action Programs in Peabody, said when a crisis happens, the first people to take the hit are those who are low income, and they are the last to recover.

"Many of the government-funded programs increased their income guidelines, so people who ordinarily would not have been able to get help can," Meisenhelter explained. "It's a struggle getting the word out to them."

Joe Diamond, executive director of the Massachusetts Association for Community Action, said as Community Action Agencies work to let people know about what's available to them, it is important to make sure critical policies are extended.

"Our experience with the pandemic, and the way that we've reacted to it as nonprofits and working with partners in government, reinforces the fact that certain policies like strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit can become a sustainable platform for stability and prosperity for low-income workers," Diamond stated.

Disclosure: Massachusetts Association for Community Action contributes to our fund for reporting on Housing/Homelessness, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Poverty Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
While most classrooms are empty right now, lingering concerns from the previous school year, such as the pandemic's effect on students and staff, are being dissected ahead of next year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…

Health and Wellness

A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …


The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …

The only memorial to Anne Frank is located in Boise. (Kencf0618/Wikimedia Commons)

Social Issues

Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …


Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …

Medicare fraud costs taxpayers an estimated $60 billion each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …

Social Issues

A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…

Social Issues

Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …


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