Funding "Critical" for MA Anti-Poverty Efforts, Post Pandemic
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
TAUNTON, Mass. - Community Action Agencies say $5 million in the House version of the Massachusetts state budget next year would go a long way toward helping the most vulnerable communities recover from the pandemic.
Liz Berube, executive director of Citizens for Citizens Inc. in the Taunton-Fall River area, said the main aim of these agencies is to assist people facing crises in their everyday lives. While this past year has brought a series of crises, Berube said people will need support long after the pandemic is over.
"Not only are we trying to assist them with rent, we're trying to get them on fuel assistance," she said. "We'll also help them with the SNAP application. We will help them with their income taxes, if they're working."
That's only some of the resources they provide, she added. Berube said she's glad to see the funding for these services in the budget passed by the House last week, and hopes the state Senate will include it as well.
Joe Diamond, executive director of the Massachusetts Association for Community Action, said this budget line-item will give agencies more flexibility than many of the grants and other resources they receive, which often are targeted for a specific program, group or area.
"These resources will allow us to continue to be as nimble as possible in meeting the needs of people," he said, "in fact, needs that people have never experienced before, because we're entering a new era, a post-pandemic era."
Lawmakers also have introduced a bill to establish a commission to help address inequality, promote opportunity and end poverty. State Rep. Sally Kerans, D-Danvers, the bill's sponsor, said it's key that the commission would bring together people with different but complementary perspectives.
"What was it like to try to go through the fuel-assistance program? How difficult is it to put together seven nutritious meals a week? When you bring those real, day-to-day experiences together with research and data on earning potential, discrimination in wages, wage theft," she said, "there are so many issues that come into play."
Disclosure: Massachusetts Association for Community Action contributes to our fund for reporting on Housing/Homelessness, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Poverty Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
get more stories like this via email
SALT LAKE CITY -- In the push toward carbon-free energy production, some cities in Utah and nearby states are considering a new type of nuclear …
Health and Wellness
TAMPA, Fla. -- Move United's USA Wheelchair Football League is expanding from four cities to nine, including Tampa, to give athletes with …
CRAIG, Colo. -- What would it look like if one in four households in the country was solar-powered? A new report from the "30 Million Solar Homes" …
Health and Wellness
DES MOINES, Iowa -- People across the Midwest, including Iowans, have dealt with a series of heat waves this summer. Health experts say hotter …
NEW YORK -- Over 10,000 New York and New Jersey front-line airport workers will get health insurance as part of new contract negotiations that come at…
INDIANAPOLIS -- Voting-rights advocates applaud this week's federal appeals-court decision to prevent Indiana from purging some voters from the rolls …
BOSTON -- A new survey finds widespread public support up and down the East Coast for protecting right whales from getting tangled up in fishing gear…
CARSON CITY, Nev. - A bill just introduced in the U.S, Senate would help thousands of species stay off the Endangered Species List - including …