Friday, August 9, 2013




Thursday, October 4, 2012

Collective Impact, Promising Practices, Economic Opportunity

Join us October 19th for the Colorado 2019 Summit in observation of World Poverty Day at Infinity Event Center! The summit will feature Mark Kramer, co-founder and Managing Director of FSG and the author of influential publications on shared value, catalytic philanthropy, collective impact, strategic evaluation, and impact investing. Mr. Kramer will be speaking about Corporate Shared Values. Click here to read about Mark Kramer’s Shared Value Initiative with the Clinton Global Initiative. Morning bus tours to promising practices will head to Boulder County and Arapahoe county as well as WorkLife Partnership. Register here!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Guest opinion: Increasing numbers of Boulder County families are hurting

By Terry Benjamin Boulder Daily Camera

EFAA began in 1918 as a way for neighbors to help neighbors through temporary hard times. Almost daily we see news reports about the challenges facing low-income families. Visits to Emergency Family Assistance Association from Boulder and Broomfield County families have increased 24 percent in the past year. They come for food, assistance with rent, energy bills and emergency shelter.

Today, more and more of the families we help are working, but at wages too low to live on. As a result they rely on EFAA and on important public benefits such as SNAP food assistance, Medicaid and child care assistance to make ends meet every month. With well-paying jobs in short supply and costs to raise a family dramatically increasing, an increasing number of Boulder County families are hurting.

Some recent reports:

·         One in five children under five in Boulder County lives in poverty, and child poverty has increased in Colorado faster than any other state. The stress of poverty is particularly harmful to children and can have long lasting effects. Boulder County enrollments in SNAP food assistance benefits have increased 150 percent since 2008 and Medicaid enrollments have increased 63 percent.

·         Even though the Colorado economy is growing, incomes fell for the bottom four fifths of Colorado households since 2007, rising only for the top fifth. This trend is alarming and is affected by the loss of mid-wage jobs, stagnant and declining wages, underemployment and part time hours. Household incomes are not keeping up with increasing costs of housing, education, energy and health care. The Colorado minimum wage of $7.64 is not enough to keep even a single person out of poverty. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation in the last thirty years, it would be around $11.

·         A single mother with two young children needs to earn $29/hour to be entirely self-sufficient in Boulder County, yet half of the jobs in Boulder County pay less than $25/hour. 41 percent of families with a single mother live in poverty.

·         More than one in three Boulder County renter households pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing, and rents increased more than 10 percent just in the last year. Over 1,750 school-age children in Boulder County are without permanent homes.

The recession has affected many families and businesses but poverty is not just a result of the recent downturn. There are broader issues of economic and public policy at play. Of the jobs with the highest projected growth in Boulder County in the next ten years, one in four are in sectors such as leisure/hospitality, retail, and personal services that pay less than $15/hour, frequently without benefits. One quarter of Boulder County's mid-wage jobs have forever disappeared in the last ten years. Colorado's state budget is constrained so that education and important work supports such as the earned income tax credit and child care assistance have been cut. In the U.S. Congress, the House voted to cut over $16 billion from nutrition assistance, and cut Pell Grants that reduce the cost of higher education, help for the long-term unemployed, and assistance for rental housing.

There is not a simple answer to poverty, but we know that it takes a combination of individual commitment, support from the faith community and community organizations like EFAA, an adequate safety net, good education, access to health care, more jobs that pay decent wages and benefits, and possibilities to accumulate assets and retirement savings.

We have to face these economic and political realities. Ignoring these trends, blaming working families, walking away from support of effective public programs, cutting education and other investments, and continuing to push the problem to local governments and faith-based and community nonprofits cannot get us there.

Terry Benjamin is Executive Director, Emergency Family Assistance Association.

DeAnne Butterfield

1674 Yellow  Pine Ave

Boulder, CO  80304


Friday, September 7, 2012

Sunday, Sept. 9-National Grandparent's Day

The Colorado Center on Law and Policy released the Elder Economic Security Standard Index in July 2011. Highlighted in the report are the costs for "aging in community" (which 90%) of elders want and the costs for aging in nursing institutions.

"The need for home and community-based long-term care can double or even triple an elder’s expenses. Adding a low level of care for one person adds $7,920 per year to living costs. Requiring a medium level of care adds $21,008 and needing a high level of care adds $36,144 to $43,632. As a comparison, national market surveys report an average annual rate of $72, 234 for nursing facility care (semi-private room)..." (page xi) 

This year, the folks at Generations United have created an infographic demonstrating other opportunities that come with keeping our seniors in community as vital members of family. Click here for a snapshot of the community foundation that is laid when aging is celebrated. 
We know what works and how it works. The 2012 Community Assessment of Latino Older Adults in Metro Denver also reminds us to regard our elders as community assets and significant components of family and community stabilization.
"Latino older adults have positive perceptions on aging and appreciate the wisdom that comes with age. For them, it is important to remain engaged and active, have good health, maintain independence, and have family support." (page 3)

The conversation regarding community-based long-term will continue. Do something GRAND this Sunday and look around your neighborhoods for seniors. Chat with them for five minutes about what their needs are and then let us know.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Poverty and the Pentagon-Call to Action

Coalition on Human Needs
Organizations:  Add Your Name to SAVE Vital Services and Prevent Rising Poverty

Please sign a letter to Congress - Deadline: Monday, September 10
Read the letter.  Sign the letter.

There are millions of reasons to sign this letter.  Here are just some:

  • 1.5 million fewer low-income people provided anti-poverty help by community action agencies.
  • 750,000 fewer infants, toddlers, and moms receiving WIC.
  • More than 460,000 adults and youth will lose employment/training services, including 51,000 veterans.
  • 734,000 fewer households with home heating/cooling assistance.
  • 1.8 million fewer low-income schoolchildren with reading and math help.
  • 185,000 fewer low-income households will receive rental vouchers.

All these and more vulnerable people will lose vital services if Congress allows automatic cuts to kick in starting in January.  At the same time, Pentagon cutbacks are scheduled.  And Congress has to decide whether to let all the Bush-era tax cuts expire, let just the extra breaks for the top 2 percent expire, or extend all of them. 

The letter calls upon Congress to set the right priorities - budget plans should protect low-income people and invest in job creation, with national priorities paid for through increased fair revenues and responsible savings from reducing waste in the Pentagon or other areas.

These principles were developed over a year ago in a statement signed by more than 1,600 organizations under the name Strengthening America's Values and Economy (SAVE) for All.  We welcome returning and new signers.

Why is this letter so important?  There are Members of Congress* who are determined to protect needed services by insisting on ending some of the upper-income tax breaks.  They oppose protecting the Pentagon by cutting human needs programs.  Of course, military contractors, financial interests, and right wing ideologues are pushing in the other direction.  Large numbers of organizations on this letter will show that groups representing millions nationwide want the right priorities - and are paying attention.  That's the kind of support our allies need to point to.

We can use your help:  please forward this email to your networks, lists, affiliates, friends...
Signing this letter does not commit your organization to anything except agreement with the letter. 

If you've already signed this letter, thank you so much!

Speak for Yourself!  If you're not authorized to sign for an organization, you can still speak out!  Click here to send an email to your Representative and Senators. 
(And remember: 
please don't sign the organizational letter if you're not authorized to do so - it just slows us down.)

* Senator Patty Murray is one such determined Member of Congress.  If you didn't hear her in last week's webinar, you can listen to the recording (her statement is in the first 10 or 15 minutes):  click here to listen. 

And here is a collection of useful background information.

Monday, August 20, 2012

August Meeting in Arvada

The Economic Opportunity

Poverty Reduction

Task Force

REMINDER: “Creating a New Plan-Strategies for Helping Families Meet Basic Needs” 2012 summer meeting.

The focus of this next meeting is reviewing strategies for mitigating hunger, increasing affordable housing and accessing funds to meet basic needs.

The meeting will be from 3:30-5:30 at the Arvada Food Bank. Carpooling is available from CCLP address or every driver will be reimbursed for mileage.

Date:         Friday August 24, 2012
Time:         3:30 pm-5:30 pm

Location:     Arvada Food Bank, 8555 West 57th Avenue Arvada

This agenda includes updates on Colorado’s anti-hunger and affordable housing movements.


3:30-3:45 Call to order/introductions-- Senator Hudak
3:45-4:30 Basic Needs Strategies presentation
4:30-4:45 Quick Break (snacks, bathroom, etc)
4:45-5:15 Brainstorming-What’s missing in this section of the plan? Who knows of “what’s working” for website nomination? What are legislative ideas for 2013?
5:15-5:30 Update on 2019 Summit and Promising Practices Database. Call for Nominations.   

Thursday, July 19, 2012

2012 Colorado Conference on Poverty - Understanding CSBG and Getting Ahead of Poverty

Tuesday, August 07, 2012 10:00 AM - Friday, August 10, 2012 12:30 PM (Mountain Time)
The Colorado Conference on Poverty is coordinated by the Colorado Community Action Association
PO Box 18321, Denver, CO 80218
(303) 949-9934
Pueblo Convention Center
(719) 542-1100
320 Central Main Street
Pueblo, Colorado 81003
United States

Map and Directions

Enjoy beautiful Pueblo, Colorado - the gateway to Southeast Colorado while participating in a four-day conference packed full of amazing sessions and speakers, inspiring and entertaining keynotes and networking activities with your peers!

Local organizations throughout our state, known as Community Action Agencies or Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Entities/Subcontractors, actively partner with communities and other organizations on the local, state and national level to reduce the causes of poverty, fight the impacts of poverty, and help people with low-income achieve self-sufficiency.