Monday, December 20, 2010

Legislative Update January 7, 2011 Meeting

The Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force met ad hoc during the summer and fall months of 2010. Amidst travels to the Western Slope, the I-70 corridor and along the Front Range, it became increasingly clear that there are community solutions all over the state and that the promotion of what is working is key to meeting the 2019 goal. Summaries of the ongoing work will be presented at the Task Force meeting currently scheduled for the afternoon of January 7, 2011. Workgroup members and legislators will present ideas for removing barriers to economic opportunity in the areas of employment, consumer protection and education. All are welcome.

2:00 pm -4:00 pm
Capitol Building (200 Colfax)
Committee Room 0109

Number of Colorado children under 6 needing child care, as parents work, is 244,279

Federal welfare reform, which was enacted in 1996, stressed the importance of work and job preparation for achieving financial self-sufficiency. Realizing that the cost, availability, stability, and quality of child care can act as barriers for low-income parents, as part of welfare reform, Congress established the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). CCDF is block grant money that states can use to encourage the availability of quality child care services. In Colorado the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP), administered by county departments of human services, uses CCDF funds to offer subsidies to low income families. In 1997 the Colorado General Assembly declared that “the state’s policies in connection with the provision of child care assistance and the effective delivery of such assistance are critical to the ultimate success of any welfare reform program” (Section 26-2-802(1), C.R.S.) and the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program was created.

The Colorado Child Care Learning Group is reviewing options to maintain the Colorado Child Care Assistance program during this economic downturn. The Child Care Assistance program is suffering from proposed statewide cuts and projected county shortfalls in TANF funding. A loss of child care assistance to a low-income family will likely include the loss of employment and a fall into poverty.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Over the last four months the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force has been discussing the effects of poverty, the barriers to economic self-sufficiency and the potential solutions for increasing economic opportunity. The one thing that we all agree on is that we don't understand the full complexity of poverty, nor do we comprehend its pervasiveness. See what you know by taking this illuminating quiz from the "Half in Ten Campaign". Oh, and the spoiler alert--IT'S ARTIFICIAL FOLKS!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Some Other work on Poverty

What's going on around the country for working people?

Worker Rights and Poverty: When Wages Just Aren’t Enough | Sloan Work and Family Research Network

IL Poverty Commission's New Recommendations: Building a Pathway to Dignity & Work

The Working in Retirement Study: Five Assumptions the Study Contests
By Ellen Galinsky Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes and Melissa Brown

Friday, October 22, 2010

Employment Workgroup--October 26

The Employment Workgroup will meet to draft strategies and logic models for moving populations into economically self-sufficient jobs and careers. We hope you join us.

TUESDAY, October 26, 2010

1:00 pm -- 3:00 pm

Colorado Center on Law and Policy
789 Sherman Street
Suite #300

Parking is available on the street and in visitor slots east of the building. Snacks will be served.

Education Workgroup Meeting--October 29

Join us as we debrief: “Waiting for Superman” and review the current reshaping of DPS schools. Senator Evie Hudak will chair this meeting of the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force. Details follow:

FRIDAY, October 29, 2010

9:00 am –10:45 am

Colorado Center on Law and Policy

789 Sherman Street

Suite #300

Parking is available on the street and in visitor slots east of the building. A light breakfast will be served.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Superman Arrives in Denver Friday, October 22nd

"GreenDot America, a charter school organization, is opening up its invitation list to their special screening of "Waiting for Superman".

This screening will be followed by a panel discussion, and at last report, the panel will include state senator Michael Johnston, Dr. Nate Easley, a parent, a student and possibly DeFENSE’s own Lisa Calderon.

The event is this FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22 at 6:45 p.m., RSVPs are being taken at

For more information on what's going on with Denver visit:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mini Task Force Meeting at HousingNOW Conference

  • Randle Loeb, Social Justice Advocate, Poverty and Homelessness
  • Representative John Kefalas (Fort Collins), Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction (EOPR) Task Force Chair
  • Meg Costello, Public Policy Analyst, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
  • Tracey Stewart, Economic Self-Sufficiency Project Coordinator, The Colorado Center on Law and Policy
as we host a mini-task force housing workgroup meeting to explore disconnects between poverty reduction, economic development and affordable housing. Click on the Live Chat event below at 2:30 Thursday, October 14 to participate.

Monday, October 11, 2010

EOPR Task Force Employment Workgroup Meeting

Venue: Colorado Center on Law and Policy, 789 Sherman Street, Suite 303, Denver

Date & Time: October 12, 2010 1-3 pm


Larimer County meeting with businesses, date and time?
WOW training (results, polling data?...)
Rob: Individual savings accounts
Carol: blanket bans against hiring felons
Tracey: Senate Bill 10-86 (postponed implementation) and loss of work supports at unrealistic levels
Paula: vocational ESL credits and TANF

Other business
Strategic planning and drafting guiding principles & values
Decide areas of focus for committee to pursue for recommendations

Next meeting is Oct. 26th

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Women and Children First

To live in poverty that is. Recent Colorado numbers from the census bureau are not suprising, but continue to illustrate the need for systemic changes in employment, education and family planning. Read more here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Poverty along the continuum of Economic Security

More detailed poverty numbers are due this week, but as the authors of this article (Making sense of poverty numbers - By Barbara Ehrenreich and Diana Pearce) state, it's not just about counting the poor, it's about defining a clearer picture of household financial health.

For a continuing discussion, join national and local advocates for a free regional meeting-- Building Bridges to Economic Security--this Friday, October 1, 2010. Register here to attend. Topics include creating a flexible workplace, making the case for social security, community investment and the impact of poverty reduction task forces.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Employment Workgroup Meeting September 28th

Economic Opportunity & Poverty Reduction Task Force
Employment Work Group
SEPTEMBER 28, 2010 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Venue: Denver Inner City Parish, 1212 Mariposa Street, Denver



Building Bridges toward Economic Security
sponsored by Wider Opportunities for Women,
Oct 1st, 9-5:30, breakfast and lunch included. Free.

Need to register at .
Co-hosted by The Colorado Center on Law and Policy and 9to5 National Organization of Working Women

Larimer County meeting with businesses has been postponed.

Guest: representative of the African Community Center

Tracey: refugee communities/poverty reduction, census data
Jim: mental model mapping, enterprise zones
Robb: Individualized savings accounts
Carol: blanket bans against hiring felons

Other business
Strategic planning/drafting

Remaining meetings are Oct. 12th, Oct. 26th
Next steps

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Live Chat Boulder EOPR Task Force Meeting

Follow the Boulder meeting of the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force Here. Tracey Stewart will be transcribing live and awaiting your comments starting at 1:30 pm on September 23, 2010.

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 23-Economic Task Force Meeting-Boulder

The Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force invites interested stakeholders to the next Task Force Meeting in Boulder.

Date: SEPTEMBER 23, 2010 (Thursday)

Time: 1:30 pm -5:00 pm

The meeting will be held at the Boulder County Justice Center. The Boulder County Justice Center is located at 1777 6th Street in Boulder.

The Boulder County Justice Center is located at 6th and Canyon. If you take the bus from Denver to Boulder it will drop you off at the Downtown Boulder bus station located on Broadway (12th) and Canyon and it’s a short walk to the Justice Center.

If you drive, there is parking just east of the Justice Center.

The meeting will be in the Jury Assembly Room, located on the north side of the building. You will have to go through a security area to enter the building.

Boulder County will present what works for them and give us some insight on their strategic plan. We will also hear updates from the employment workgroup and the education workgroup.

Please call Tracey (303)573-5669 ext. 314 if you are in need of transportation.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

October 1st-Economic Security Conference

Please join members of the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force, Colorado advocates and various national and local speakers during this day long event to Build Bridges toward Economic Security. The Colorado Center on Law and Policy is co-hosting this regional meeting with Wider Opportunities for Women.

Agenda topics and workshops include: Employment and flexible workplaces; The Impact of Social Security on Economic Security; Job Training and Skills Development; Re-Building Colorado Communities through Family Economic Self-Sufficiency; and Collaborative Efforts-What's Working in Colorado.

National and local research on how the economy has changed our view of family economics will be released for your REALITY CHECK.

This event is free and space is limited. For more information and to register with Wider Opportunities for Women go to:

Education Workgroup Meeting September 10

The Education Workgroup of the Task Force will hold this month's meeting at the offices of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.

Date: September 10, 2010
Time: 9:30 am to 11:00 am
Location Address: 789 Sherman Street #300

Metered parking is available in front of the building, and two hour free visitor parking is available in the lot just east of the building. The entrance to the lot is off 8th.

The topic this week is Higher Education and it's impact on poverty reduction. The workgroup will meet with the Department's new legislative representative and review recommendations from the 2009 session as well as new initiatives the department has for moving Coloradans forward through opportunity.

Please join us on Friday.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Employment Recommendations from 2009

On Friday, September 11, 2009 Carol Peeples (Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition), Mary Carraher (Project Self-Sufficiency), Kathy Otten (Colorado Workforce Board) and Caher Robert (Denver Women’s Commission) met to discussion issues and potential 2010 Legislation.

Potential 2010 Legislation:
  • “Safe Hiring Act”- To remove legal barriers to employment by those exiting the criminal justice system. Elements could include:
    Ban on blanket employment policies like “no felons need apply”.
    Legal protection for employers limiting any liability for decision to hire felons to be only equal to liability for other employees.
    Prohibit felon check box on applications. Prohibit inquiring about felon status until the interview stage.
  • State Earned Income Tax Credit – Restore the State Earned Income Tax Credit for low wage workers to the #1 TABOR Refund mechanism. This would have not immediate impact due to low state revenues, but could result in low wage workers receiving their State EITC years earlier than the current situation. It should have no fiscal note in any case since it just reorders the refunding of TABOR excess revenues.
    (The Colorado State Earned Income Tax Credit exists in the law as equivalent to 10% of the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit. It was created as a companion bill to the permanent reductions in the Colorado State Income tax rates in 1999 and 2000. Those income tax rate reductions were permanent, but the EITC was set up as a TABOR refund mechanism. It was paid to low-wage Colorado families in 1999, 2000 and 2001but not since then. A bill to make the State EITC permanent would have a fiscal note of about $50 million and would actually put up to about $450./year in people’s pockets. The legislature could choose to fund the EITC in a revenue neutral way by abolishing a different permanent tax credit or tax exemption to replace the revenue—though obviously those interests affected would fight that. In 2005 HB 1317 created a new TABOR Refund mechanism—an additional cut in the State income tax rate from 4.63 to 4.5%. This bill had the effect of bumping the EITC from first place in TABOR refund mechanism to second place. A bill to restore the EITC as first TABOR refund mechanism should not have a fiscal note as TABOR refunds are not anticipated for the next few years.)

    Issues for Further Investigation:
  • Child Care – Child care is a critical work support for parents of young children. Due to its nature child care is expensive relative to the income of low wage workers ( including the child care providers themselves.) Colorado Child Care Assistance Program serves many low wage families, yet serves only about one out of every six eligible families due in part to inadequate funding relative to the needs. Many counties have waiting lists.
    Our subcommittee felt further investigation was needed of four points:
    *Does the State have money in Child Care Reserves?
    *Is there any money reverting back to the TANF Long Term Reserve that could be used for additional Child Care funding? Does the 30% cap on child care transfers apply to TANF monies in the long term reserve? It takes legislative action to allocate money from TANF Long Term Reserve.
    *Twelve month continuous eligibility for CCCAP would eliminate some of the panic in the lives of low income families and give time to troubleshoot paperwork and computer problems that frequent result in losing childcare overnight. It would reduce the burden on State Human Service staff, low income parents and their employers. Is this feasible?
  • As a matter of fairness the State should make the Child Care Tax Credit truly refundable, rather than a percentage of the non-refundable Federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. There is no logical reason why the poorest of workers who are paying for child care should not qualify for this credit because their incomes are too low. Most low wage workers DO NOT get subsidize child care.
  • Job Training – While the Task Force does have a Committee on Education, we are also concerned about very short term, job specific training. Training programs of 2-3 weeks can help prepare some to compete for a different job. Many parents cannot take advantage of education and training opportunities due to lack of child care. This could be address by training as part of the work experience or by funding child care for employment and training, as is sometimes done with TANF recipients.

Employment Workgroup Meeting August 31st

This is to remind you that the next meeting for the subcommittee focusing on employment for the Economic Opportunity and Poverty Reduction Task Force will meet on Tuesday, August 31st. We will meet from 1-3.

We will meet in the Community Room (on your right as you walk in the front door) at the Denver Inner City Parish building.

Address is 1212 Mariposa Street, across the street from Lincoln Park.

Parking is free in our parking lot and along the sidewalk next to the park.

Proposed agenda topics: Colorado prosperity mapping, the value of case management continuum programs, research into city contracts, child care assistance policies, paid sick days and a review of the policy recommendations State of Working Colorado 2009.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force meeting Grand Junction

Check here on Thursday, Aug. 26 for a live chat from the meeting in Grant Junction. We will be taking questions and comments from all over the state during the meeting, so if you would like to participate, sign up for a reminder email and then follow the links to type your responses. Jenn Gross will moderate the "chat room" and make sure that your voice is heard. The Grand Junction meeting starts at 1:30 pm with a presentation on Proposed Amendments 60 and 61.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Today's reading list

Hi all. Today's reading centers around Elizabeth Warren and the potential that she can bring to fiscal oversight. The work that she can do if she is nominated and confirmed as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has direct impact on us.

Both articles are from AlterNet.

Elizabeth Warren and AIG:

How Elizabeth Warren as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can protect consumers from banking overdraft abuses:

Task Force Meeting August 26 in Grand Junction


AUGUST 26, 2010
2:30 PM -5:00 PM

AT 1:30 PM

Grand Valley Catholic Outreach
245 South 1st Street
Grand Junction, CO 81501-2201
(970) 241-3658

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Benefit funds depleted

Hi readers. Today's articles are one each local and national about the depletion of benefits.

From the Denver Post on Monday August 16th:

And from the Washington Post blog section on Friday July 30th:

more to come . . .

Monday, August 16, 2010

Some interesting articles

To keep us motivated during these late summer days, I will post a couple of articles each day for the next few days from my meanderings around the internet related to our work with the task force. Should any of you find articles of relevance, please forward the links and I will post them so that we all may read them.

I hope that you find these of interest and that they add to your perspective.

First, poverty and food affordability/accessibility amongst African refugees in metro Denver:

And, what actually happens when the government bails out a giant financial institution:

Friday, July 30, 2010

Workgroup meeting-Employment and Economic Development

The employment work group will meet this coming Tuesday, August 3rd, from 1-3 pm at the Denver Inner City Parish. (1212 Mariposa Street)
Feel free to park in the DICP parking lot if a space is available. Additional parking is available along the street next to the park. Coffee and snacks will be provided.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Community Meeting - Half in Ten Campaign

What are real solutions to reduce poverty?
Half in Ten Campaign Local Chapter: Colorado
Monday, August 2, 2010 - 5:30pm - 7:00pm MDT
Blair-Caldwell Library 2401 Welton St
RSVP: Bridget Kaminetsky Phone: 303-628-0925 E-mail:

More than thirty-seven million Americans live below the official poverty line. It does not have to be this way! The Half in Ten Campaign believes in REAL solutions and wants to hear your story about why poverty reform is needed now!Come help cut poverty in half over the next ten years!Light refreshments provided. Childcare provided upon advance request.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Chair--Senator Hudak

This group is connecting the dots and overlapping with other committees. Broad scope will be the impact with the recession and budget cuts, housing, homelessness and the high cost of child care. Focus will be the importance of intervention from ages 0-3.

This workgroup will meet the 2nd Friday of each month 9:30 am-11:30 am. Locations to be announced.

Future topics include; Promise Neighborhoods--Harlem Children’s Zone. Higher Education Initiative--prioritizing the budget cuts.

Consumer Protection

Chair: T. A. Taylor-Hunt
This group encompasses issues in Housing, Employment, Education, Health, Auto Insurance and lending. The perspective is legislative enforcement. Broad scope--intervention and education. Solutions proposed. The common thread is the importance of consumer education, which affects insurance, health care, employment, credit, etc.
Stay in touch for future meeting dates of this workgroup.

Constitutional Amendments

Chair--Annmarie Jensen

The group determined that the amendment requiring government to restrict bonding has the worst polling. The impact on low income people includes: public transportation, Community Health Centers, Education--bldg repair, FASTER, Higher Ed, private sector jobs-construction; OED; families and children. The task is to develop 2 or 3 paragraphs to feed back to the campaign; how do we get out to the faith community, etc.
Meeting notes and future activities.

Employment and Economic Development

Chair-Carol Peeples, Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition

New members have to catch up and found it frustrating to respond to last year’s recommendations, so they have opted to start with new 2010 recommendations. Meetings will occur every 2 weeks. Next meeting August 3rd 1:00 pm-3:00 pm. Location details to follow.

EOPR Meeting Minutes; July 20, 2010

Legislative Attendees: Senator Guzman, Representative Kefalas (Chair), Representative Kagan and Senator Hudak

Participating Organizations: Colorado Progressive Coalition, Colorado Center on Law & Policy, Colorado Children's Campaign, Urban Peak, Housing Colorado, Catholic Charities, 9to5 National Organization of Working Women, Denver Women's Commission, Colorado Women's Lobby, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, City and County of Denver, Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, Greater Good Academy, Worklife, People's Leadership Council

Participating Individuals: Chaka Mzee, Elizabeth Dolan, Tim Luethke, Devin Cross, Nancy Reichman, Jim Schulz

Agenda Items:
  • Introductions
  • Review of last year
    The opportunities today: Testimony on Employment & Education or Job Training
  • Workgroup Introduction & signup
    Workgroup breakouts/public input
    Big Group Next Steps

Representative Kefalas: We want to reframe conversation about poverty, not partisan, look at poverty reduction and economic opportunity as business development issues. Purpose for 2010: look at ‘best practices’ at state and community level to come up with action plan to cut poverty in half by 2019. HB09-1094 established task force. Bills came out of interim committee and 8 pieces of legislation all passed into law this past session.

Open Discussion:
Debra Ortega--supported employee model. Ensures that individuals have what they need to be successful once they are employed; transportation, clothing, case managers. Best practice. Dept. of Education funded rehabilitation and voc rehab for the formerly homeless. Collaborative effort. Bayaud Enterprises--peer counselors with paid staff facilitators.
Lydia Romero-Worklife in Jefferson, Clear Creek and Gilpin counties. Focus: TANF eligible families; training and education opportunities.
Representative Kagan-referred to New Belgium Brewing company’s testimony from last year. Intervention is important and understanding is key. Medical story--poor worker was sick but could not pay for dr. appt. or get the certificate of illness. If we could make more employers sensitive to the lives of low-income families, then we could alleviate many of these issues.
Jeff Romero-Urban Peak; emphasize the value of case management. It is essential for recruiting and supporting youth. Success stories have been with youth with multiple case managers. Seeing more youth that have aged out of foster care.
Representative Kefalas-Larimer County; consider peer counselor with mental health;

Annmarie Jensen-conversation with the Governor’s Office; need to develop pipeline of occupations in the sciences, etc.
Randle Loeb-Housing is fundamental.

Testimony on Employment & Education or Job Training

  • Guest Speaker: Richard Eidlin- The Greater Good Academy--NEFE training program.

Traditional bottom line produces outsourcing, layoffs, other bad things.
The concept of the triple bottom line in progressive companies to employ people to become more self-sufficient themselves. First academy took place at Mi Casa this spring. Emerging strategy for successful business: building involvement in community and the wide range of stakeholders can become consumers, etc. Take social and environmental factors and look at bottom line. Then also look at marketing and increasingly public buys goods and services from companies who care. All people in academy supported by mentors and financing, so if company graduates can secure capital. Next program in the fall: looking for mentors, corporate support, and individuals who can benefit from class.
Discussion: Q and A on funding, case management, student fees, program evaluation and opportunities for the previously incarcerated.

Representative Kefalas: Important to remember that we are dealing with different sub-populations dealing with different issues. The notion of collaboration and not reinventing the wheel has been important.

Connecting the Dots: Children's Campaign introduces the work of the Early Childhood Leadership Commission; stresses collaboration; forums around the state--primary audience is business. Senator Hudak agrees explaining that the ECLC represents leaders of state departments and business who could be looking at the impact of poverty reduction and early childhood development.

Workgroup Links:
Employment and Economic Development
Constitutional Amendments
For more information and analysis: or bell
Consumer Protection

Concluding statements:
Senator Guzman--closely aligns with Denver work on poverty reduction
Senator Hudak--Education is the key out of poverty
Representative Kagan--the most important job of any government is to make sure no one is suffering in poverty. There are things you can do to reduce poverty. I find that inspiring. I feel so privileged to be a part of this process.
Representative Kefalas--Value in reframing the conversation. There are solutions. We have some specific outcomes to achieve through potential policy proposals.

Next general task force meeting will be held at the end of August outside the Denver Metro area. Details to follow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Constitutional Amendments Workgroup Meeting

The next meeting of the Constitutional Amendments Workgroup of the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force is:

July 28, 2010
at 1:30 pm

Location: 1120 Lincoln, Suite 900

All are welcome to discuss outreach plan for reaching low-income communities about the impact of Ballot Initiative 61.

EOPR Task Force Constitutional Amendments Wokgroup Minutes

Chair--Annmarie Jensen

The newly formed workgroup on the ballot initiatives 60, 61 and proposition 101 of the taskforce met to discuss what this group could do specifically related to low income persons and these three initiatives. The group decided to focus on amendment 61 because that measure is showing it is most likely to pass. The group decided that they would work on getting some written materials put together about amendment 61 and its affects on low income persons. They divided the impacts of the amendment up into several topic areas, and solicited volunteers to try and get further in formation on each one of those topic areas. Assignments are as follows. If your name is not listed here, please feel free to bring any information on any of these topics to the meeting.

Health Care – Corinne Fowler will contact CCHN and see what they may have already done
Education – Senator Guzman will discuss with Senator Hudak, and also see what CEA may already have.
Families and Children – Kenny Smith and Chaer Roberts will work on providing info on this
Housing and Libraries – Heidi Baker will contact CHFA and also the library association
Community Colleges/Universities – Annmarie Jensen will contact those folks.

Private Sector jobs--open

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The 2009 Community Report

During the 2009 Interim Committee Session, the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force created it's first year's report on the scope of poverty and initial policy solutions. You can download the 2009 Community Report by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Welcome to 2019, a blog about reducing poverty in Colorado by half by 2019

Thanks for visiting our blog. Please check back for frequent updates. This blog is a space for Colorado residents and the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force to communicate and collaborate on finding ways to reduce poverty. The blog is administered by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, the leading stakeholder in the task force.