Monday, November 28, 2011

11/17 EOPR - Metrics Subcommittee Meeting Notes

Metrics Subcommittee Meeting Notes

Economic Opportunity and Poverty Reduction Task Force

November 17, 2011

Present: Rep. John Kefalas, Tracy Stewart (CCLP), Kate Veeder (CCLP), Lizzy Stephan (Bell Policy Center)

This meeting was devoted to discussing Rep. Kefalas’ Poverty Impact Statements bill.

Last session, the “ranking minority member” language (re: who could request a poverty impact statement) seemed to upset people

Legislative Council informed Rep. Kefalas that in order to do these statements within existing resources, they would have to limit the total number of statements that could be requested. Six statements could work.

Want to be cautious messaging this bill because the idea of attaching business impact statements is also floating around.

Should the criteria for evaluating a bill be narrowed down more? What about the different ways of measuring poverty—which should be included?

Messaging could be tied into the Governor’s OEDIT plan—the Blueprint: when doing economic development, it directs people to consider the impacts on poverty. Everyone should read the Blueprint.

Criteria for when an impact statement can be requested: this could be narrowed. Definitely want to keep household income, assets, financial security piece. That fits into the frame from the EOPR’s Community Report (model includes consideration of the resources & assets that you start with). Also keep employment & workforce development, as this fits in the model as well—it also fits in with Hickenlooper’s economic development plan. It would be easy to get this data from the Department of Labor. Education is intervention and creates a pathway, but this could be taken out.

Poverty impact statement example: employment & felonies: the poverty impact statement would be high because many people with felonies are unemployed. Also a policy easy employment policies for people with felonies would increase the employment pool for employers. Pipeline to Prison already looks at this, they could do the numbers.

Another example: a pay equity program: do a projection based on the number of people in the workforce. Legislative Council could say: this is how much money would be in people’s pockets after this policy, because right now X number of women are making less than men.

Metrics: Which measurement to use?

Rep. Kefalas: We could use the Human Development Index. Also the people in the public health department already look at the social determinants of health, so we could use those indicators. Wants to create flexibility for Leg Council so that if they have the resources they could use the Supplemental Poverty Measure, Otherwise they could use the social determinants of health, or the self sufficiency standard…plus tie it into the Community Report. Giving them an array of tools would be useful.

Tracy: the bill as it is written makes it sound like Leg Council has to do an analysis using each of those poverty measurers.

Rep. Kefalas spoke to Natalie from Leg Council, who said that doing a statement that shows how much a bill moves people above or below 200% of FPL would be very expensive.

Tracy: What if we tried a qualitative statement? It could say something like “we understand that with the passage of this bill 54% of the workforce would see an increase in their earnings by 27% over the next year. We predict that this will make a different in X number of households.” Elizabeth Gardener in the state demographers office already does something like this. Maybe we want to work with the demographers? It could say X number of households would move from FPL.

We could use the scale from the community report and assign codes, and have a qualitative statement based off of that: “impact of 3”, moving 20,000 families for example from zone 1 to zone 3. The demographers office already knows the number of families at different levels of poverty.

Hardest sell is then how we chose the ratings, defining the zones. But it would take the pressure off of Leg Council.

Rep. Kefalas: we could test it for two years, even if the statement is just a paragraph like it is with tax credits.

Monday, November 21, 2011

With the Stroke of a Pen

CFED published "With the Stroke of a Pen" recently. The report "presents 24 low-cost, politically-viable policy ideas to increase financial security and opportunity in tough fiscal times".

These ideas are based on Household Financial Security Framework: LEARN, EARN, SAVE, INVEST and PROTECT.

Read the report here:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Reading Room

Greetings all.

I have come across a couple of articles in the past couple of days that are striking enough to not want to wait until next week to post, so here they are.

From the latest issue of Rolling Stone, how we ended up in the situation that we are in:

A Reuters article exploring recent census data on poverty and children:

Lastly, a working paper from members of the Occupy DC group at Freedom Plaza on how they see things and proposed solutions:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Save the Date! Next 2 EOPR Task Force Meeting Dates:

Friday December 12/16 1-4 (Location TBA)

Friday January 6 1-4 (Location TBA)

EOPR Meeting notes 11/17/2011

Representatives present: Senator Hudak (chair), Senator White, Representative Kefalas, Representative Kagan, Senator Boyd

Stakeholders: Tracey Stewart (CCLP), Colorado Apartment Association, Homeless Advocacy Group, CHFA, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Denver Human Service, Boulder County, Bell Policy Center, Project WISE, Denver Women’s Commission, Colorado Legal Services, Jewish Family Service, Arapahoe Early Childhood Council, Work Life, 5 Points District

Need to concentrate on legislative ideas. Since EOPR task force isn’t official Legislative committee the group can’t introduce any bills. Any potential bills will have to be run personally by a legislator on the task force. Only 2 bills can be introduced after December 1.

Senator Hudak reported about a conference she attended re: Access to post secondary education for low income women:

If a woman is on TANF and she has certain work requirements education is available as meeting some of those requirements but there are certain difficulties in utilizing TANF and other federally provided funds to attend community college because of requirements of the community college system versus the requirements of TANF. Conflicts in number of hours you have to attend vs. credits vs. what colleges require and how that conflicts with Colorado Works requirements, difficulty with workforce centers working with community colleges. Plus the financial issues regarding human services wanting to pay for it as a lump sum and colleges won’t take a lump sum only per semester. Looking at legislation for women on TANF.

Educational Success Task Force: doesn’t have any legislation going forward in addressing any issues EOPR is looking at but it is authorized to proceed and meet throughout the year. They will be having a panel of college presidents and people from Department of Labor discussing how to resolve conflicts among those systems.

2011 Self Sufficiency Standard – Came out in October. Fact sheets available. Child Care jumped about 58% across the state. Health care up 54% across the state between 2004-2011. Federal legislation is looking at doing similar things as the task force. “Stroke of the Pen” - Looks at poverty reduction as a result of economic opportunity. Looks at how many families are removed from poverty as well as moved towards self sufficiency. Looking at what specific communities make the greatest progress. Costs skyrocketed, wages did not.

Kefalas is working on a poverty bill. Would like to work standard into poverty impact statement.

Megan Davis (Boulder County) Process, programmatic and policy ideas – education, savings, protecting assets. Urban Institute produced a document regarding Health Reform assisting in education.

Feds put out SPM which is not state specific. They included information about how public benefits push people out of poverty specifically EITC – Earned Income Tax Credit

Half in Ten Campaign: comparable indicators to public health indicators. Campaign Manager is coming to present December 1st. Looking at their measurement as well.

Still working to put out report regarding how to move folks forward. Metrics committee will take ideas, use logic models and find out how many people will be affected, including Circles, Nursing Care, recommendations from work groups.

Paula Gomez – Skill Build Colorado – funding collaborative helping entry level workers obtain jobs and better careers.

47% of Colorado jobs are middle skill jobs but Colorado doesn’t do much in helping people understand what those opportunities are. Multiple programs duplicating services and not coordinating. Asking for: Better coordination of services, Set up system of credential counting, adult basic education, better process or method for business engagement. Disconnect in different work force development agencies.

Kagan is working with department of higher ed and department of labor to produce a report detailing the future output of qualified people if nothing is changed in higher education or where improvements can be made.

Work Group Updates:

Housing and Utilities: Discussion re: Whether low income tax credits could be targeted at lower income serving projects than they are now in greater proportion paying more attention to a large project failing when it is a large number of low income tenants and how the risks might be mitigated and how we might do that. Need to do this without putting undo risk on taxpayers. Committee has things to add to strategic plan –

Access to Benefits: Discussed work first and food stamps. People who are working are not able to use their actual work as a work activity for their food stamps. (If you are working 29 hours/week, that doesn’t meet a certain threshold so to get your food stamps you are required to do community service which becomes a real barrier for folks that are working.) Suggestion to count financial education as a work activity. Discussed the number of case managers that actually touch a case. People have CMs in different departments. The idea of creating a pilot for navigators who would be THE CM and would work through all the different departments these clients interface with. Transportation to and from meetings and administrative time spent with CM should all count as work activities as well. You can’t be working at your job when you’re keeping up with all the required activities. Another possible pilot to move toward a workforce model where the client does their own IRC – individual responsibility contract (currently happens with refugees) Working to level out the cliff effect. How can this work better for people so it doesn’t all go away at once. Last thing, MSR – monthly status report (should be gone but CBMS is still kicking them out) (Boyd to look at a bill for the entirety)

Metrics – Discussed poverty impact statement.

Workforce Readiness: Clearing house and sharing of resource. Map out where resources are. Eliminate duplications between TANF and workforce investment act, setting goals. Discussed CCCAP, TANF, work activities. Merging of resources and focus.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The reading room returns!

It's been quite a while since I've posted some reading material, but I am back and ready to inundate you with articles dealing with issues around poverty that have caught my eye over the past few days. My selection includes 2 dealing with national level data, one with a Mississippi specific case and finally an article from today's Denver Post about the rising numbers of those without health insurance as it illustrates the connection between low salaries and lack of health insurance.

Extreme poverty at record levels with supportive statistics:

The generational divide in foreclosures, Gen X hit much harder than the Baby Boomers:

'Stealing' food stamps with restitution nets a longer prison sentence than multi million dollar mortgage fraud in Mississippi:

A 22% rise in uninsured Coloradans over the past 2 years (hint - they can't afford it on their low salaries! Big news for some, old news for us):

I will be more active in posting supplementary reading material related to our work here and encourage you to do the same. Have you found an article that hits home? Link to it in the comments so we can read it too!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Winning for Activism

For everyone that wasn't able to attend the launch of the Self Sufficiency Standard hosted by the Our Center last month, a wonderful activism competition was announced. Join in on the fun!

It's this simple: Just keep a list of the activities you take part in in the spirit of change and give yourself some points. Each activity is around 5-10 points.

Did you vote in the November election? Give yourself 10.
Did you write a letter to a legislator? Another 10.

We will provide some activity ideas here and encourage you to do the same. We will tally up and announce the winner at Poverty Day 2012.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Making Ends Meet in Colorado

by: Public News Service

"The federal government says the national poverty rate is just above 12 percent, which translates into an income of less than $15,000 for a family of two. But Tracey Stewart, manager of the center’s Family Economic Security Program, who worked on the new report, says a family of two in Colorado would need to make at least twice that - and often much more - to afford basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November Meeting Details

This month the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force will be meeting

on November 17th
from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
at the Capitol
Senate Committee Room 354

Presentation by SkillBuild Colorado on COLORADO’S FORGOTTEN MIDDLE-SKILL JOBS

Defining Family Financial Stability

Review access to postsecondary education by low-income women.

Review of the 2011 Self-Sufficiency Standard Report

Review of the Supplemental Poverty Measure Numbers

Review of the Half in Ten Campaign Poverty Reduction Indicators

Workgroup Breakout Sessions

Workgroup Report Back

Next Steps, Next Meeting

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Next EOPR Task Force Meeting Thursday November 17, 1:30-3:30. Location TBA.

Hickenlooper Submits State Budget Request

"Though the overall budget is increasing, it reflects reductions both large and small across most State departments, including significant reductions to K-12 and higher education. In total, the state’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting identified $679 million that could not be financed under currently available resources."

The proposed budget includes five key priorities:

  • Protect the Vulnerable.
  • Economic Development.
  • Education Reform.
  • Modernizing Government.
  • Long-term Budget Planning.

Read a quick summary here:

Half in Ten releases "Restoring Shared Prosperity"

The Half in Ten Campaign released their new report "Restoring Shared Prosperity" last week with new data.

Click here to download the full report:

Click here to get Colorado specific data with measures for improvement: