Friday, November 18, 2011

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.

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