Your County Welfare to Work Plans
county has just finished updating its welfare to work employment
plan for the next two years, laying out how it plans to deal
with issues such as education, college, job creation, transitional
services, education, training, post employment services, transitional
benefits, child care, domestic violence, disabilities, transportation...
and more. You should review a copy of the plan and make suggestions
for improvements. Contact Brett Van Zandt in our Albany office
for a copy of our updated guide to these plans.
Budget Stalled - Passage Likely in May
State Legislature once again failed to pass a budget on time.
It increasingly looks like the Legislature will pass a "barebones"
budget for the second year in a row, continuing the cuts in
human service and other vital programs. This includes continuing
the $2 million cut in funding for emergency foods (i.e., HPNAP
- Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program). The
State Assembly has not been willing to advocate for any increased
revenues, such as by postponing new tax cuts for banks or
insurance companies, or enacting a small (1 to 2%) increase
in the Personal Income Tax rate for the wealthiest New Yorkers.
Action joined with SENSES and other groups to launch the Don't
TAP TANF campaign to oppose the Governor's proposal to divert
up to $800 million of the $2.3 billion surplus from the federal
TANF block grant into programs that do not directly provide
services to TANF participants. The Governor for instance wants
to divert $345 million of TANF funds to replace existing state
dollars used for the Tuition Assistance Program; these frees
up money for the governor to spend on tax cuts and more corporate
welfare. Hunger Action continues to push for passage of legislation
to allow welfare participants to attend college (A7286A) and
to expand access to basic education and training programs
Action Network Fundraising Benefit Wednesday May 8
Hunger Action Network of New York State will hold its 12th
annual A TOAST TO NEW YORK (formerly Feast for Famine), Wednesday,
May 8, 2002, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. held at the Polish Community
Center of Albany, Washington Ave. Ext. This is an evening
of feasting on the Capital Region's finest food and drink.
The honorary co-chairs of the event are Danny Donahue, President
of the Civil Service Employee's Association, and Benita Zahn
of WNYT-TV. Sponsors include Albany Public School Teachers'
Association, CSEA, Hanaford Brothers, NYS Nurses Association,
Metroland, WZMR, and Times Union. Several dozen of the area's
leading restaurants, coffeehouses, and microbreweries will
participate, include Bayou Café, Benmarl Winery, Debbie's
Kitchen, El Mariachi, Justin's, Londonderry Café, New
World Home Cooking, Palmer House Café, Shades of Green,
The Chocolate Gecko, Albany Pump Station and Ten Springs Brewery.
Tickets are $40. Volunteers are needed both for the event
and for Hunger Action Network's ongoing anti-hunger work.
Please call 434-7371 for more information.
Needed! Plant an Extra Row
Spring is here and it's time to start working in your community
garden again. Gardens can help bring peace and unity to communities,
and they provide much needed fresh produce to low- income
New Yorkers. If you are interested in starting a garden for
yourself or in conjunction with an Emergency Food Program,
please contact Hunger Action for assistance. Please consider
planting an extra row or two in your garden this spring and
donating fresh fruits and vegetables to a food pantry in your
Reform Heats Up at the National Level
Action Network has been busy promoting ending poverty as the
true goal of welfare reform for the reauthorization of the
TANF program, including: measuring the success of welfare
reform based on poverty reduction; expanding access to education
and training; restoring benefits to legal immigrants; providing
funds for job creation; strengthening transitional benefits;
counting care giving as work; and supporting domestic violence
victims. Hunger Action continues to push the legislation introduced
by Cong. Mink (HR3113). Hunger Action Network recently organized
a briefing in DC on welfare reform for New York's Congressional
delegation and staff with the help of Cong. Mike McNulty.
Hunger Action was also the only state level anti-hunger advocacy
group in the country invited to speak at the recent House
hearing on TANF reauthorization
ALERT: YOUR PHONE CALLS NEEDED!
Senator Lieberman to Say: Don't Support the Carper-Bayh Welfare
Reform Bill! He needs to hear from folks outside his state!
Sen. Lieberman is considering signing on to this bill which
is a more conservative bill then others being considered.
Call 1-877-270-5440 and ask to speak to the Chief of Staff
(or the Legislative Director) for Senator Lieberman and ask
Sen. Lieberman to agree not to co-sponsor the Carper/Bayh
welfare reform legislation.
Call your own Senators, too, and make sure they know how you
feel! If the staff says "we are working to change the
Carper/Bayh legislation to soften the 40 hour requirement
and restore benefits to immigrants" say "THAT IS
NOT GOOD ENOUGH. You should support legislation that would
increase access to education and training, fully restore benefits
to immigrants and stop welfare time limits for families who
are playing by the rules."
Food Program Sponsors Needed
can help feed kids by becoming a Summer Food Service Program
sponsor! The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) offers free
meals to children during the summer. Sponsors provide meals
and are then reimbursed by the federal government. The program
is a great resource of nutritious food for all children. However,
there are many eligible children who are not benefitting from
the program. In New York, there is an immense need for this
program and with your support, we can reach more children.
Become a Site Sponsor! Schools, youth and recreation centers,
community organizations, non-profits, and camps can become
a site sponsor. Your agency may be eligible to become a sponsor.
Please contact Sheila or Susannah at Hunger Action to receive
more information about the program.
Roots and Responses Conference, Albany June 18
Action will be cosponsoring a statewide conference on hunger
and poverty at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in
Albany on June 18th, 2002. Dr. Larry Brown of the Brandeis
Center on Hunger is the keynote speaker. The goal of the conference
is to bring together anti-hunger advocates, service providers
and customers/consumers from across New York State to share
information and to learn about existing programs and important
upcoming legislative items. Conference participants will attend
valuable workshops on programmatic issues such as child nutrition,
food stamps, TANF, and model programs, and get to know each
other while receiving valuable training. Hunger Action is
joining SENSES, Nutrition Consortium, City Harvest, CFRC,
and NYCCAH to host the conference. Please contact Hunger Action
Build Food Security By Starting a Seed and Seedling Distribution
organizations are in a good position to reach out to low-income
New Yorkers, and starting a Seed and Seedling Distribution
Program can be a way for you to help New Yorkers develop sustainable
and secure sources of food. Through the program, you can distribute
vegetable seeds to individuals so that they can start a backyard
garden or grow food in a container. The Hunger Action Network
has developed a free Seed & Seedling Distribution guide
that explains in detail how to start the program. To help
you get started, Hunger Action can provide you with a list
of plant outlets in your area that are willing to donate seeds.
We may also be able to provide you with some seeds and basic
plant care instructions as well. Contact the Hunger Action
Network at (518) 434-7371 or (212) 741-8192 to get involved.
Finishing Up Action on Food Stamps
houses of Congress have finished worked on their versions
of the Farm Bill and it has now gone to a joint conference
to resolve the differences. No one from NY is on the joint
conference. FRAC is urging House/Senate Farm Bill Conferees
to support a strong nutrition title and the broadest possible
legal immigrant restorations. They are also seeking to maintain
the $6.4 billion in new ten year funding for the nutrition
title, including to support the
amelioration of the harsh time limits on jobless, childless
message: The Food Stamp Program is a critically important
program that needs considerable strengthening. The elements
of that strengthening are pending in the Farm Bill conference,
particularly in the Senate bill's nutrition title. That is
why we urge you to include a very strong nutrition title in
the final conference report of the 2002 Farm Bill, adopting
the Senate approved level of funding for the Food Stamp Program.
Support the provisions in the Senate bill that provide food
stamp benefits to legal immigrant children, legal immigrants
who have been in the United States for more than five years,
and other groups of vulnerable legal immigrants. Support other
eligibility and benefit improvements in the Senate bill for
vulnerable populations, especially: the option to provide
six month transitional benefits for those leaving cash assistance
for work; scaling the standard deduction to family size and
having it keep pace with inflation; raising and phasing out
the shelter deduction cap; and relaxing harsh time limits
for jobless, childless adults willing to work.
IMMIGRATION LAW CENTER Alert: VOTE ON IMMIGRANT RESTORATIONS
House of Representatives has scheduled a make-or-break vote
this Tuesday that will go a long way towards deciding the
fate of immigrant food stamps restorations this year, and
that may affect the politics of immigrant benefits restorations
for many years to come.
vote will occur on a motion by Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) that would
instruct the House Farm Bill conferees to support provisions
of the Senate bill that would restore food stamps access to
lawfully present immigrant children, refugees, persons with
disabilities, and legal permanent residents credited with
16 quarters of work in the U.S.
Rep. Baca's motion is not binding, its passage would send
a powerful message to the White House, House and Senate leadership,
and to Farm Bill conferees who continue to negotiate the terms
of the Farm Bill. Defeat would send an equally strong negative
message. We expect that most Democrats will vote in favor
of the motion. If it is to pass, at least 20 Republicans must
vote in favor.
ALERT: YOUR PHONE CALLS NEEDED!
contact your Representative (even if you do not know who your
Representative is, you can find out by calling the Capitol
Switchboard at 202-225-3121; they will connect you directly
to the office)
him or her to vote YES on the Baca motion; to restore food
stamps to lawfully present immigrants. Remind him or her that
immigrants pay the same taxes as everyone else, and it's only
fair for them to have fair access to basic nutrition programs
paid for by those taxes. Here are some key NYS Congressional
Sherwood L. Boehlert (R-NY)
Jack Quinn (R-NY)
Benjamin A. Gilman (R-NY)
John Sweeney (R-NY)
Saratoga Springs/Glens Falls/Hudson
Peter T. King (R-NY)
James T. Walsh (R-NY)
Sue, W. Kelly (R-NY)