Everyone deserves to live in a safe, healthy, prosperous community. Do you agree?
How about every child deserves the opportunity to grow up to become a productive, prosperous member of that community?
Regardless of the foundation of your beliefs, most of us agree with one or both of those statements. Impact NW believes they’re mutually dependent. That’s why we’re going to be more active in creating a dialogue about public policies – including budgets – and what they do or don’t do to achieve those goals.
We’ll spend the next few months inviting dialogue about these issues. Because we’ve just opened the 2013 Oregon legislative session, we’ll be watching and commenting on Oregon legislative issues, including:
Protecting the existing policies that keep vulnerable people from falling into poverty: Programs such as Social Security, Unemployment, Workforce Training Programs, Earned Income Tax Credit, Employment Related Day Care, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP): they all keep people from falling into despairing poverty. With 23.6% of Oregonians living in poverty (2011) these programs are more vital than ever. In 2012 Impact NW’s tax program for low-income individuals and families prepared 220 returns totaling $237,399 with an average tax refund of $1,300. The average income of those served was just under $23,000 – those tax refunds refunds went a very long way.
Expanding programs that assure children succeed in school and in life: Programs such as Healthy Start, Head Start, Early Head Start, Oregon Pre-Kindergarten, higher quality in-home care provider support, before and after school supports, home based parent-child supports and domestic violence prevention and intervention programs, assuring that all programs are held to high standards and have proven outcomes; reducing the number of children in foster care and supporting children as they age out of foster care into independent living.
Expanding programs that keep our neighbors and family members who are aging or living with disabilities safely in their homes and in our communities: Programs like the Senior Property Tax Deferral Program, Temporary Disability Benefits for those awaiting the lengthy social security disability decision, expanding Oregon Project Independence to meet the needs of those on long waiting lists, and expanding services for those living with mental illness, dementia, brain injury and recovering from substance abuse. Click here to read a very powerful letter from SESAC (S.E. District Senior Advisory Council) Member Darvel Lloyd to Mayor Charlie Hales about current budget cut proposals and how those cuts affect these vital programs.
Assuring all Oregonians have access to safe, affordable housing: Restore Emergency Housing Account and State Homeless Assistance Program; provide returning Veterans the pathway back to a productive life in our communities, starting with supportive housing for people returning with disabilities or injuries, to rental assistance to help prevent or end homelessness to assistance in buying their first home; provide adequate access to emergency assistance through the Oregon Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Fund; Preserve existing affordable housing inventory; remove barriers for tenants with Section 8 vouchers to renting homes in all their preferred communities; and continue building a system to restore Oregon’s housing market and prevent foreclosure. For more information about these programs, visit www.oregonhousingalliance.org. In 2011-2012, 93% of participating families in Impact NW’s Homeless Families Services program had secured permanent housing by program exit, and 85% had maintained this housing at our six-month follow up.
Redesigning Oregon’s Revenue System: Okay, so that’s a HUGE issue, and one that we’d at least like to shed some light on through dialogue. We don’t have a solution: just want to invite conversation about why we think there’s urgent need for transformation, not just tweaking. Want some food for thought? Visit www.ocpp.org.
Stay up to date on current legislative issues. Visit our ADVOCACY PAGE for more information with links to more resources from organizations we trust.
Want to join the discussion? We’ll be opening discussions on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. Whatever your opinions, we urge you to get involved and raising your voice for a stronger, safer community and prosperous future for everyone!