U.S. Poverty Weekly Update January 21, 2014

With one in five American children hungry and prolonged unemployment for millions of our citizens, we must support those programs that are working and fight the War on Poverty as long as it takes until all Americans have their basic needs met.

— RESULTS Seattle volunteer Melessa Rogers in a January 20 letter to the editor in the Seattle Times

New and Urgent in This Week's Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Call your House and Senate Schedulers about Meetings and Town Halls

Congress is on recess this week. The Farm Bill and the future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) are still up in the air \. Some don’t expect it to get done u early February. With Congress home this week, this gives you one last chance to voice your thoughts in person on Congress’ plan to cut SNAP in the Farm Bill. Make the most of this opportunity by setting up meetings or attending town halls during this recess.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to call or e-mail the schedulers for your members of Congress to set up face-to-face meetings and attend town halls during this week’s recess. You can also check congressional websites for local events. You can find aide names, contact info, and website links on our Elected Officials page. Be sure to put in requests for all the representatives your group covers and both senators in your state. Once you confirm a lobby meeting, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for help you with coaching, materials, and tailored requests for your members of Congress. Both the January Action and the December Action have information to help you with your requests. For town halls, here is a sample question you can ask:

Sen./Rep. ____________________, thank you for your time today. I am very concerned that Congress is planning to cut SNAP (food stamps) by over $8 billion. SNAP is our first line of defense against hunger. Nearly 50 million Americans, most of them children, rely on SNAP to put food on the table each month. These are hard-working families who just need a little help until things get better. Yet the proposed cut would reduce benefits for 850,000 households by an average of $90 per month. For many families, this could be a week’s worth of food. I know we need to stabilize our national debt but this is not the way to do it. Sen./Rep. ______________________, will you talk to Senate/House leadership and tell them you oppose cuts to SNAP and work to restore these cuts in the Farm Bill?

You can always find questions for town halls on our U.S. Poverty Town Hall Questions page.


Got Ten Minutes? Call Agriculture Aides about Protecting SNAP

Meeting with members of Congress face-to-face is our first priority this week. However, it is also important to weigh in with their staff about protecting SNAP. Aides are the gatekeepers of information and members of Congress rely on them to keep track of all the requests coming into their office (plus, if you can’t get a meeting or attend a town hall this week, the aide is the next best thing). It has been your advocacy that has protecting SNAP from the devastating cuts and policy changes that were proposed by the House. As Congress works to finish the Farm Bill, help ensure that hungry families are protected.

Negotiators are still haggling over the details of the Farm Bill. The sticking point seems to concern dairy subsidies. If and when that is resolved, we expect the Farm Bill Conference Committee to meet in person when they return to Washington. During that meeting, some amendments may come up to deepen the cuts or enact harmful policy changes to SNAP. Not only is it important that you voice your opposition the $8.6 billion SNAP cut, you also want to make sure they don’t make things worse.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to contact agriculture aides in your Senate and House offices, urging them to protect SNAP in the final Farm Bill. Ask the aide to have their bosses tell House and Senate leadership that they oppose the proposed cuts to SNAP. They should also tell them to speak to Farm Bill negotiators about strongly opposing other harmful amendments in the Farm Bill Conference Committee. Ending hunger in America, which cannot be done without a strong and robust SNAP program, should be non-negotiable.

You can find aide names on the Elected Officials page of the RESULTS website. Also, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ SNAP Basics has a wealth of information about SNAP. Also, the slides from this month’s National Conference Call have helpful information about SNAP.


Got Twenty Minutes? Finish Your 2014 Group Planning; Join Media and Expansion Calls to Help Reach Your Goals (January Action)

Thank you to all the groups who have done their group planning this month and submitted copies of your initial plan to RESULTS. To date, we have received plans from a quarter of our groups and RESULTS Free Agents will be doing planning today. We can’t say it enough – these plans are integral to our advocacy and outreach successes. Group Planning will make you and your group more effective in your work to end poverty in America.

If your group has done Group Planning but you have not submitted your plan, please send it in today. Copies of your plans should be sent to Jos Linn at [email protected]. Submitting copies of your plan allow Regional Coordinators (staff and volunteers supporting groups) to support you in reaching your 2014 goals. Please send in your plans today!

If your group has not met this month to do Group Planning, please schedule your meeting ASAP. If you want to make it a socio-political occasion, you could schedule your meeting for next Tuesday, January 28 when President Obama gives his State of the Union speech. Make it a speech-watching-group-planning party. You can set your group’s agenda for the year while the president sets his. We also have some upcoming support calls to support groups in reaching their 2014 goals. Plan to join us:

RESULTS Media Support Call: Tonight, January 21 at 8pm ET. Join our Monthly Media Support Call to get support in meeting your media goals this year. Want to get more letters published? Looking for advice on writing an op-ed? Need help with getting an editorial published? Bring your media questions to the goal and get support from our Media Support Team. To participate, dial (267) 507-0370, passcode 4471061#. For questions about these calls, contact Ginnie Vogts at [email protected]. In addition, we will also host a

RESULTS Expansion Webinar: Monday, January 27 at 8pm ET. RESULTS has a goal of expanding into new congressional districts including 10 new U.S. poverty groups. Next Monday, staff and volunteers will host a webinar on expanding RESULTS to help groups and volunteers in their outreach. The webinar will cover best practices for starting new RESULTS groups and recruiting new activists. We hope you will join us. To participate from your computer or mobile device, copy this link into your browser: http://fuze.me/22423683. To join the audio, call (855) 346-3893, passcode 22423683#.

TAKE ACTION: Please twenty minutes to complete and send in your 2014 Group Plans. Send copies to Jos Linn at [email protected]. If your group has not met for Group Planning, please schedule a meeting in January so you can complete your Group Planning before the end of the month. You can find all our 2014 Group Planning resources on our Group Resources page, including the 2014 Individual Planning Form, the 2014 Group Planning Summary, and the 2014 Group Planning Guide. Also, please dial into the Media Support call (tonight at 8pm ET) and Outreach support call (Monday at 8pm ET) this week and next.

If you have questions about Group Planning or need help in submitting your plan, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]).


RESULTS Outreach: Join Free Agents Calls TODAY and Intro Call This Friday

The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents will meet today for their monthly support calls. On these calls, Jos Linn will be doing Group Planning with our Free Agents to help them set their our advocacy and outreach goals for the year. The calls are TODAY, January 21 at 1:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. The call-in number is (443) 453-0034, passcode 703096. Free Agents are welcomed to dial in to whichever call is most convenient. Our Free Agents are a great group of advocates and we are always looking for more. If you live in an area where there is no existing RESULTS group and you want support in being a RESULTS activist, plan to join us. Contact Jos at [email protected] for more details.

Also, our next RESULTS Introductory Call is this Friday, January 8, at 1:00 pm ET. If you or someone you know wants to learn more about RESULTS and how you can get involved, we invite you to join on of our bi-monthly Intro Calls. These 30-45 minutes calls provide an overview of RESULTS’ work and how you can join our effort to end poverty. All are welcome. To register for Friday’s call or another upcoming call, go to http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.

Finally, here are some upcoming RESULTS U.S. Poverty Outreach events. If you know people in these areas, please invite them to come.

  • RESULTS Presentation in Evansville, IN: Thursday, January 23, 6:30-8 pm at the Central Library, Browning Events Room B, 200 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Evansville, IN. Contact Myrdin Thompson at mthomps[email protected].
  • RESULTS Advocacy Training in Louisville, KY: January 27 from 5:00 – 6:30 pm at the Family Scholar House Parkland Campus, 1309 Catalpa St. in Louisville, KY. Contact Myrdin Thompson at [email protected].

Media Action: New Head Start Investment Provides Good Hook for Letters about the War on Poverty

Last week, President Obama signed into law the bi-partisan $1.1 trillion budget deal for fiscal year (FY 2014). While some programs did see cuts, Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care assistance saw meaningful increases in funding: Head Start got a $1.025 billion increase ($500 million for Early Head Start) and the Child Care Development Block Grant got a $154 million increase. These increases will go a long way at undoing the cuts Head Start and Early Head Start experienced in 2013 as a result of sequestration.

Head Start is one of the original, pioneer programs as part of the War on Poverty. This month marks the 50th Anniversary of the beginning of the War on Poverty. This reinvestment in Head Start and other early learning programs will help tens of thousands of low-income children and families continue to take advantage of these important services, and continue to build on Head Start’s five decades of success.

Use the budget deal’s investment in Head Start to push back at critics who claim the War on Poverty was a failure. Point out that Head Start helped millions of children the last 50 years and it, along with other anti-poverty programs, have earned our praise and continued support. You can also use the upcoming State of the Union speech as a hook to get a letter to the editor published about the War on Poverty. Tell readers that you hope President Obama will outline a proposal that will help us end poverty in American once and for all. Use our online LTE alert to send your letter today. For additional resources on the War on Poverty, see resources from The Shriver ReportHalf in Ten, and the Coalition on Human Needs.


Quick News

Unemployment Insurance Bill Still Stalled as Senators Take Aim at CTC. An extension of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for 1.3 million Americans remains stalled in Congress. Last week, senators were not able to overcome a Republican filibuster to move a plan forward to extend these benefits. Part of the impasse is a Republican effort to pay for a UI extension by cutting the Child Tax Credit (CTC). An amendment offered by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) would require at least one parent to have Social Security number before the family could claim the CTC. Currently, you only need an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to claim the CTC. Such a change would impact hundreds of thousands of low-income children around the U.S. Any action on a UI extension, if any, won’t take place until the end of the month. Tell Congress to extend UI benefits now. Use the Coalition on Human Needs’ UI Action Alert to send your message today.

Join Women Succeed Town Hall on January 29. Next week, there will be a national “Tele-Town Hall” to talk about the Women Succeed agenda. Speakers for the event will include House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3), and others. The event is Wednesday, January 29 at 8:30 pm ET. If you would like to participate, please e-mail Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) with your name, location, and contact information.

Join Assets & Opportunity Webinar on January 30. From the Corporation for Enterprise Development: Join CFED at noon EST on Thursday, January 30 for the launch of the 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard – the leading source of state-level data on financial security and policy solutions. During this webinar, CFED experts will discuss data on asset poverty and 65 other measures of household financial security and will share trends on 67 state policies that help families achieve financial security and climb the economic ladder. The webinar is Thursday, January 30, 2014 at Noon ET. To register for the webinar, go to https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/264110424

For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary on the RESULTS website.


Fundraising Update

Make 2014 a year for celebration! You can commemorate special moments in the lives of your loved ones with a gift to RESULTS and add to the joy of the occasion by helping people in poverty have their own milestone celebrations. The person you honor will get a note from our DC office telling them that you've made a donation in their name. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, or a completed new years resolution are all causes for celebration. So, celebrate with our cause!

If you would like to  send in your donation by mail, check with your group leaders for special Celebration envelopes that were mailed out to groups last year or contact Jerusa  Contee at [email protected] to have some delivered to you. Or, you can make your gifts at https://www.results.org/donate and select the option to make your contribution "in honor of" your special occasion.


Announcements

Give Feedback to Grassroots Board Members. The four RESULTS Grassroots Board Members (Heide Craig, Lydia Pendley, Ginnie Vogts, and Beth Wilson) would like to hear from you if you have questions or ideas about RESULTS and our work. Send your questions or suggestions to Heide at: [email protected].


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: January 20-24. Request face-to-face meetings.

Tuesday, January 21: Media Support Call, 8:00 pm ET. (267) 507-0370, passcode 4471061.

Tuesday, January 21: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, 1:00pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. (443) 453-0034, passcode 703096.

Friday, January 24: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.

Monday, January 27: Expanding RESULTS webinar, 8:00 pm ET. To join from your computer or mobile device, copy this link into your browser: http://fuze.me/22423683. To join the audio, call (201) 479-4595 or (855) 346-3893. If prompted, enter the meeting number 22423683#.

Saturday, February 8: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Saturday, June 21 - Tuesday, June 24: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. More details soon.


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1101 15th St NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:

The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via email to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our U.S. poverty campaigns.