U.S. Poverty Weekly Update March 29, 2016

"The day of the [grocery] store closing, my heart sunk in. How are these people going to get to the store?"

– RESULTS Expert on Poverty Maxine Thomas highlighted in a TV story last week about “food deserts” in Indianapolis

In This Week’s Update:


Quick Action: Build on Recent Tax Victory – Urge Congress to Expand the EITC and Child Tax Credit

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? Everyone’s Home so Get on Up and Attend a Local Town Hall

Both representatives and senators are now back home. Congress will try finalize a budget in April, making this your last time to weigh in with them in person about what priorities you want them to put in the budget. As we’ve been discussing the last few months, it would be nice for Congress to stop taxing workers into poverty by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for workers without children. In addition, with possible SNAP cuts in the works, lawmakers need to know that not everyone is obsessed with what the next Congress will do – there are plenty of people who care about what this Congress is doing (or not doing).

Talking to your members of Congress and their staff can also have exciting and unintended consequences. RESULTS Expert on Poverty and RESULTS Indianapolis volunteer Maxine Thomas recently traveled to Washington, DC to speak at the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference. She also lobbied her congressional offices while there. After she returned home, her congressman, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN-7), contacted her and asked her to speak at a press conference he was holding to highlight the lack of access to food in low-income areas of Indianapolis (so called “food deserts”). Maxine spoke about her experience when her local grocery store closed and her efforts to help those who could not travel across town to buy food. Rep. Carson has introduced legislation to help reduce the number of food deserts in the U.S. If Maxine had not been making her voice heard on these issues to her members of Congress, she would not have gotten the opportunity to draw attention to an important poverty issue in her community. Congratulations, Maxine! Now let’s follow in her footsteps.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to contact your House and Senate schedulers about town halls they may be holding this week. Also check their websites for a calendar of events. You can find scheduler names, contact info, and website addresses on our Elected Officials page and a sample meeting request on our website. Start by asking for a sit-down meeting with your members of Congress for this or another upcoming recess and if they are booked up, ask about town halls. If you get a meeting or plan to attend a town hall, here’s what to do next:

  1. Contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to set up a lobby prep call to help you get ready for your meeting. Meredith will coach you on what to expect and what to say to your members of Congress.
  2. Read and print out of 2016 Lobby Meeting Request Sheets (bottom of box at right on our U.S. Poverty Campaigns page). Take them with you to your meeting or event to give to congressional staff.
  3. Write down this website: www.tinyurl.com/RESLRF. This is the RESULTS Lobby Report Form. After any meeting or encounter you have, please fill this out to let us know how it went.

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Got Ten Minutes? Urge Young People You Know to Apply for REAL Change

We want your help in creating the next generation of young leaders. The RESULTS REAL Change Fellowship has been one of our proudest and most exciting projects in the last decade. If you’re not familiar with it, REAL Change is a year-long fellowship designed to engage and train young people (ages 18-30) to become leaders in the work to end poverty in the U.S. and around the world. Fellows attend the RESULTS International Conference (with most of their expenses covered), get in-depth issue and advocacy training, and lobby with other RESULTS volunteers on Capitol Hill. They then take what they’ve learn back home to engage others in their community in RESULTS’ anti-poverty work. Fellows receive ongoing support throughout the year through regular training calls and one-on-one coaching from staff.

We are now actively recruiting potential Fellows for our 2016-17 class. And we could use your help. If you know young people in your community or in other areas of the country who want to make a difference in the world, please invite them to apply for REAL Change. Remember, REAL Change is a great way to build your group; we’ve had many Fellows join existing RESULTS groups and make them even better. We’ve also had Fellow start new groups, expanding our network into new areas. Help us keep the success of REAL Change going – urge people you know to apply today.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to contact young people you know to invite them to apply for the REAL Change Fellowship. In particular, we’d love to see applications from people in NC, GA, MS, AL, WV, AR, OR, ID, WI, AZ, and SD (places where we are targeting for new advocates). If you know anyone in these areas or anywhere else who would make a good Fellow, urge them to apply. People can go to http://www.results.org/realchange to read more about the program. This page also includes a downloadable flyer about REAL Change and link to the online application. If you have questions, please contact Carly Pildis at [email protected].

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Got Twenty Minutes? Submit Your Letters about the EITC for Childless Workers (March Action)

While this month provides a great opportunity for you to talk with your members of Congress in person, it’s important to remember that your advocacy works best when you use multiple modes of communication with them. That’s why, in addition to meetings this month, we urge you to write letters to your members of Congress about expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for workers without children. Expanding this portion of the EITC in a way President Obama and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have endorsed would benefit of 13 million people and lift 500,000 workers out of poverty. That goal is certainly worth twenty minutes of writing letters to your members of Congress.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to write letters to your House and Senate members urging them to stop taxing workers into poverty. All you need to write a powerful letter is our March Action, which includes talking points and a link to find fax numbers or addresses for your letters (if you are attending a meeting or town hall with a member of Congress this month, hand-deliver your letter to him/her). You can also find local data for your letters in the updated EITC state fact sheets from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Once you’ve submitted your letters, assign someone from your group to follow up with your House and Senate tax aides to find out their boss’ position on the issue and if and when they will take action on it.

Note: For April, get your media skills loosened up as we will push for editorials and op-eds urging Congress to protect important programs that reduce poverty.

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Quick News

Register for the RESULTS International Conference! We’re less than three months away from our biggest event of the year. Please join hundreds of advocates from around the world for the RESULTS International Conference, June 25-28 in Washington, DC. Register at www.resultsconference.org today!

Join RESULTS Advocacy 101 Training this Thursday at 2pm ET. The most effective strategy to influence policymakers is face-to-face visits between local constituents and members of Congress. This training will give you the basics on how to secure an in-district lobby meeting and make the meeting a success. You’ll also hear about resources to help you prepare for meetings and what to do afterward. The webinar is this Thursday, March 31 at 2:00 pm ET. To join the webinar online, go to: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/f2988286/31404402. To join by phone, dial (201) 479-4595, meeting ID 31404402#.

Some SNAP Participants to Start Losing Benefits. Food banks and shelters around the country are bracing for an influx of requests for their help from people living with hunger. Next month will see the first round of adults who are considered Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) will be dropped from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). Under federal law, ADAWDs may only receive benefits for three months out of every three years. However, states can apply for waivers from this requirement when jobs are scarce, as they did after the Great Recession. Now a number of states are choosing not to renew their waivers, which could result in one million ABAWDs losing benefits in the next few months. For more information on this issue, see our new RESULTS Blog post. We want to closely consider how the ABAWD time limits could affect the rest of the safety net for people living in poverty because the extra strain could be a sign of what is to come if more budget cuts are rolled out. Make your voice heard by using the RESULTS letter to the editor to tell your own story, and why you think the SNAP program matters! You can also amplify your message by using the Coalition on Human Needs' House Budget Social Media Toolkit

Call for RESULTS Grassroots Board Nominations. We are pleased to announce that the RESULTS & RESULTS Educational Fund Grassroots Board Member election will be held this summer. One seat will be filled in July. Grassroots Board Members play a vital role in the RESULTS family, representing our volunteer network on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Boards of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund. We are seeking nominations of RESULTS activists who would be strong candidates for this role. We encourage participation from any active RESULTS volunteer including those from diverse populations including young adults and racial and ethnic minorities. Eligible candidates to be a Grassroots Board Member must have at least one year active experience as a RESULTS volunteer in the United States. Nominations of candidates for the open Grassroots Board Member position must reach the RESULTS office by Monday, May 2. Candidates can nominate themselves or be nominated by any active RESULTS grassroots member. Please e-mail your nomination to [email protected].

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Upcoming Events

Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of RESULTS events. Also, find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.

Congressional Recesses: House: March 24 – April 11. Senate: March 21 – April 1. Request face-to-face meetings.

RESULTS Advocacy 101 Training, March 31 at 2:00 pm ET. To join this advocacy training, go to: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/f2988286/31404402. To join by phone, dial (201) 479-4595, meeting ID 31404402#.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar, April 9 at 12:30 pm ET. Join the meeting online at http://fuze.me/32255914; or by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32255914#. Listen to previous webinars on our National Webinars page.

RESULTS Introductory Call, April 13, at 9:00 pm ET. If you want to learn more about RESULTS, register for an upcoming Intro Call on the RESULTS website.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, April 21 at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET. Join online at http://fuze.me/32256018 or by phone at: (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32256018#.

2016 RESULTS International Conference, June 25-28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Register now at www.resultsconference.org!

If you have a question, comment or suggestion for the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board, please e-mail them to RESULTS Grassroots Board Member Lydia Pendley at [email protected]. You can download RESULTS’ most recent Annual Report at: http://www.results.org/about/annual_report/.

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