Monday, February 19, 2024

HUD’s ‘largest ever’ grant expands homelessness programming across U.S.: Pennsylvania and New Jersey receive millions

From WHYY in Philadelphia

More federal money is trickling down to the region, thanks to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s latest round of grants.

HUD awarded $3.16 billion to support more than 7,000 projects and community efforts focused on curbing homelessness in the U.S. In a release, officials said bolstering programs is important as homelessness rates have continued to increase since 2017.

The total is HUD’s largest-ever expansion of program funding through its Continuum of Care Program competition, “designed to promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness.” See the whole story here.

At Least 100,000 More Kids Could Be Eligible for SSI Payments, Study Finds

From Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Children’s participation in the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program has declined substantially over the past decade.  Many children with disabilities might be eligible for SSI, yet barriers such as a lack of knowledge of the program or perceived challenges with applying may limit participation.  In a new paper, David Wittenburg, a senior fellow at Mathematica, and Michael Levere, an assistant professor of economics at Colgate University and a senior researcher at Mathematica, use machine learning models on Medicaid administrative data to estimate that as many as 650,000 kids could be eligible but are not receiving SSI payments. Wittenburg and Levere spoke to Spotlight recently about the study; See transcript here. It transcript has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Monday, October 30, 2023

RESEARCH Post-pandemic poverty is rising in America’s suburbs

From Brookings

This is the time of year when the U.S. Census Bureau publishes its latest data on poverty in the United States, and headlines are presenting a mixed picture. One set of survey results found that the overall number of people living in poverty in 2022 was relatively unchanged from the last two years. In contrast, another survey found that America’s child poverty rate doubled between 2021 and 2022, largely due to the post-pandemic expiration of an expanded child tax credit. The divergent results reflect the fact that the Census Bureau measures poverty in more than one way.

Neither of these results, however, sheds much light on where poverty is rising, falling, or staying the same, and who is most affected. Read the complete story here

Friday, October 6, 2023

Some States Are Fighting Rising Child Poverty With Tax Credits

From Capital and Main, California

One of the highlights of the American Rescue Plan Act was the federal Child Tax Credit, or CTC, that lifted 3 million children out of poverty. It led to a historic low in the child poverty rate in the second half of 2021, with parents saying that they used the credit payments on rent, child care, utilities, food and school expenses. The credits were effective because they reached the people they needed to target — more than two-thirds of very-low-income families received monthly CTC payments, according to a survey by University of Michigan researchers.

But Congress allowed the credit to expire at the end of 2021, and the child poverty rate more than doubled in 2022, completely reversing any progress, according to recent U.S. Census Bureau data. Read the whole story here

Thursday, September 21, 2023

What to Know About the Expiration of Federal Emergency Childcare Funding

The emergency childcare funding Congress allocated during the pandemic is set to expire at the end of the month, raising concerns for the millions of families and childcare providers who relied on it over the last two years.

The funding, part of the American Rescue Plan Act that congressional Democrats passed in 2021, included $24 billion in childcare stabilization grants, offering a financial reprieve to providers grappling with the multifaceted challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds were used by childcare providers to improve workers' compensation, cover expenses such as rent, mortgages, and utilities, and purchase personal protective equipment and supplies. See the whole story here:

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Measuring Poverty: The New Census Estimates and the Future of Poverty Measurement

If you're interested, you can sign up for the American Enterprise Institute meeting on Measuring Poverty, The New Census Estimates and the Future of Poverty Measurements,

Tuesday, September 12, 11:30 - 1:45 p.m. in person on online. See link for registration

More Data Needed to Help Reduce Benefit Participation Gaps

 From Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

While the Earned Income Tax Credit and traditional Child Tax Credit lifted 10.6 million people above the poverty line (including 5.5 million children) and made 17.5 million people less poor (including 6.4 million children) in 2018, millions of eligible people—primarily those with very low incomes falling below the required federal tax filing threshold, or “non-filers”—are not receiving the benefits. To help devise strategies to reduce those gaps, a new paper from the NYU Law Tax Law Center calls for greater transparency and data collection by the Internal Revenue Service to develop a better sense of who uses the tax credits and who doesn’t. Co-author Kathleen Bryant spoke with Spotlight recently about the paper; the transcript of that conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Read the interview summary here.