Archive for April 30, 2014

House Majority Policy Committee Unveils Report from Statewide Initiative on Poverty- Gant Daily

HARRISBURG – Every region of Pennsylvania struggles with the effects of poverty; from the elderly couple living on a fixed income in Pittsburgh, to the single mother in Northumberland County struggling to raise her family, to the recent college graduate paying for student loans on an entry-level salary.

With these examples in mind, the House Majority Policy Committee sought input from numerous community groups, non-profit organizations and municipal officials, and gained perspective from tours and roundtable discussions conducted across the Commonwealth, as part of the initiative, “Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty.” Chairman Dave Reed (R-Indiana) and members of the committee have issued “Beyond Poverty,” preliminary findings from the initiative.

Designed to identify the barriers low-income Pennsylvanians face when attempting to reach self-sufficiency, the report shares the best principles in positively combatting poverty in the Commonwealth. The report also narrows the focus on the committee’s legislative and policy priorities moving forward.

“Government spends nearly a trillion dollars annually on programs to fight poverty, yet there are still 1.6 million Pennsylvanians struggling to make ends meet. It’s clearly time to reassess whether President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty was a success or not,” Reed said.

Since assessments have shown that poverty isn’t contained to one type of community, the committee worked to examine it in a wide variety of locations, including inner-city neighborhoods, suburbs and also in the state’s rural areas. The hearings, roundtable discussions and tours included testimony from more than 100 stakeholders in locations that included Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, the Poconos and Clearfield County.

“Poverty in our rural areas such as Clearfield County is very different than in our urban areas of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia,” Reed said. “It shows a one-size-fits-all approach will not work in confronting this very serious problem.”

 

 

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Poverty Isn’t a Partisan Problem- Commonwealth Foundation

APRIL 29, 2014 | by ELIZABETH STELLE

Here’s a sobering fact: 13.1 percent of Pennsylvanians live in poverty despite billions spent every year on the social safety net. Simply throwing more money at the problem won’t make it go away.

 

To address poverty at its roots, Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana County) and the Majority House Policy Committee released a new report called Beyond Poverty. Unlike many reports on chronic poverty, Beyond Poverty doesn’t offer policy solutions crafted in the halls of Harrisburg. Rather, the report identifies barriers to prosperity (or poverty traps) based on feedback from the poor themselves and those who serve them.

 

Another key difference is the bi-partisan approach. On the acknowledgements page you’ll notice a variety of organizations operating on both ends of the spectrum, from the Commonwealth Foundation, to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, to county agencies.

 

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Capitolwire: House GOP says more needs to be done to combat poverty, offers some ideas

By Chris Comisac
Bureau Chief
Capitolwire

HARRISBURG (April 28) – Calling it the “closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new chapter,” House Majority Policy Committee Chairman Dave Reed, R-Indiana, on Monday announced the findings of a preliminary report about poverty in Pennsylvania.

Reed said that in 2014 “46 million Americans in poverty” of which 1.6 million are Pennsylvania residents “and spending $1 trillion annually” on anti-poverty programs “is unacceptable.”

However, instead of just assessing blame, he said the “Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty” initiative is focused on finding long-term solutions to poverty.

“To many people, the discussion on poverty in America never moves beyond the talking points of our major political parties,” Reed added. “I hope that with this initiative, we have started a conversation that moves beyond empty rhetoric and into a discussion on changes that will increase the effectiveness of our anti-poverty programs and improve lives across the Commonwealth.”

 

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Legislator Unveiling Report on PA Poverty- Pittsburgh Post Gazette

By Kate Giammarise / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau

 

HARRISBURG — A Republican state representative on a mission to learn more about poverty in Pennsylvania will unveil some of his findings today.

Rep. Dave Reed, R-Indiana County, who chairs the GOP-controlled House Majority Policy Committee, will discuss his report at a Harrisburg homeless shelter.

Mr. Reed and his staff spent months researching the project. They visited the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank in August with several other legislators and heard from anti-hunger activists who made a number of suggestions.

The report identifies 13 barriers that can trap a person in poverty, such as lack of family support, not having affordable child care, poor economic conditions, not having health care, a criminal record, lack of financial literacy skills, inadequate education, homelessness, mental health problems, hunger, substance abuse, lack of transportation, and the so-called “benefits cliff” — when a small increase in pay could cause a person to lose vital government assistance.

In Pennsylvania, some 13.1 percent of residents live in poverty, about 1.6 million people.

The preliminary report does not make explicit legislative recommendations but states Mr. Reed and the policy committee hope to focus on improving the outcomes of assistance programs and benefits that aid work, and essentials like food, shelter and education.

Mr. Reed’s announcement last year that he intended to target poverty as a problem drew sharp criticism from at least one of his fellow House Republicans, and some advocacy groups were initially skeptical of his intentions.

However, the group’s preliminary findings seem to be garnering positive reviews.
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PennLive Editorial Board, PA Can Do Better in Fight Against Poverty

 

State Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana Co.) wants Pennsylvanians to have a more intelligent conversation about effectively attacking the poverty that continues to afflict 1.6 million state residents. He’s off to a good start.

 After researching anti-poverty efforts and talking to people around the state, Reed and his House Majority Policy Committee have issued a “mid-term report.” It offers what might be called a compassionate, pragmatic conservative’s approach to fighting poverty.

Titled “Beyond Poverty,” the report seems to reflect a genuine concern that in our land of plenty, people should not go hungry or homeless. There’s none of the overt Social Darwinist victim blaming sometimes found among hardcore Tea Party partisans.

 “It is impossible to successfully combat poverty without first addressing the basic needs of life,” says the report, listing those needs as food, water, shelter and clothing. (Another one would be health care. As the report notes elsewhere, “Far too many individuals and families are living in a world where they are one health care disaster away from falling into poverty.”)

 Reed and Co. seem to think that government should make sure the door of opportunity is open, while ensuring that anti-povery efforts work and badly designed programs don’t discourage people’s effort to climb out of poverty.

 

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State House Committee issues Newest Report on Poverty in Pennsylvania- 90.5 WESA Pittsburgh NPR

By &

 

In July 2013 State Representative Dave Reed (R-Indiana) set out to travel the state and learn more about poverty as a part of what he’s called “Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty.” Ten months later, Reed has issued his preliminary report on poverty in the commonwealth.

Reed, who chairs the House Majority Policy Committee, conducted his evaluation through hearings, roundtable discussions, and tours in rural, suburban, and urban parts of the state.

Reed says that there is one common factor.

“Employment, each of these barriers was either a barrier towards somebody gaining employment and gaining self-sufficiency, or a barrier that was a result of somebody losing employment.”

According to the Department of Welfare’s website, there are 1.8 million Pennsylvanian’s receiving SNAP food benefits and 191,058 receive TANF federal cash assistance for indigent families with dependent children

According to Reed, government programs aren’t effective, even when the numbers say they are.

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