United Way of Pennsylvania          


UWP Update - August 2, 2019
DHS Secretary Miller Thanks PA 2-1-1 for Partnership on Response to GA Elimination

On Tuesday, July 30, DHS Secretary Teresa Miller joined a call with UWP members and partners to brief communities on the impacts of the elimination of the General Assistance cash program. She thanked United Way of Pennsylvania and 
PA  2-1-1 for partnering with DHS to provide a place where impacted people can turn if they need resources. 

Although there is no direct replacement for the roughly $200 in cash the GA program provided monthly to approximately 12,000 Pennsylvanians, there may be community resources that can help with basic needs such as food or housing. DHS is promoting PA 2-1-1 as the access point for statewide help if people don't know where else to turn. Many GA recipients have relationships with the social service system, and they will connect to help through those programs, or Community Action Agency relationships. Former GA recipients will remain eligible for Medicaid and SNAP if they were previously eligible, and DHS can conduct eligibility reviews to see if their SNAP benefit will increase as a result of the loss of GA.

GA cash is most often used to pay for things the SNAP doesn't purchase, such as toilet paper, household cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, or pet food. GA recipients also report using the funds to help pay for prescriptions, utilities, or pay someone whose house they may be staying in. 

The elimination of GA took effect August 1. Although recipients were notified by mail, many have not received that notice because they are transient or otherwise not receiving postal mail on a regular basis. There is also a lack of understanding among recipients about whether they are impacted. Many won't realize what's happening until they don't receive their payment. Further, the TANF cash assistance population also may be confused about which program they receive. TANF cash assistance is for pregnant women, dependent children and their parent(s) or other relatives who live with them and care for them. 

Community partners are urged to help distribute accurate information, and also to connect with PA 2-1-1 if they have a  resource available to support the GA population. This can be done by filling out a Google form. DHS has also distributed a memo which explains where impacted Pennsylvanians live, by county. To receive a copy of that information, email your request to  Kristen

Proposed SNAP Rule Change Would Impact 200,000 Current Recipients

Recently, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture proposed a new rule which makes changes to SNAP's Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE). The BBCE is a policy that Pennsylvania, as well as 42 other states, have implemented, which automatically makes families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) categorically eligible for SNAP. This policy has historical context, dating back to the Clinton Administration.

Both Governor Wolf and the PA Dept. of Human Services commented on the proposed rule and the impact it will have in Pennsylvania. Governor Wolf stated 1.7 million Pennsylvanians rely on SNAP, and eliminating the BBCE would potentially impact 200,000 of SNAP's current recipients, thus impacting over 120,000 households. Further, DHS noted that the BBCE gives states flexibility to determine thresholds for SNAP benefits based on factors that vary by geographical area, such as cost of living and the availability of affordable housing. 

UWP is committed to protecting SNAP in Pennsylvania, and will work with UWW on recommendations to offer comments on the proposed rule. Currently, UWW is reviewing the proposal and its impacts. They will be sharing a template for comments once that analysis is finalized. Maggie will share that with the network when it is available, as well as UWP's comments. Please contact her, should you have further questions.

Parole Officers Learning About PA 2-1-1 at DoC/ DHS/ DoE Regional Trainings 

UWP staff have begun connecting with parole officers to inform them of PA 2-1-1 as a resource to help re-entrants, through state government-hosted events. The Department of Corrections, Department of Human Services, and Department of Education are partnering on a first-of-its-kind regional training to provide parole officers with early learning and family support resources. The first training happened in Harrisburg on July 25, with two more scheduled in Slippery Rock and Philadelphia during the month of August. 

Through the course of the training, prison and community corrections counselors, social workers, county probation officers, and unit managers learned about resources that benefit parents and their young children. These include 
PA 2-1-1 and the Early Learning Resource Centers, as well as some basics on the Child Care Works program, Head Start, and Early Head Start. 

You can read a joint agency press release about the training here

UWP Continues ALICE® Outreach

Since our launch, UWP has been working hard to amplify the ALICE data and find ways to collaborate with various organizations interested in the Report and/or policy related to the population. 

We are excited to be working with leadership from the PA Chamber of Business and Industry to collaborate on workforce development issues, and find a space at the table for United Ways to address barriers to employment affecting a large portion of our state. We are planning to convene regular 
check-ins to share information and find areas where we can work together on removing barriers to employment.

The PA Head Start Association had their program directors in Harrisburg recently for their annual conference, and UWP was able to make a presentation on ALICE. The audience was very interested in the rising costs of child care and household budgets across various geographies, and were impressed with the level of detail available in the data. Further, they have shared our ALICE Report with other state associations and alerted them to the national movement happening to bring ALICE to every state. 

Just this week, Kristen and Maggie presented the ALICE Report to the Pennsylvania Utility Commission, which included staff from three Commissioners' offices, the Bureau of Consumer Services, and the Law Bureau. The Commission is reviewing eligibility for their low-income utility assistance programs, and wanted some more information on how the ALICE data can help them better understand the basic cost of living in every county. They encouraged UWP to watch out for opportunities to comment on regulatory issues which can be informed by the ALICE data. 

We have some upcoming projects with the Early Learning Investment Commission and DHS, namely, supplemental reports based on the ALICE data. We will continue to keep members apprised of our outreach efforts. We are also promoting the role local that United Ways are playing in leading ALICE in their communities, and will share further information as we are able to make more connections.

Coming Soon - More ALICE® Social Media Materials! 

For our ALICE-participating members, we will be making more social media materials available to you very soon! Do you remember that ALC survey we sent out recently? Well, for those of you who respond "Yes," to "Do you use Canva?" by Aug. 9, we will be providing you with links to new, editable Canva designs. Every ALICE graphic that UWP has posted on social media will be accessible, and you can add your own logos, text, or change the images in any way you like. (Within Brand Standards, of course!)

Remember: Canva is free. It's easy to use. Even if you don't currently use Canva, you can answer "Yes" on the survey, get the links, create an account, and see what happens. We don't mind if you dupe us.

We are also in the process of preparing an extensive ALICE social media video kit! These videos are short in length, professionally-made, high-quality, and hone in on impactful subject matter, so they're worth the wait! Stay tuned for more details.  

Keep posting, and keep creating!

Save the Date for UWP's Annual Conference - June 3-5, 2020!

United Way of Pennsylvania's annual conference will be held June 3rd-5th, 2020. We're pleased to be bringing the event to Lancaster County this year due to popular demand.

We are excited to be hosting our event at the Eden Resort & Suites. Eden Resort & Suites is located just minutes from downtown Lancaster. The Eden offers beautiful guest rooms, outdoor and indoor pools, and a full recreation area.

If you have any requests for conference speakers or sessions, please reach out to Amanda McNaughton via email or at (717) 238-7365 x 206. 
Welcome, New CCUW Executive Director, Wendy Vinhage! 

Wendy Vinhage began her role as the executive director of The Centre County United Way on July 25. She previously served as the executive director of Interfaith Human Services, a Centre County United Way partner agency that focused on strengthening low-income families to move them toward financial stability. She also serves on the board of directors for the State College Downtown Rotary Club and SPE Federal Credit Union in State College.
The Centre County United Way's mission is to improve lives by prioritizing needs and mobilizing human and financial resources to positively impact the education, financial stability, and physical and emotional health of individuals in Centre County.

You can reach out to Wendy by email or call the office at 814-238-8283. 
ALICE® Learning Community Training Needs Survey & New Quick Reference Guide Available!

We're asking all ALICE United Way staff and volunteers to please complete a short survey asking some questions to give us a better idea of what you need from UWP to support ALICE in your community! You can find the survey here. Please give us your feedback by August 9th!

We're also thrilled to offer you a new template for your United Way! We designed an ALICE Quick Reference Guide - a 16-page booklet that highlights the ALICE Report. We've made a local UW version of the Quick Reference Guide, as well as a state version, for your use. The local document will allow you to highlight your partnerships, your data, and your programs. To see the template, please go to the Marketing Section of the ALICE Learning Community or use the links below:
UWW Job Description
Database and Upcoming Webinars

In case you missed it, United Way Worldwide launched an exciting new database for United Ways this month! If you've ever been in the middle of writing a job description and wondered what other, similar positions look like, you now have a place to go for examples! UWW's Job Description Samples can help you write the perfect job description for your open position!

UWW Brand Standards & Guidelines; 211 Brand Refresh
Wednesday, August 7th 2:00pm
For the August Marketing / Communications Webinar, UWW will focus on our revised Brand Standards & Guidelines (which includes digital guidance) and the 211 Brand Refresh (released broadly at the end of May / beginning of June).

Open Doors: Create a Healthy School Climate
Thursday, August 8th 2:00pm
Imagine a place where you can't wait to go every day - where you feel safe, connected, supported and excited about learning. What does it take for schools in your community to be like this? Join UWW for the third webinar of the 2019 Attendance Awareness Campaign, where our speakers will share school-wide strategies to create an engaging, healthy, school climate that supports everyone in the school building.
Drivers of Mergers
Thursday, August 22nd 3:00pm
Increasingly, United Ways are looking at collaborations and mergers to increase their capacity. More specifically, mergers have been identified as a way to respond to donors' needs, to provide compelling experiences, and to create change in the community. In this webinar, we'll look at the drivers behind mergers that helped United Ways start the conversation, as well as provide a walk-through of what to expect when launching a merger discussion.

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