Network Connection
June 2019
Hello Missouri Community Action Network:
As of my writing of this letter, it’s been a mere week ago that we closed out another year’s Annual Conference. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you once again if you were able to join us in Kansas City. And, of course, much gratitude again to CAAGKC for being such a gracious host agency and sharing your time and treasures with the network! Overall, my staff and I have received a great deal of positive feedback about the event from many attendees, reconfirming my belief that 2019 was a huge success!  

Leading up to the event, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d heard so many stories about conferences past—both the good and the bad. Further, I had Brian Valentine telling me repeatedly that every year this conference is “like a family reunion” and we need to work to ensure everyone attending feels that vibe. I kept countering with, “But it’s a training conference, right?” I didn’t quite get it. Until I was there, and I got to witness all of you come together in many ways over the time we shared—from the silliness and fun with the basket skits and those great costumes, to cheering and taking pride in our accomplishments, to showing up in droves for networking with colleagues (yeah, you got a free drink and food but still, I heard a lot of great conversations that evening!). This network IS like a family, with its share of enjoyment and its times of disagreement as well. The Annual Conference is the one time a year when everything from the previous 12 months culminates into one space and we get to celebrate what we’ve done, talk about our challenges and troubles, learn new things, and set the tone for the year ahead in Missouri. So yeah, a little like a family reunion. I get it now. 

Being able to further reflect upon the events over the last several days, the excitement and inspiration I took away from the stories that were shared by three amazing women whose lives have been impacted by Community Action and from our keynote speakers has been somewhat tempered by what many of us returned to and have had to deal with since returning to our home areas. So, I’d like to end this letter in expressing my sincerest hope that this edition of Network Connection finds you refreshed from Annual Conference, but more importantly, it finds you and your loved ones safe and dry from the recent weather. Many of our CAAs' regions, and thus a great number of families, have been impacted by extreme storms, tornadoes, and flooding. Those living in the most precarious of situations to begin with are now in even greater need during these disasters, with several of our Network agencies being called upon to deliver large-scale community crisis responses. There is no greater system in place than the Missouri Community Action Network to respond; just know that here at Missouri CAN, our thoughts and offers of support go out to all of you providing relief efforts and, of course, to the people whose lives have been harmed and upended. We know with your support, they will find safety and stability. 

In Community, 
Dawna Fogarty
Executive Director, Missouri CAN
Advocacy - A voice for low-income Missourians
ACT NOW! Changes Proposed to Inflationary Measures
Used to Calculate Official Poverty Measure

The Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is seeking comments by June 21 on changing the way the federal poverty line is adjusted annually for inflation. This proposal would tie the rate of inflation that is used to adjust the poverty measure each year to one that is lower than the current method of calculation. While the change would not be very noticeable in the short-term, over time this change could reduce or eliminate key safety net assistance for millions around the country.

By gradually shrinking the poverty line, the current administration is proposing to reduce the number of people who qualify for health care, nutrition, and other critical aid. This change could affect Missourians who need Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, school meals, LIHEAP, and multiple other programs -- many of the people your agencies work with every single day.

This comment period is NOT a notice of proposed rulemaking, in which the Federal Register collects comments, reviews them in detail, and then reports back to assure the public that each comment was thoroughly reviewed. These are the types of comment periods that were open in the past year for the Community Reinvestment Act and SNAP and on which our Network provided comments.

In this case, OMB is simply asking for comments about the inflationary measures used to calculate the Official Poverty Measure (OPM). Once OMB collects comments, they may issue guidance immediately with changes to the way the OPM is calculated, without needing to report back to the public or Congress. As such, this proposed change is significantly more concerning than what we saw with SNAP or the Community Reinvestment Act.

TalkPoverty recently published an article that is helpful to understanding exactly what the administration has proposed.  Read the TalkPoverty article and learn more about the inflationary measure known as the Chained Consumer Price Index. For a deeper dive, check out the  Poverty Line Proposal FAQ compiled by the Coalition on Human Needs, along with their  Poverty Line Proposal Campaign Page .

Missouri CAN will be submitting a formal letter of comments on behalf of Missouri’s Community Action Agencies, but individual agencies are still encouraged to submit comments separately as well.  Suggested comment language has been drafted by the Coalition on Human Needs, and the National Community Action Partnership will soon be providing the full nationwide CAA network with templates. If you have any questions about this proposed change, please  contact Jessica Hoey , Missouri CAN Director of Public Affairs and Community Engagement.
2019 Legislative Session Recap

All members of Missouri Community Action Network should have received a full report earlier this week detailing the outcome of the 2019 state legislative session. If you have any questions about this report, or did not receive it,  contact Jessica Hoey .
Network Capacity - Helping you help others
That's a Wrap: 2019 Missouri CAN Annual Conference

May 21-23 marked the 2019 Missouri Community Action Network Annual Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. More than 230 Community Action professionals registered to participate in a week of training, networking, and development. The theme of this year’s conference was “Break Your Mirrors!” inspired by a speech given by Sargent Shriver, the founder of Community Action, 25 years ago. 

We welcomed two dynamic keynote speakers--Dr. Doug Luffborough III, and Mark Shriver, son of Sargent Shriver--who shared their passions and encouraged us to choose mercy and moments of kindness. The busy week was packed with 25 regular workshop slots that focused on topics from Organizational Standards and local theories of change to internal controls and language promotion. We also hosted one special session: a bus tour investigating the impact of redlining on the landscape of the city.
 
It is Missouri CAN’s hope that this year’s Annual Conference provided a space for attendees to grow in their professional development, strengthen their network of colleagues, celebrate accomplishments over the past fiscal year, and re-invest in the critical work that each one of you takes on every day. 

Missouri is strong because of the dedication of each and every one of you and your service to low-income residents in our state. We’re already planning for 2020, and we can’t wait to see you back again!
Changes to CAPS Kit License Fee Beginning July 1
As a Network member, you likely know that the Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) is one of Missouri CAN’s flagship programs. Since purchasing the copyright to CAPS in 2002, Missouri CAN has invested significant time and other resources into developing, updating, and licensing the use of CAPS. We have recently conducted a thorough review of the pricing structure for CAPS offerings, including the cost of the CAPS kit itself, or the CAPS license.
 
Due to increased manufacturing costs and to be competitive with similar products, Missouri CAN will increase the standard cost of a license for the CAPS kit from $2,150 to $2,300  effective July 1, 2019 . The standard $85 shipping fee will remain the same. Included in this new price will be a USB drive versus the current CD-ROM, which will store the re-printable materials for the Poverty Simulation.
 
If you have any questions, please contact CAPS Project Manager, Evan Melkersman, at povertysimulation@communityaction.org   or (573) 634-2969 ext. 26.
SAVE THE DATE! Poverty Simulation Facilitator Training Opportunity

October 21-22, 2019 - Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel, St. Louis, MO
It may be months from now, but be sure to mark the October CAPS Facilitator Training on your calendar as these trainings sell out quickly!

At the training, you'll experience the Community Action Poverty Simulation and learn tips and tricks to conduct a successful simulation.  Registration will open in mid-August . If you are a current employee of a Missouri Community Action Agency, there will be no cost for this training if you register before the early-bird deadline. More details to come.
Missouri CAN Capacity - Helping us help you
Jessie Morrison and OACAC: A SkillUP Success Story
On January 28, 2019 Jessie Morrison came into Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation’s Christian County Neighborhood Center to get information about the SkillUP program after hearing about the program from his wife, an employee at the local OACAC Head Start Center. 

Jessie had recently lost his job and was very interested in finding a good paying job that would allow him to continue to provide for his family. His previous work history included a variety of jobs related to driving, which he enjoys. Jessie knew he needed to get his CDL to increase his hiring potential for better pay in this line of work. 

When looking into the regulations and cost of getting a CDL, Jessie knew the cost to obtain this new credential was prohibitive for him and his family without any assistance, and he felt he would not qualify for financial assistance since he didn’t have a high school diploma or GED.  

With the help of Family Resource Specialist Yvonne Yette, Jessie discovered Truck Dynasty Driving Academy, and he liked the curriculum offered.

Jessie started classes at Truck Dynasty Driving Academy on March 4, 2019. While the class generally lasts four weeks to get the 160 driving hours, Jessie was so enthused about finishing the classes and going to work that he put in extra days and hours each week. He received his certificate on March 22, 2019 for completing his 160 driving hours and received his CDL. Jessie even stayed for the fourth week of classes to receive extra training and drive time.

As busy as Jessie was at school, he had to overcome some obstacles along the way. OACAC was able to assist Jessie with supportive services through SkillUP to overcome those obstacles. SkillUP was able to help him get his vehicle tagged and titled in his name for transportation to and from class. Child care was secured at a before-and-after school program, and SkillUP was able to help cover part of the cost.  

During his time in school, Jessie discovered that his lease was not renewed and had to move. SkillUP was able to help him with one month of rent to avoid an eviction. And while Jessie was focusing on getting training to improve his situation and get a better job, his family was left short on funds. SkillUP was able to assist with gas money for Jessie to get to and from training.  

The training site was very impressed with Jessie, and they were able to help place him with a company. Jessie is now participating in "over the road driving" and enjoying being back to work, where he works four days on and three days off. After team driving for 6 months, Jessie will be able to drive by himself and his pay will increase. His starting weekly gross pay is $1,200 with a $413 nontaxable per diem, and his take home is about $1,050. Jessie also receives full benefits and a 401K.
Want to Read More Stories Like This? We Do!
Missouri CAN is collecting stories from the 19 agencies across the state to share as part of its ongoing advocacy and storytelling efforts. Simply submit information here to share a success story from your agency. We’d love to share the impact you are making on Missourians!
Enjoy Your Summer and Save at Six Flags!

As a Missouri CAN member, you can save more than $20 on a one-day ticket, get 40% off season passes, and pay only $15 for a parking voucher!
 
Take advantage of your benefits to visit one of the Midwest’s most popular amusement parks.

Don’t miss Six Flags’ newest attraction this year: SUPERGIRL tm  Sky Flyer. Check out one of the park’s 10 roller coasters or shop in dozens of stores. 
 
To purchase your discounted tickets, simply contact Missouri CAN at (573) 634-2969. Postage and a small credit card processing fee may apply.
Save at Silver Dollar City, too!
There's no shortage of summer fun for Missouri CAN members! You can also receive discount ticket prices to Silver Dollar City. See your member information packet for details or contact Administrative Assistant and Membership Coordinator Daniel Klote for more information.
Upcoming Events for Missouri Community Action Network
We are hosting the Missourians to End Poverty quarterly meeting this month. Register for this meeting via the link below.
Let's stay connected! E-mail Us | Missouri CAN |(573) 634-2969