United Way of Pennsylvania          LIVE UNITED
UWP Update - May 23, 2019

Make the right call to join our advocacy to achieve our full request of $1.5 million in state funding for PA 2-1-1! See below for more info. 

Support increased PA 2-1-1 funding in state budget
With the 2019-20 FY budget negotiations taking place and June right around the corner, UWP is focusing on our strategy around  2-1-1 funding and securing the $1.5 million ask. As you know, during the past two budget cycles PA 2-1-1 received state appropriations of $750,000 and this amount was also included in the Governor's proposed budget for this fiscal year. To receive the full funding ask of $1.5 million, our advocacy strategy will be focused in the House since our Senate champions are secure. 

For this purpose, we are asking our membership to help us reach our legislators across the state. Currently, House members are back in the district until the start of June. This is a great time to schedule a meeting with or make a phone call to your local Representatives. We do have a few target House members, who hold key leadership positions. For these targets, we are asking our members to have a conversation to ask for their support for the $1.5 million in state funding. Those specific targets are:
  • Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny)
  • Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York)
  • Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster)
  • Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre)
  • Rep. Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny)
  • Rep. Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery)
  • Rep. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia)
For all other House members, we are asking local United Ways to meet with or have a phone conversation to ask for support of the $1.5 million funding ask and also to specifically ask for them to send a letter of support for the funding to their leadership. 

We have developed talking points to assist with your conversations and advocacy. You can also find the template leadership letter for legislators to sign and send on their own letterhead here

Please note, this letter can also be adapted for your community partners to use if they are willing to help advocate. You will note comments in the margins of the templates for areas that need to be adjusted for partner use.

While legislators are in the district for another week, we will want to continue this advocacy push throughout June. Please keep Maggie apprised of your legislative communications and whether there are any concerns or follow-ups needed. 
PA 2-1-1 implements automatic call back for Connect To Home housing services,  and statewide followup by text
There are two important changes at PA 2-1-1 for you to be aware of. First, we are now offering an automatic call back option to the callers who contact 2-1-1 for our Eastern PA Continuum of Care housing services. Callers are offered a call back instead of waiting for our busy staff to answer. This saves the customer valuable phone minutes and time. We are evaluating offering this on other phone lines as well.

Second, we are launching follow-up by text in regions where this is not currently done. Callers to 2-1-1 will be asked if we can text them a few days after referrals were made to see if they have contacted the agencies and if they received the help they did. 

PA 2-1-1 will be sharing outcome data from followup by text in the coming months! 

IFO reports updated state budget revenues in 2018-2019 and predicts continued solid growth in 2019-2020
As June approaches, the Independent Fiscal Office offered its annual take on the Commonwealth's financial position. This is another important analysis on the list of things legislators and staff use to inform their budget decisions. The report from the IFO is largely positive, predicting revenue growth will remain solid in FY 2019-2020, ending the year with an increase of about 3.5%. rate of growth. IFO also revised their revenue forecast for FY 2018-2019 to $860 million above the office's original estimate. 

The cautionary notes from the IFO were regarding the temporary nature of some of the growth in revenues. This includes corporate profits and some income shifting as a result of federal tax reform which will not recur. Some of Pennsylvania's current growth stems from the implementation of sales tax in internet purchases. While it has grown $165 million year to date, and these revenues are not temporary the IFO predicts that PA will soon reach the point where full collection is achieved.  

The IFO also reports that job growth is moderating in Pennsylvania and wage growth has remained stagnant, at 4 percent. This year bucks the usual trend of wage growth tracking closely with revenue growth. The IFO also predicted that a recession is more likely in 2020 than 2019. 
Preparing for the 2020 Census: Understanding how census collection methods are changing
Many United Ways are aware that the Census is increasing digital enumeration in the 2020 Census. This raises concerns about how populations such as seniors, or anyone living in a rural area without access to broadband could be undercounted. 

Ninety-five percent of households will receive their census invitation in the mail. Most households will receive a letter asking them to go online to complete the Census questionnaire, but they will also be given options to respond by phone and instructions to request a paper form. This initial communication will be distributed between March 12 and 20, 2020. Later in March, households who haven't responded will receive a reminder postcard. Then between April 8 and April 16, 2020, a reminder letter will be sent with the paper questionnaire. Click here for a Census flyer explaining the process. 

Communities are encouraged to form Census Complete Count Committees which bring together partners and trusted advisors for historically undercounted communities to help make sure every person in Pennsylvania is counted. Additional resources to support Census Complete Count committees are available here.  
Two national childhood poverty reports offer similar policy recommendations  
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently released a report called "A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty". More than 9.6 million U.S. children live in families with annual incomes below the poverty line and studies estimate that child poverty costs the nation between $800 billion and $1.1 trillion annually in terms of lost adult productivity, the increased costs of crime, and increased health expenditures. The report identifies packages of policies and programs that could reduce child poverty by half within 10 years, at a cost far lower than costs the United States currently bears. The list of recommendations includes: increasing earned income tax payments; converting the child and dependent care tax credit to a fully-refundable credit; increasing SNAP benefits, including for older children; and increasing the number of housing vouchers directed to families with children. Read more here
The Children's Defense Fund updated a 2015 report called "Ending Child Poverty Now". This update asserts by investing an additional 1.4 percent of our federal budget into existing programs and policies, we can cut child poverty at least 57 percent, lift 5.5 million children out of poverty and help 95 percent of all poor children. They recommend policies geared toward supporting work for adults and basic supports for children. Those recommendations include: Increasing the minimum wage, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit, making the Child Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit fully refundable, and making subsidy available to everyone under 150% of the federal poverty level without co-pays. For children, CDF recommends basing SNAP benefits on the USDA low cost food plan and increasing benefits by 31 percent, increasing housing vouchers for families with children, and full disregard of child support for TANF benefits and partially disregarded for SNAP benefits. Read more here
Spotlight on Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way: Leading for employees affected by Wood-Mode closure 
Wood-Mode, a custom wood cabinet manufacturing business, closed their doors abruptly on Monday, May 13th, after being in business for 77 years. Nearly one thousand employees were laid off permanently with no notice.

Joanne Troutman, President and CEO of Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way, stated that Wood-Mode employees ran one of the top United Way Workplace Campaigns in their community. The loss of income is devastating to local employees and their families. Half of the former employees were over the age of fifty and had worked for the company, on average, twenty years. 

United Way has come together with the Daily Item and Sunbury Broadcast Corporation to establish the Wood-Mode Working Family Fund. This fund will support the agencies supporting individuals directly affected by the sudden closure. Donors can give by dropping off donations at any BB&T branch or by texting "woodmode" to 41444. 

A small committee will be established to oversee distribution of the fund. Although the need will be intense, the goal is that Wood-Mode employees will face "no closed door" in the non-profit community. 

This is a great example of how United Way can help to mobilize people in response to a large-scale employer shutdown that impacts the financial stability of local families. If you have any questions about the initiative, please contact Joanne Troutman
Publishing note: next edition of UWP Update will be June 10
As the whole UWP staff team and many of our members will be busy with our state conference June 5 through 7, we will delay the next edition of the Update to Monday, June 10. It will likely be a shorter edition with any essential information for our network until we resume our normal schedule on June 21. 
Bill to shorten eviction timeline moves to full House 
House Bill 71 , introduced by Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland), was passed out of the House Urban Affairs committee by a party line vote. This bill would change the current landlord/tenant laws to shorten the time frame for an eviction to occur legally. Currently, a tenant who does not appeal an eviction has 21-days before the landlord is granted "possession" of the property. The proposed legislation would reduce that time frame to 12 days. 

During the committee meeting, there was some discussion on the constitutionality of the legislation based on the fact only courts can establish court procedures. However, no amendments to the bill or motions to table the legislation until after a hearing has been conducted were voted favorably in committee. The bill has moved to the full House for consideration.

UWP has concerns with this proposed legislation and what it will mean for many Pennsylvania households who are renting and may fall on difficult financial times. Further, PA 2-1-1 has been working heavily with the Eastern CoC on housing needs throughout a 33-county region, plus several other housing continuums in three other counties. Through this work, we are much more aware of the gaps that exist in finding housing and the impacts of losing your home. When the legislation was first introduced, UWP sent an opposition letter to Rep. Rothman, which you can read here .There are also many other advocacy groups, including tenant and low-income housing associations, in opposition. The Wolf Administration also noted they are not supportive of the measure. 

UWP will be circulating an opposition letter to the full House when they return to the district. We will share that communication when it is available.
Connect To Home marketing materials available in English and Spanish

Connect To Home Coordinated Entry System has new marketing materials available in both English and Spanish. The flyers explain what people should do if they are experiencing a housing emergency. PA 2-1-1 is featured for it's role as the phone intake and assessment provider for Connect To Home. Download the materials here in English and Espanol.  

Connect To Home: Coordinated Entry System of Eastern PA (CES) coordinates and manages access, assessment, prioritization and referral to housing and services for any person(s) experiencing or at imminent risk of homelessness in the following counties: Adams, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Cambria, Carbon, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Schuylkill, Somerset, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne and Wyoming.
Upcoming Webinars 
Non-ALICE Participating United Way Information Session
June 12th 2:00PM
Click Here to Register
A brief overview of the ALICE Report for our non-committed United Ways prior to launching the report on June 18th.
This webinar will be hosted by United Way of Pennsylvania through Zoom. It is available for staff and volunteers of PA United Ways who have NOT committed to the United Way of Pennsylvania ALICE Project. All United Ways attending the webinar information session agree to hold all information confidential until after 10:00AM on June 18th. The webinar will be recorded and distributed on June 18th after launch. 

Exclusive ALICE Project Preview Webinar
June 14th 1:00PM
Fee: $25
Click Here to Register
This event is a webinar targeted to community partners and community members who are interested in the ALICE Project. Our ALICE project United Ways are welcome to invite partners and community leaders to this webinar. There will be a $25 fee to register for the webinar and it is open only to the first 100 attendees. Attendees will receive a preview of the ALICE Report and highlights of the main data. The full ALICE Report will launch June 18th at the PA Capitol building in Harrisburg.

UpPurpose: Digital Marketing for LUWs Webinar
July 10th 1:00 pm 

Click Here to Register
United Way Worldwide announced the launch of a new for-profit subsidiary,  UpPurpose, in February 2019. UpPurpose is a cloud-based technology platform and creative agency designed to meet the unique content needs of nonprofits and the social good sector. UpPurpose provides a full suite of content services-from multi-platform digital campaign creation to real-time data-driven campaign performance analysis-for local United Ways, nonprofits, foundations, CSR organizations and other social enterprises. Join United Way of PA and UpPurpose to delve into how UpPurpose can benefit your United Way.


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