Archives: Voices

Stop the stopgap: Groups say Ohioans deserve more certainty, dignity

Out of nearly 200 federal programs tracked by the Coalition on Human Needs between fiscal years 2010 and 2021, nearly two-thirds have not kept pace with inflation. Without an updated omnibus spending bill, said Joree Novotny, director of external affairs for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, there isn’t enough assistance to meet the need. For example, she explained, monthly WIC benefits for fresh produce for children would decrease from $24 to $9.

The State of the Union:  President Biden’s Powerful, Practical Guarantees of Freedom 

We heard a true celebration of freedom in President Biden’s State of the Union speech. The President demonstrated resolve in support of the Ukrainian struggle for freedom – in action, not just words. He also demonstrated what is required in a free and just society: that people can live free from want and fear, choosing their own path and joining in the direction of their government.

Lost in the pandemic: Millions of school breakfasts and lunches 

Even as childhood hunger was on the increase during the pandemic, student participation in school breakfast and lunch programs dropped sharply, according to a report released last week by the Food Research & Action Center. 

Amidst a NYC Family Court Crisis, Marie Van Brittan Brown and Jane Bolin Can Teach Us Some Lessons on People of Color’s Need for Safety and Well-being

Safety and well-being are at the heart of human needs. However, these concepts have not been easily granted to Black and Brown communities throughout our nation’s history and even today. Nevertheless, Black heroes have stepped up to prioritize the safety and well-being of people of color. Born in 1922, Marie Van Brittan Brown was a nurse and inventor of the home security system. Jane Bolin worked in the 1960s to improve the safety and well-being of people of color. Jane was a woman of many firsts in U.S. history. Most notably, she was the first African American woman to be appointed a judge in the United States

Why are we torching our best tool to end child poverty?

Ada Mae’s beautiful blonde curls are wild on this sunny, mild winter afternoon. I’ve just picked her up from the homeschool co-op that supplements the first-grade lessons we’ve been doing at home, and we’re hanging out at the park. This is my favorite time of the week, watching her play with other kids. But I’m also remembering my own childhood — cold Missouri winters without boots, hats, or mittens. The grind of poverty was tough on my family, and that trauma pursued me into adulthood. I would do anything to keep my child from that fate, but we’ve had our close calls.

‘Til death do they part?’ Not for some Americans with disabilities. 

Five years ago, Lori Long’s boyfriend asked her to marry him. For Lori, it was a dream come true. She has a significant disability – an autoimmune system that results in painful fractures in her spine, frequently leading to expensive hospital stays. Given her condition, she wasn’t sure she would ever marry. And now, five years later, Lori and her boyfriend, Mark Contreras, are still waiting. Not long after her engagement, she learned that marrying her fiancé, who does not have a disability, would mean completely losing her Social Security disability benefits as well as Medicaid.

CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship February 18, 2022

The inflation inequality edition. Daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continue to drop dramatically, as do hospitalizations. Deaths – finally – are following this trend, down significantly over the past two weeks. Meanwhile, here at home inflation rages at breakneck speed. While inflation is rising everywhere, affecting every income bracket, price hikes are particularly devastating to lower-income households with already tight budgets.

For these WV moms, the expanded Child Tax Credit paid for “bear” necessities 

Even in a pandemic, the grounds of the U.S. Capitol tend to attract a lot of human visitors. But bears? Not so much. That changed earlier this month when a group of West Virginia moms, flanked by 500 teddy bears, gathered for a rally to highlight support for continuing the expanded Child Tax Credit that was passed in March 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan but was allowed to expire in December. It was all a part of the “Unbearable Campaign,” with the message being that allowing millions of American families to slip into poverty without the expanded CTC benefit is, well, unbearable. 

Child Tax Credit/Earned Income Tax Credit Day of Action – at the White House, in the Capitol, and well beyond  

Tuesday, February 8 was Child Tax Credit/Earned Income Tax Credit Day of Action, and at the White House, Capitol Hill, and cities across the nation,  with service providers and people from all walks of life, all came together to make sure  families with low incomes get the money they are due – and in some cases, to call for expanded CTC and EITC payments to continue. 

Groups help erase medical debt for 24,000 Arkansans

Philanthropic groups have collaborated to erase more than $35 million in medical debt for Arkansas residents. Sarah Kinser, chief program officer of Arkansas Community Foundation – one of the groups that raised funds – said medical debt can cause serious financial stress. “People who have to service debt that they can’t afford may end up having to choose between feeding their family and repaying that debt,” said Kinser. “And especially as we’ve been in a pandemic and people have had unexpected medical costs. We know that debt burden is especially present on everyone’s minds.”