June 5, 2009

Beyond Bread: an Advocacy Win Edition

~This week Bread for the City was delighted to see two things we advocated for come to pass: the expansion of food stamps, and the approval of the “Bag Bill.” As our guy Greg pointed out earlier this week, the food stamp expansion was both overdue and relatively easy to support since the funding for it came from federal stimulus cash. Having said that, the expansion shouldn’t be written off as small. It increases the income threshold to 200% of the federal poverty line (up from 130%), and eliminates the damaging “asset cap” that existed before, and auto-enrolls people in the utility assistance program. The Bag Bill, a piece of legislation that would put a nickel fee on grocery store bags in an effort to clean the Anacostia Watershed, will help the neighborhoods that bank the contaminated river and is good for the environment. Many thanks to the DC City Council for approving these needed measures.

~ We Love DC picked up the story that Councilmember Mary Cheh has introduced legislation that would add the homeless to groups protected under hate crimes legislation. We reported a similar measure being introduced two months ago in Maryland. Can we have a race to see whose will pass first?

~Bread for the City’s new Human Rights Clinic, now open on Wednesday evenings to those seeking asylum, was picked up by the Immigrant Rights blog on change.org, and Nomadsland. The word is getting out!

~There were a couple of notable commentaries this week about the nature of poverty. The always insightful Poverty in America blog had a great write up about the need to change our perception of poverty nationally. The Washington Times had a small but interesting blurb that could really serve as a fact sheet about the homeless population in DC, and Stone Soup Station had a great article about how internet access (when available) can make a huge difference to the homeless population.

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