As of January 1st, 2013, Heartland Health Outreach's Vital Bridges Program is one of a number of community-based organizations to be awarded a grant to improve housing services and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families in Chicago. There are over 22,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Chicago. Vital Bridges, a Program of Heartland Health Outreach, has provided 10 million meals, 600,000 nights of shelter, and 250,000 hours of counseling to over 10,000 people since its founding in 1988.
- CDPH Awards $6 Million to Community-Based HIV/AIDS Housing Organizations, Tom Merevick, Chicago Phoenix, 12/27/12
A Fiscal Cliff Deal was agreed upon on January 1st, 2013. The deal includes a number of extensions that will continue to keep people out of poverty including the Earned Income Tax Credit, an extension of Federal Unemployment Benefits, and an extension of the Farm Bill which includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. Unfortunately, the temporary reduction of payroll taxes from 6.2% of earnings to 4.2% of earnings has ended, which will have a large impact of individuals and families living pay check to pay check. Additionally, sequestration, which are automatic spending cuts, have been postponed for two months. These upcoming cuts are likely to cut spending for programs that serve low-income individuals and families
- The Fiscal Cliff Deal: What Changed and What's Still in Play, Elizabeth Lower-Basch, CLASP, 1/2/2013
The Chicago Reporter sat down with Lawyer Richard Wheelock, the Director of Advocacy of Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, who has advocated for the rights of Chicago Public Housing tenants for almost 30 years. Wheelock discusses the history of public housing in Chicago and highlights the current issues that race and gentrification play in the availability of housing, particularly on the north side of Chicago.
- Legal Shelter: Housing Lawyer Takes up the Mantle for Tenants' Rights, Angela Caputo, The Chicago Reporter, 1/1/2013
A Study published in the journal Public Library Of Science Biology by researchers from Harvard Medical School and Princeton University found that biodiversity and the presence of disease in a particular region has an impact on poverty and economic development, and that this can account for differences in per-capita income of different regions. The findings suggest “that the U.S. and many tropical nations would have much healthier economies if they spent more on healthcare and saved more biodiversity.”
- Study Links Disease, Poverty and Biodiversity, Kenneth R. Weiss, LA Times, 12/26/2012
The Bronzeville neighborhood on the south side of Chicago has seen an increase in housing and development over the last 10 years. The historic neighborhood was home to a Chicago version of the Harlem Renaissance involving notable jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong, writers like Richard Wright, and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett, among others. Atlantic Cities looks into the issues around how we define gentrification in Chicago, and the long history of segregation between the north and south sides of the city.
- How Black Gentrifiers Have Affected the Perception of Chicago's Changing Neighborhoods, Emily Badger, The Atlantic Cities, 12/31/12
The Strengthen Social Security Coalition has released a new state by state report on how Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid work for Illinois residents. The study highlights that from 2006 to 2008, the poverty rate of Illinois seniors was 8 percent for seniors receiving Social Security benefits, and 44 percent for seniors that did not receive Social Security benefits. The study also found that Social Security helped more than 772,000 seniors, children, disabled workers and the surviving family members of the deceased who were Illinois residents avoid poverty in 2008.
- Medicare, Medicaid & Social Security Vital to Illinois Economy, New Report Finds, Steven Ross Johnson, Progress Illinois, 12/17/12
As of January 1st, 10 states raised the minimum wage from between $0.10 to $0.15 an hour including: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. This means that 19 states and the District of Columbia now have minimum wages above the federal level of $7.25. Our Policy & Advocacy team at Heartland Alliance is actively working on bringing an increase in the minimum wage to Illinois.
- New Year Will Bring Higher Minimum Wage in 10 States, Jim Malewitz, Stateline, The Pew Center on the States, 12/20/2012