Here for Us MontCo
March 8, 2021
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March 8, 2021

Stay Connected to Hurricane Ida Updates & Resources! FEMA Deadline has been extended to December 10.

  • Bucks County: Sign up for Ready Bucks for emergency updates and community information.
  • Montgomery County: Text MontcoIda to 888-777 for the latest information on storm recovery efforts or visit www.montcopa.org/Ida.
  • Hurricane Ida Legal Helpline: 877-429-5994. PA’s Hurricane Ida legal Helpline is open at 877-429-5994. Hours are Monday-Friday, 9 am-1 pm, or leave a message anytime. The Helpline serves all of the counties in Pennsylvania that are part of the federal disaster declaration. Learn more! https://www.lasp.org/hurricane-ida

Bucks County Resources: If you have been displaced by the flood and are unable to return home, contact the Housing Link for assistance: 1-800-810-4434. See all the available resources here.

Montgomery County Resources: Individuals in need of comprehensive services are encouraged to visit the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) at Montgomery County Community College, Health Sciences Center, Educational Gymnasium, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422. Monday through Friday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more here.

Montgomery County Hurricane Emergency Relief (HERE): Montgomery County is committed to ensuring that residents with unmet needs due to Hurricane Ida are connected with necessary support services, such as temporary housing, veterans’ benefits, and food, as well as with services for seniors and children. The County is asking impacted residents to complete this brief and secure survey as soon as possible so that the County has all of the information required to continue to support needs: https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/df7fceee47a84a08a42665bd1790c103

Montgomery County has partnered with the Montgomery County Foundation to stand up an emergency disaster fund to support people impacted by Hurricane Ida. All donations to this fund will support non-profit agencies serving Montgomery County individuals and families impacted by Hurricane Ida. Funds can be utilized to support housing, food, gasoline, and household needs, such as cleaning products, hygiene products, bedding, towels, and clothing. Learn more and donate here!

2-1-1 Counts. Tracking the most pressing community needs by 2-1-1 Call Center data. Click here for the 2-1-1 PA Counts Data Map

Bucks County – Commissioners ‘Break Ground’ on $1.8M Expansion of EOC, 911 Facility. Read the article here.

Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition. “Anyone can become an advocate – you just have to want to. Whether you are a beginning advocate or an experienced veteran, this interactive presentation is a self-directing guide for learning how to advocate and for improving your advocacy skills.” Review the PPT or PDF slides.

BUILD Initiative: Philadelphia’s Early Learning Community Speaks Out: An Action Plan for Quality Improvement. The BUILD Initiative partners with state and community leaders to promote equitable, high-quality child- and family-serving systems that result in young children thriving and learning. BUILD envisions a time when all children reach their full potential and when race, place, and income are no longer predictors of outcomes.

Center on Budget & Policy Priorities. Tracking the COVID-19 Recession’s Effects on Food, Housing, and Employment Hardships. Read here (Updated November 10, 2021)

The Central Bucks School District on Tuesday voted 6-3 to ratify a library policy that targets “sexualized content” in school library books, and that has been deemed by library experts as one of the most restrictive in Pennsylvania. The superintendent says it’s not a ban, but many parents, library advocates, and civil rights groups disagree. Read more here.

Children First (formerly PCCY):

  • Getting Back to Business documents how pervasive the childcare problem is for employees and business working non-traditional hours.  Rural, urban, and suburban families and businesses are paying a high financial toll because of the lack of non-traditional hour care. Families must scramble to find the care they need, leave their jobs, or refuse job offers. The report finds that:
    • One in three families with young kids in PA needs care on weekends or evenings.
    • Only one in four child care programs offers after-hour care
    • Nine out of ten employers who require non-traditional hours reported child care being a barrier for their employees, especially women.

    Read the report here!

  • Congress is currently considering an historic package that would include $450 billion of recurring funding that would build on child care relief funds and make long-term investments in quality child care and pre-k that are necessary for children to thrive, families to work, and our economy to rebuild. Check out the statewide survey results here and download the county factsheets to see how your area fares. And then take action below to urge your Congressmembers to support sustained federal child care funding.
  • Read the newly released, Informed and Empowered: Girls With Options program on family planning for Black and Hispanic female teens, or watch the webinar on Children First’s Facebook page.
  • Read the March 2021 reportNo More Dreams Deferred, Building an Education System that Works for Black and Hispanic Students in the Philadelphia Suburbs.
  • Read the report: Hold Harmless: A Quarter Century of Inequity at the Heart of Pennsylvania’s School System.

COVID Alert PA is the official mobile app by the Pennsylvania Department of Health that uses the Exposure Notification System provided by Apple and Google. You can download the app now.

Covidtests.gov – Get free Covid tests from the government!  You can order a test from COVIDTests.gov, which the federal government will send out at no cost — including no shipping fees. Learn more here.

Department of Education Schools Have New Tool to Ease Substitute Teacher Shortage. The General Assembly recently passed Act 91 to help schools find substitute teachers to fill critical staffing shortages caused by the pandemic. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has released guidelines for schools to follow in taking advantage of the law. Act 91 provides additional pathways for quality individuals to pursue and complete certifications and enter the educator workforce. Specifically, the law creates a new Classroom Monitor Permit for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. A classroom monitor may be employed to provide coverage and deliver preplanned assignments in classrooms. Click the links to learn more. Thanks to Senator Bob Mensch for sharing this information!

Generocity

  • Culture Builder: How can employers confront The Great Resignation? After a particularly chaotic year, two in five professionals report planning to leave their jobs. Read the article here, with the Workforce Institute 2021 Engagement and Retention Report here.
  • Poverty in 2021 looks different than in 1964 – but the US hasn’t changed how it measures it. Many Americans in the past have been rudely surprised at just how inadequate America’s safety net is, at least in part because it’s based on outdated federal poverty thresholds. Read the article here.

HealthSpark Foundation. State of the Safety Net: 2020-2021 Report. Over 60 respondents to the Montgomery County State of the Safety Net Survey, conducted in 2020 and again in 2021, provided their feedback on the impact of the pandemic on their nonprofit’s operations, programs, staff, and board. The survey was fielded by HealthSpark Foundation and included a representative group of the county’s social safety net providers. Read the 2-page fact sheet or full report.

Housing Alliance of PA has updated its county fact sheets that provide a brief look at the housing challenges experienced by families in each county of the commonwealth and shows a few of the ways counties are overcoming those challenges. Review the fact sheets here (March 2021).

Montgomery County announces a Recovery Office to manage funds received through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The County is committed to utilizing the $161 million it will receive through this act in a bold, innovative, equitable manner. Learn more! Review the July 1, 2021 Commissioners Board Meeting overview here. Share your ideas and feedback for County funding priorities! Complete the form here.

The Montgomery County Recovery Office released draft funding recommendations for use of $161.4 million in Pandemic Recovery Funds for public comment. The Draft Recovery Plan recommends investment into priorities identified by the community and consistent with the allowable uses of these funds, including:

  1. $32.4 million for housing, accounting for 325 new affordable housing units, funding creation of two new temporary housing facilities, preserving existing affordable units, and creating a foundation for sustainable creation of future affordable housing,
  2. $27.9 million for community spaces and services, constructing and improving centers housing multiple providers in impacted communities,
  3. $18.1 million supporting expansion and innovation across behavioral health operations and facilities, and
  4. $9.6 million for child care provider operational support, new child care service models, and study and analysis towards transformative adoption of best practices

Learn more: https://www.montcopa.org/3821/Recovery-Office

For the town halls on the MontCo Pandemic Recovery Funds draft recovery plan, please see this presentation overview or visit www.montcopa.org/RecoveryOffice for a town hall recording. Download the recovery plan here.

National Low Income Housing Coalition

  • NLIHC’s “The Gap” Released: Shortage of 7 Million Affordable Homes for Nation’s Lowest-Income Renters. Read the report here (March 2021)
  • NLIHC released its annual report, Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing. This year’s report shows that low-wage workers are facing severe challenges in affording housing amid record-breaking rent increases. The report highlights the mismatch between the wages people earn and the price of decent rental housing in every state, metropolitan area, and county in the U.S. The report also calculates the “Housing Wage” a full-time worker must earn to afford a rental home without spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs. This year’s national Housing Wage is $25.82 per hour for a modest two-bedroom home at fair market rent and $21.25 per hour for a modest one-bedroom home.

The Open Link is excited to introduce you to their new Executive Director, Monique Hendricks! Monique, who began her role on July 5, brings a myriad of public service experience to the position including 28 years’ experience working for local and state government agencies, for-profits and other non-profit organizations. Learn more, and stay tuned for more info on upcoming meet-and-greet events with Monique at The Center!

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is reminding residents that enforcement of the federal REAL ID Act will begin May 3, 2023.  As of that date, you will have to present a federally accepted form of identification to board a commercial domestic flight or visit a secure federal building that requires ID at the door. Federally accepted forms of identification include a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a U.S. passport or passport card or a military ID.

To date, approximately 1.6 million Pennsylvanians have chosen to get a REAL ID product. However, REAL ID is not mandatory. PennDOT continues to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs. Full enforcement of the law has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was hindering efforts to process REAL ID applications across the country.
To learn more about REAL ID and how to obtain one, visit penndot.gov/REALID or contact our offices. Thanks to Rep Pennycuick for sharing!

The PA Link has employed Folklorist Darcy Fair to conduct conversations with seniors and those living with a disability in Bucks, Chester & Montgomery counties to document their experiences. Are you interested in talking about your life and leaving a legacy for your de­scendants? Imagine, 100 years from now, somebody could hear your story in your voice! The recorded interviews will live online on the Story Corps Archives, a part of the Library of Congress. Learn more! Contact Elizabeth Doan at buckschestermontgomerylink@aim.com 

The Partnership TMA. Click here to download their new brochure, and learn more about the Helpline available! IndividualsEmployers

Pennsylvania’s Pre-K Counts ProgramKindergarten Impacts of the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Program: A Statewide Evaluation, Principal Investigator, Ellen Peisner-Feinberg. “The results of this evaluation demonstrate positive benefits on language and math skills in kindergarten for children who attended PA PKC compared to similar children with no prior ECE experience in the 2 years before kindergarten.” Read the evaluation report here and click here to read the Pre-K for PA Report: Invest in Quality: A Case for Paying Closer to What High-Quality Pre-K Costs

PA Pressroom. Department Of Human Services Releases Racial Equity Report, Addressing Inequity And Anti-Racism Across Programs And Services. Read the report here

Policy Map: Dig deeper into place-based data, gain insights to issues, and monitor trends and reports. The PolicyMap combines extensive data indicators with a state-of- the-art mapping platform and expanded analytics.

Power Interfaith announces in a rare bipartisan move, the Pa. legislature approves a new home repair assistance program, WHYY, July 8, 2022. Read more!

Ready Nation. Female Labor Force Participation is Key To PA’s Economic Recovery. Policymakers must address the commonwealth’s child care crisis and help women return to work. Read the report here. Watch the October United Way of Bucks County webinar on this report and topic, “Working Women UNITED for Child Care.”

Safe Haven Center of Laurel House is officially open, after a nearly 10-year campaign! Congratulations to this team and thank you for this safe haven in our community! Learn more and watch the ribbon-cutting ceremony, with information included on their final campaign and registry needs!

SEPTA Bus Revolution – Stay connected to the SEPTA Bus Revolution! Read their newly-released report on the state of the system and market analysis. An executive summary offers a synthesized review of the underlying market and need for transit services together with network-level opportunities for improvements.  https://www.septabusrevolution.com/reports/

Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity – Highlights the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), which is promoting more productive narratives around poverty that support different perspectives and lived experiences.  In the first video in a three-part series, Tracy Wareing Evans, president and CEO of APHSA; Karen Heller Key, founder of Heller Key Management Consulting; and Rodney Adams, CEO of R. Adams & Associates and former director of the Mecklenburg County (NC) Department of Community Resources share what they think can be done to change narratives. What are some practical ways to change narratives? According to Adams, it is important to “unpack the lived experience of families, how they see things, how they evaluate success and begin to evaluate the work … through that lens.” See the video series here.

SSIR Offers This free white paper, prepared by Harbor Compliance and Foundation Center, answers key questions about how grant-seeking affects fundraising compliance. Download the White Paper here.

TMA Bucks has compiled an online public transit ride guide that highlights where public transportation options are available in Bucks County. Click here to check it out!

USDA’s Household Food Security in the United States in 2020. Read the newly released report here, with this data snapshot provided by the Coalition Against Hunger: “While the rate of food insecurity for US households as a whole was unchanged since 2019 (10.5%), the data once again reveal the disparate impact of the pandemic upon Black and Hispanic households, and all households with children. Rates of food insecurity were statistically significantly higher for: Black (21.7%) and Hispanic (17.2%) households; all households with children (14.8%, and even higher for households with children under age six at 15.3%); and households with children headed by a single woman (27.7%) or a single man (16.3%).”

United Way of PA. ALICE Reports and Data. “ALICE represents the 27% of Pennsylvanians who work, but struggle to survive. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.” Click here for the latest ALICE Report, released early 2021 and Click here for ALICE data by County, COVID-19 Impact, and other resources.” Or, explore ALICE data in the United Way of PA Research Center with various mapping tools available.

Women’s Way hosted a Closing the Gender Wealth Gap forum to discuss the intersections of reproductive justice and economic justice. In that forum and the follow up community conversation, we discussed the very real possibility that Roe could be overturned sometime this year. Watch (or rewatch!) the Women’s Way recording of Closing the Gender Wealth Gap: Intersections of Reproductive and Economic Justice to learn from local experts about how economic and reproductive justice go hand-in-hand. Read about the relationship between white supremacy and abortion access in this op-ed by Elicia Gonzales, Executive Director of the Abortion Liberation Fund of PA.

  • A national study of households completed by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank in 2019 found that families headed by women have just 55 cents in median wealth for every dollar that men own. While this is already not a good start, the gap becomes even greater as you dig deeper. For never-married respondents, this gap sits closer to about 34 cents of female median wealth per $1 of male wealth. And, when you adjust for race and ethnicity, the situation becomes even more dire with families headed by Black and Latinx women owning just pennies on the dollar.
  • The WOMEN’S WAY Gender Wealth Institute (GWI) will launch a large-scale regional research campaign to identify and address key drivers of gender wealth inequity. They propose a multi-phase comprehensive research strategy that will culminate in the creation of the Philadelphia region’s (+Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery) first Gender Wealth Index. This research-enabled assessment tool will be comprised of quantifiable socioeconomic measures, co-constructed by system-impacted communities, designed to drive evidence-based action on policies and practices that enable gender wealth parity and will take into account the ongoing and lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.

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