The Promise of Community Action:

"Community Action changes people's lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other."

 

 

50 Years of Helping Families to Attain Economic Stability

Happy Birthday Community Action

 

[Lincoln]: January 8th marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s State of the Union Address declaring an “unconditional war on poverty.” At Community Action of Nebraska, helping families to attain economic stability is our mission.

“Most Nebraskans in poverty are working hard to make ends meet, but economic stability is just out of their reach,” said Amber Hansen, the Statewide Community Relations Coordinator for Community Action of Nebraska. “On this 50th anniversary of Community Action, we believe that we should recommit to building an economy that works for everyone and invest in a strong safety net that supports families when they are struggling.”

Despite higher employment rates in Nebraska, too many families are unable to make ends meet. In 2012, Community Action of Nebraska conducted the “Statewide and Regional Community Assessment on Employment, Barriers to Employment and Training Needs.” The study found:[1]

  • 18% of respondents reported that their employment income was insufficient to meet their basic needs.
  • 23% of respondents reported they did not believe they had the skills to compete in the job market;
  • 10% of respondents reported they did not have the opportunities to acquire or improve their workplace skills;
  • 33.4% of respondents experienced barriers to improving their employment status.
  1. The top barriers were: Limited Job Opportunities (40.3%); Education Level (28.3%); Physical Health Issues (27.4%); and Cost of Training (24.2%).

“Our economy and our country have fundamentally changed since the War on Poverty was declared,” said Hansen. “We need to implement policies and programs that make work pay and strengthen our safety net to ensure it keeps up with the challenges families are facing in today’s economy.”

209,000 Nebraskans were kept above the poverty line by public benefits, including 49,000 children, in 2011.[2]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, public programs lifted 40 million people out of poverty in 2011.[3]

  • Social Security has the largest poverty-reducing effect, keeping 26 million people above the poverty line.
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has the biggest effect on child poverty, keeping 3.1 million children and a total of 6.1 million Americans out of poverty.
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) kept 4.7 million Americans, including 2.1 million children, out of poverty.

This year’s legislative session creates an opportunity to build a stronger state for all Nebraskans. Community Action of Nebraska will advocate for policies that:

  • Make work pay and increase access to opportunities to improve skills, education, and training;
  • Protect low-income Nebraskans from regressive tax changes and increase tax credits that lift more Nebraskans out of poverty;
  • Ensure access to affordable health care for low-income Nebraskans;
  • Update the cash assistance program and remove disincentives for very low-income Nebraskans to accumulate modest savings; and,
  • Increase access to nutritional assistance for low-income children and families.

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Community Action of Nebraska, “Statewide and Regional Community Assessment on Employment, Barriers to Employment, and Training Needs,” 2012, http://www.canhelp.org/uploads/pdf/2012CANReportFinal.pdf.

Ibid.

Sherman, Arloc, Danilo Trisi, and Sharon Parrot, “Various Supports for Low-Income Families Reduce Poverty and Have Long-Term Positive Effects on Children and Families,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 30, 2013, http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3997#_ftn2.

 

 

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210 O Street Suite 100
Lincoln, NE 68508

Phone: (402) 471-3714
Fax: (402) 471-3481