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Monthly Archives: May 2011
IMMEDIATE ACTION: Call Your Legislators and Raise Public Conversation by Writing a Letter to the Editor!
The Message: Elimination of General Assistance (GA) will strip survival-level help for people who are physically disabled, blind, have low IQs, severely physically or mentally ill, elderly and/or homeless
Whom to Contact: The Governor, Your Legislators and Your Neighborhood Newspaper
The Governor’s Contact: 651-201-3400 or http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/
Find your legislator
Find your local newspaper to submit a letter to the editor
- Talk about why saving Homeless Programs are important to you.
- Please maintain General Assistance as a standalone program.
- Minnesotans on this program are unable to work by Doctor’s order.
- $203 per month is nearly impossible to live on. Eliminating General Assistance will make life even more difficult for the most vulnerable.
- General Assistance is vital to help individuals pay for transportation, co-pays, personal care items, and sometimes shared rent
- This living stipend opens opportunities for subsidized housing
Tips for Writing Letters to the Editor
|Letters to the editor are among the most widely read features of newspapers, and members of Congress normally read the newspaper from their district to keep tabs on issues of concern to their constituents.
To give your letter the best chance of publication:
_ Type the letter, double-spaced, on only one side of the paper.
_ Keep it short, less than two pages.
_ Deal with only one topic. It should be timely and newsworthy. If possible, refer to a news item, editorial or letter which has appeared recently in the paper you are writing to.
_ Express your thoughts clearly and concisely. A well written letter is more likely to be published.
|_ Supply facts that may have been omitted or slanted in presentation of the news or editorials. You can render a service to the public by presenting views that may ordinarily be given little or no attention by the press. But avoid a hostile or sarcastic tone.
_ Use a relevant personal experience to illustrate a
point. If your background gives you special expertise on a subject, say so.
_ Bring moral judgments to bear upon the issues.
Appeal to readers’ sense of justice and compassion. Challenge them to respond to the issue.
_ Sign your name. Include your address and telephone number.
Background: Who uses General Assistance? About 33,000 disabled or ill unemployable adults without children who are living on less than $300 a month. They are seriously ill, physically disabled, blind, have low IQs, severely physically or mentally ill, elderly and/or homeless. Some are teenagers living on their own with no custodial families. Many adults are in the process of applying for federal SSI.
What is General Assistance? Assistance of up to $203 a month for one adult and up to $260 for married couples.
Aren’t these just people who move to Minnesota to get on our assistance programs? No. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, 94% of the people who were new to General Assistance in 2008 (the most recent year for which data is available) had lived in Minnesota had least a year.
Aren’t we just encouraging dependency? Most people use General Assistance for short periods of time: 43% use it for less than six months at a time and over a nine year period the average time on General Assistance was 20 months. This makes sense: because 64% of the people who turn to General Assistance are incapacitated with illness. General assistance supports people through a period of serious illness when they cannot earn other income.
Don’t people just claim they are ill or disabled to get General Assistance? No. A medical or mental health professional has to verify the condition and that it has been present for at least 30 days.
With the state’s budget crisis, don’t we have to focus on costs that are growing more expensive every year? Minnesota has not increased the assistance people on General Assistance receive since 1986. General Assistance accounts for only 1.1% of the Human Services budget – and only 0.1% of the overall state general fund spending.
Located at the corner of Nicollet Mall and 12th Street, Westminster Presbyterian Church has been A Telling Presence in the City for over 150 Years. With a rich history in the city, Westminster is focused on the community within and the community surrounding the church. Westminster Presbyterian Church provides leadership and resources to put their faith into action within the community, both corporately as a congregation and individually as members and friends.
Westminster’s Housing Ministry Team focuses on supporting the full spectrum of housing needs of the community, increasing awareness of homelessness issues, and effecting change to end homelessness. Their ministry work extends from a Habitat for Humanity building project to advocacy before state and local elected officials. Westminster provides volunteer and financial support for homeless shelters, families in transition, house painting, affordable housing for youth, a center for daily resources, Project Homeless Connect and Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness.
Through the Housing 150 Initiative Westminster Presbyterian Church in partnership with Plymouth Congregational Church committed financial and member leadership resources for the creation and preservation of affordable housing in our community. Both congregations celebrated their 150th anniversary in 2007 and committed money raised through their Sesquicentennial Capital Campaigns for this housing initiative. These funds will not supplant public funds but will serve to enhance public financing to create a strong public/private partnership in affordable housing. Nicollet Square is a new construction in the south Minneapolis Kingfield neighborhood, which contains 42 units. This housing was built specifically for young adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness as they exit the foster care system. The ages of the tenants range from approximately 16-21 years old. Nicollet Square has reduced rents, created on-site employment, and a support service team to help tenants master the real life skills needed to increase their income and manage their lives productively.
Putting their faith in action has been to focus of the Presbyterian Church. As a Presbyterian church, Westminster puts their faith into action in a varieties of ways, from undertaking housing development to advocating for policies that end homelessness! With many partners, they continue to move forward together with the vision of being a telling presence in the city!
Support the work to end homelessness financially. With your support, we will be able to keep our community updated and informed about homelessness and policy changes that impact homelessness! We Can End It, but will we? Will you? Follow the direction below and then click the Donate Now button to support our work by donating online!
(By clicking on the Donate Now button, you will be taken to Plymouth Church’s Donation site, which is our fiscal agent). Please be sure to include your address so we can send you a thank you letter.
If you would like to give in honor of someone, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the name and address of the person who made the donation as well as the person of which the donation is in their honor. We will send them a card recognizing the gift given in their honor.
To Give on a Recurring Basis
1. Click on the Donate Now button.
2. Create Your Online Profile
3. After creating a profile, you can designate how much you want to give on a recurring basis. List the amount you want to give under the Special Contribution and identify the contribution goes to DCEH in the box to the right. At the bottom of the page, you will be asked to choose on what basis you want to give: weekly, monthly, yearly, etc.
4. Then you will be asked to enter your bank information for withdrawal and click the Process button.
To Give on a One Time Basis
1. Click on the Donate Now button.
2. Then, you can designate how much you want to give on a recurring basis. List the amount you want to give under the Special Contribution and identify DCEH in the box to the right. At the bottom of the page, you will be asked to choose on what basis you want to give: weekly, monthly, yearly, etc.
3. Then you will be asked to enter your bank information for withdrawal and click the Process button.