Archive for the ‘hunger’ Category

By CFS

In the debate over finding a new home for Missoula’s Poverello Center, much of the community’s attention has been captured by concerns of simply moving the homeless “problem” into a different area of town and how any spill-over may affect people’s children and home value rather than how a new and modern facility can improve the quality of life for not only homeless people and families but for the community as a whole.

The NIMBYs have taken over the asylum and seem reluctant to give back the keys.  Many people who comment on this topic think that the best solution would be to simply move the Pov to the edge of town, preferably adjacent to the interstate, to allow the homeless to keep moving on once they have visited the Pov and to more the “problem” outside of downtown away from view and out of people’s minds.

Dallas has found a different solution – one that involves providing a new standard of best-practices – by providing  services that aim to get people off the streets and back into housing and steady employment. The Bridge Homeless Assistance Center, operated by a local Dallas non-profit, has received international recognition for its innovative approach to packaging transitional services together in a single facility.  The Bridge is located on the edge of downtown Dallas where it easily accessible to not only the homeless, but well situated to create lasting community partnerships that can have a profound affect on the success of transitional services.  Successful enough that in a three-year period The Bridge has transitioned 982 people in permanent housing and placed 1,588 into jobs.

Also since the opening of The Bridge in 2008, “chronic homeless has been reduced by 57%… the local crime rate has reduced by more than 20%,” while  The Bridge has  saved the City of Dallas $3 million dollars in emergency services costs.  That, to me, seem like a well placed investment of community resources.  Missoula isn’t Dallas when it comes to the amount of resources we have to spend, but one of the strengths of our community is that we like to punch above our weight class.

As long as the conversation is focused simply on the future location of the Pov we aren’t getting to the heart of what this debate should be about… what is best for Missoula and what will bring the most benefits to our community.  The Dallas model looks to be a better option than trying to hide the problem away in some undesirable corner of Missoula.

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by jhwygirl

Reality.

This makes me mad. And sad.

Crooks works. The work he does – for AmeriCorp Vista – isn’t easy; it helps the community and Montana; and is woefully underpaid, at that.

AmeriCorp Vista’s mission? VISTAs commit to work for a year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency with a focus on fighting illiteracy, improving health services or strengthening community groups to bring individuals out of poverty. The program provides him with a small paycheck every other week, but it’s not enough to pay for all necessities so he, and most VISTAs, qualifies for SNAP

More Montana citizens receive federal assistance to pay for their groceries than ever before.

The number of recipients has climbed steadily every month for the past two years, with 12 percent of the state population receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

In May of this year, 116,368 Montanans received money for food. During May 2008, there were 80,911, according to Linda Snedigar, administrator for the Human and Community Services Division of the Montana Department of Health and Human Services.

I hope our Senator John Tester reads this – two months ago he proposed cutting $25 a week from the food stamp program.

by jhwygirl

Congress has set a new record. With a big ole’ kick in the keister from every Senate Republican and one Democrat – Ben Nelson of Nebraska – congress failed to pass an unemployment extension bill at at the highest unemployment rate in history.

Senator Tester, for his own part, had proposed to cut $25 per week from benefits to save $6 billion per year.

All while nearly 10% of this nation – and certain states are higher than that – are having trouble putting food on their tables.

Unemployment benefits expired nearly a month ago. By the time congress gets back to work, two million U.S. workers will be without benefits. Every economist recognizes that this will drive the economy into further dearth.

Welcome to Hooverville

This is a congress that managed to preserve a tax loophole that benefits wealthy money managers at private equity firms and other investment partnerships. They also derailed an effort to end widespread tax avoidance by owners of small businesses organized as S-corporations.

So here’s a proposal for congress, and here’s a proposal I pray that just one of our delegation will bring forward. Maybe Tester should be the one, considering he was the one who proposed cutting $25 from unemployed Montanan’s supper tables. So here it is: Let’s have one of you bring forward a proposal – you deficit hawks you – to cut your own pay. Let’s start with 3%…see if that pays for unemployed benefits for the 2 million without unemployment.

If that doesn’t work, how about 5%? Will that will hurt you? With 10% of Americans unemployed. With 54% underemployed?

7.2% of Montanans are unemployed. Representative Rehberg? The House is on the floor right now looking for solutions. How about you actually do something useful (after spending all that $ over the last 10 years) and give a hand-up to 7.2% of Montanans and 10% of Americans?

Is it too much to ask?

Shame on you all.

by jhwygirl

The growing need for food assistance is busting the seams of the Missoula Food Bank over there on 3rd Street, near Bernie’s Bakery, and they are looking for some warehouse space. Inexpensive or no cost/donation. Perhaps an arrangement where the rental cost below market is a combination rent + donation?

The Missoula Food Bank serves the Missoula, Lolo and Potomac areas. It has gone from serving an average of 50 households per day to more than twice that amount. That number is going to grow. Make no mistake that Missoula’s economy is worsening folks – when Walmart is laying off 46 workers where they usually lay off less than 10 after the holidays, things aren’t getting better any time soon.

How badly do they need warehouse space? A few years ago, a reporter was standing in the warehouse when he asked a volunteer “Where is the warehouse?”

A decent size warehouse can help cut down on the number of deliveries, and save where some of the biggest cost suck comes in – fuel and transportation.

Maybe you know someone? Or you are that person? If so, give the Missoula Food Bank a call. That link provides their phone number.

by problembear

as the recession advances into fall,  food banks accross America are struggling to find enough food to provide emergency relief to increasing crowds of clients. NPR covered this tonight on All Things Considered. as unemployment increases it will only get worse. wherever you live- do what you can.

ways to help:

donate food

if you can afford it, write a check even if it is only $ 5.00 and send it to your local food bank.

if you can donate time- volunteer. even two hours a month will enrich your life.

not sure where to help? this link will help you.




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