Please read these questions and let us know what your organization and others in the Diamond State are doing to move legislation and policy in a direction that helps those in need
Virtually all states have budget deficits and extensive financial problems this year and beyond. The states are also the custodians and administrators of multi billions of dollars of federal assistance programs. State policies related to hunger and poverty contain a great deal of state money that is in short supply right now but much more federal money that can grow as the use of the programs grows.
These state policy questions are meant to begin a conversation about how states can deliver more services to their citizens who are facing extreme long term unemployment, hunger, home foreclosures and loss of health insurance and pensions.
Please read them and let us know what your organization and others in your state are doing to move legislation and policy in a direction that helps those in need, especially the poorest of the poor, the millions of new poor, seniors, returning vets, children and the homeless.
Our intention is to create a place on our website that will highlight policy actions that state based organizations are taking and how they are proceeding. We also hope to host a WhyHunger State Policy Award for the best state policies in the U.S.A.
1) The infant mortality rate is 7.5 deaths per 1,000 live births. This is among the highest in the country. What is the state doing to combat this? How successful have the programs been?
2) Delaware does not have a Shared Work Program. Why not? Is there any effort to bring one to the state?
3) Participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is extremely low and the monthly benefit is below the national average. Who is working to reach out to more people and increase awareness and participation? Is there any effort to increase the monthly benefit in order to encourage participation?
4) There is no WIC Farmers’ Market Program or Senior Farmers’ Market Program. The number of total Farmers’ Markets is the lowest is the country at only 8. What is being done to create more Farmers’ Markets? Is any effort being made to include WIC or Senior Farmers’ Market Programs into the existing markets?
5) The percent of jobs which pay below the federal poverty line is above the national average. Is there any movement to introduce a living wage?
6) Delaware has the 5th highest percentage of renters that spend 30% or more of their income on rent and utilities. Are there any legislators committed to create more low income and affordable housing?
7) Only 7% of 4-year olds and no 3-year olds are enrolled in State Pre-K. Delaware has one of the highest per child spending rates for the State Pre-K program. Is anything being done to expand State Pre-K to increase enrollment and take advantage of the well above average state funding?
8) The high school completion rate in Delaware is more than ten percent below the national average. Do you know of any efforts within your state to help insure that children stay in school and earn their diplomas?
9) What other statewide policies or programs are you aware of that are helping to fight hunger and poverty, or are there any that are responsible for increasing it?
Please let us know what your organization and others in your state are doing to move legislation and policy in a direction to address these questions by contacting Executive Director and Co-Founder Bill Ayres at [email protected].
Feel free to inform us of any mistakes we may have made in any of these questions. Also we would appreciate any comments on policies or statistics that might have been overlooked.