Issues and Challenges

  • Senior citizenForty-six million live in poverty in the United States--half below 50 percent of the poverty line. People of color are three times as likely to be poor as whites, and more than one in five poor Americans are children.
  • Publicly funded assistance is politically unpopular in tough economic times resulting in programs that are underfunded, have unreasonable eligibility conditions, do not serve everyone in need, and are punitive.
  • Low-income individuals face barriers to skills training and education and lack employment and career opportunities. Programs to help them overcome barriers must be well-designed and fairly administered.
  • Too many employers engage in workplace practices that undermine low-income workers' efforts to obtain economic stability and hinder workers' ability to advance.

Policy Agenda

  • Adopt fair statutes, rules, policies, and procedures, and adequately fund programs that provide basic assistance, work supports, and skill-building, educational, and employment opportunites.
  • Integrate job training, education, and employment opportunities with economic development to improve policies and implement programs that lead to lasting skills and a career.
  • Make cash assistance available to make families economically secure; expand access to food and nutrition programs; and ensure that parents who work and go to school have access to affordable, quality child care.
  • Ensure that all vulnerable persons, such as noncitizens and English language learners, people with disabilities or chrnoic medical conditions, and the homeless, have equal access to publicly funded services and programs.
  • Improve access to quality education and skill building opportunities. Advocate for programs and policies that build job skills that lead to family-sustaining employment and that foster college enrollment and completion.
  • Ensure fair workplaces. Advocate for fair employment policies and practices that provide economic stability and advancement in the workplace, including the elimination of race and sex discrimination. Advocate for the adoption of paid sick days and paid family and medical leave, expansion of the rights of domestic workers, and increases in the minimum wage, including for tipped workers.