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News stories tagged with "poverty"

Time's running out on the old GED

39 million Americans, a fifth of the population, never completed high school, one of the factors used to measure literacy rates. Of those, only about 1% earn a GED certificate or the equivalent of a high school diploma each year. The test, which has been around since 1942, is poised to undergo major changes to prepare its recipients for a competitive workplace.

For Front and Center, Laurie Stern has this story from Minnesota.  Go to full article
Poverty and hunger are not crimes, so we shouldn’t treat the poor or the hungry as criminals. —Cuomo

NY drops fingerprinting requirement to get food stamps

Governor Cuomo announced Thursday that he's rescinding a state regulation that requires food stamp recipients be fingerprinted. As Karen DeWitt reports, the governor is saying the poor and hungry are not criminals, and shouldn't be treated that way.  Go to full article
Helping Hands of Potsdam director Tom Chapell and other volunteers unload a donation of firewood
Helping Hands of Potsdam director Tom Chapell and other volunteers unload a donation of firewood

Volunteers fill gaps left by social service funding cuts

As local, state and federal governments are looking for ways to do more with less money, demand for aid and services to the poor is increasing.

That's creating some gaps between government-funded organizations' missions and their means.

In St. Lawrence County, volunteer organizations are stepping in to fill some of those gaps--
And as Nora Flaherty reports, they're doing it by being creative--and harnessing local resources.  Go to full article
Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the New York State Assembly

Silver pushes for minimum wage hike, worries about pension changes

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is continuing to push for his bill to increase the state's minimum wage. The Speaker is also expressing reservations about Governor Cuomo's plan to offer an option of 401k-style retirement plans for future state workers. In Albany, Karen DeWitt has the details.  Go to full article
Comlinks food distribution warehouse in Malone
Comlinks food distribution warehouse in Malone

Food gleaning program returns to its roots

It's been a tough year for the community action agency Comlinks in Malone. It made headlines in February when the former Comlinks director was indicted for theft. And now, its program to distribute to food pantries and soup kitchens is facing steep budget cuts from the state.

This week, Comlinks announced it will need to cut services, and will no longer be making food deliveries west of Massena.

Julie Grant recently visited the Comlinks food distribution warehouse in Malone, and found that the organization is trying to get back to its roots.  Go to full article
WW II-era barracks being demolished to make way for new housing. Photo: Army Corps of Engineers
WW II-era barracks being demolished to make way for new housing. Photo: Army Corps of Engineers

Ft. Drum housing crunch requires public investment

The buildup of Fort Drum near Watertown has made Jefferson County one of the fastest growing places in Upstate New York. But it's also created a shortage of rental houses for military families and for civilians.

The problem hasn't come to a head yet because soldiers are constantly rotating in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan. But as the U.S. draws down troop presence in the Middle East, the military population around Fort Drum is expected to swell.

Officials have been leading a public-private effort to build more housing for years. Joanna Richards reports now is crunch time.  Go to full article
Not only (are) summers tougher, but we're seeing just throughout the traditional year more need now than ever.

Food pantries gear up for a tough summer

The city of Watertown this week granted two food pantries' requests for special funding to buy more emergency food aid.

The pantries say they always see more need in summer, when children on free or reduced-price school breakfasts and lunches aren't getting those meals. As this summer approaches, the slow economy and rising costs means these nonprofit groups are struggling to keep up with increased demand. Joanna Richards has the story.  Go to full article
A Mom Prom preview in downtown Canton Wednesday.
A Mom Prom preview in downtown Canton Wednesday.

Silly for a serious cause

A group of women in Canton has organized a fundraiser for widows in Malawi, Africa next week.

The "Mom Prom" at the Best Western in Canton on Friday, June 10 will feature vintage prom dresses and long-forgotten bridesmaid gowns.

Organizer Tiffany Zook told Todd Moe that the event is for women of all ages. Money raised will benefit the Women of Grace Widows' Fund, which alleviates poverty and provides opportunities for widows in Malawi.  Go to full article

ComLinks blasted in state audit; DA investigation urged

A state audit is slamming the management of one of the North Country's largest non-profit social service agencies. A Comptroller's report released yesterday claims that ComLinks, headquartered in Malone, has suffered for years from mismanagement and nepotism.

The audit also alleges that former ComLinks CEO Nancy Reich diverted nearly $100,000 in funds for her private use.  Go to full article

Story 2.0: Job hunting "worse than ever"

Millions of Americans whose unemployment benefits have run out are breathing a sigh of relief. The Senate is poised to pass legislation today restoring the benefits. The measure would then go to the House for a final vote. It is expected to pass then go on to President Barack Obama later this week.

A continuing fear of social services folks is what happens when unemployment benefits do run out. The jobless rate still hovers around 10%, and that doesn't include people who have stopped looking for a job out of frustration. Last December, the staff at One Stop Career Center in Canton predicted "a tsunami of job seekers" this year. It turns out they were right. In our ongoing series Story 2.0, we'll revisit the One Stop Career Center. But first, here's an excerpt from David Sommerstein's story from last winter.  Go to full article

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