Lifting Maine Children Out of Poverty Topic of Sag Dems Forum
Lifting Maine Children Out of Poverty Topic of Sagadahoc Democrats Forum
All members of the public interested in lifting Maine children out of poverty are invited to a Sagadahoc Democrats’ forum Tuesday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m., at the Topsham Library.
The percentage of Maine children living in deep poverty – less than $10,000 a year for a family of three – has increased at a rate eight times greater than the national average. At the same time, Maine has stockpiled over $150 million in federal funds meant to be used for families with children living in poverty.
At Tuesday’s forum, Chris Hastedt of Maine Equal Justice Partners, and Molly Bogart, from the office of House Speaker Sarah Gideon, will discuss a bill now being considered in Augusta to address these issues. According to its sponsor, Speaker Gideon, LD 1475, ‘LIFTing Maine Kids out of Poverty,’ would use existing funds to create effective paths out of poverty for Maine families with children. (LIFT stands for Leveraging Investments for Families Today.)
The anti-poverty legislation uses already-available funds to provide housing vouchers for working families at risk of homelessness, help lower heating costs, and provide the first Temporary Aid to Needy Families increase in 15 years. It lowers barriers to work by improving access to reliable transportation and child care, improving the program which helps working parents keep their jobs in case of an unexpected emergency, and mitigating the effect of the “welfare cliff” by raising the State Earned Income Tax Credit for the lowest-wage working families with children.
“This is sensible legislation that uses funds that will otherwise go to waste to make a real difference in the lives of poor children in Maine,” said Bronwen Tudor, Chair of the Sagadahoc County Democratic Committee. “We need to act. I encourage everyone interested in fostering better incomes, better jobs, better lives for Maine families, to come and hear firsthand what we can do.”
There will be an opportunity at the free event, held at the Topsham Library, 25 Foreside Road, for audience members to ask questions and take advocacy action.