|Every community must face an ever-changing environment and its influence on human well-being. How a community responds can be shaped by effective planning. That’s where United Community Services of Johnson County comes in. Through information, collaborative planning and mobilization of resources, the availability of health and human services can be enhanced to meet present and emerging needs.
Johnson County Poverty Trend
According to the 2013 Census date released today, the overall county poverty rate fell by nearly a percentage point, to 5.9%. The number of poor was estimated at 32,880, nearly 5,000 fewer people than 2012.
The good news is the data suggest that the sharp uptick that came with the Great Recession is starting to reverse. The bad news is the number of poor is still 10,000 higher than before the Great Recession. New Release, 2013 Poverty Data for Johnson County
2014 Human Service Summit
On June 10, UCS held its 2014 Human Service summit at the KU Edwards Campus’ BEST Conference Center. The keynote speaker was Elizabeth Kneebone, co-author of Confronting Suburban Poverty in America. Kneebone shared strategies found to be effective in confronting poverty in suburban areas. For more information, go to our Program Area tab above and click on Human Service Summit.
Elizabeth’s PowerPoint presentation, click here.
Kansas Could Do More for Poor Families with Children
A New Study by UCS A months-long study by United Community Services of Johnson County shows that the Kansas Department for Children and Families could do more to help poor families become and remain financially stable. The report details state policies and rules since 2011 that determine eligibility for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the leading program to help the poorest families. UCS found that these rules overall appear designed to reduce caseloads rather than help families to succeed. Only about one in 10 TANF cases was closed this year because the recipient earned too much to retain eligibility. State budgetary trends since 2008 show that less than one-third of all TANF spending in fiscal year 2013 goes for essential services of cash assistance, child care and employment services, down from more than one-half in FY 2008. Kansas has money to improve spending on core TANF programs. The beginning balance in TANF block grant funds was $48.7 million at the start of this fiscal year. Meanwhile cash benefits for Kansas’ poorest families with children are the same today, in actual dollars, as when the program started in 1996. When considered together, the state’s policies and budgetary decisions present challenges to the poorest of Kansas families, who have turned to the state for help, often as a last resort. Recommendations are offered to generate conversation about improvements. Download the full report.
Kansas Action for Children (KAC) campaign
KAC launched a new campaign to raise awareness about TANF and how it can lift families out of poverty. Read the story here.
Human Service Safety Net. A one-page handout 2014 edition highlighting some of the local programs that rely on state/federal funding administered by the State of Kansas.