NYSCAA Newsletter - November 2019

Dear Friend,

This month I had the pleasure of meeting with several Executive Directors at the 2019 Executive Director's Seminar and Orientation. It was a great turnout and a very productive few days of sessions and conversations.

We also had two very successful regional ROMA Trainings hosted by Pro Action of Steuben & Yates and the Schenectady Community Action Program. The Introduction to ROMA Trainings assist CAA staff members in becoming more familiar with ROMA principles and practices. We will be coordinating more regional Introduction to ROMA trainings that will take place in 2020. Please reach out to Charles Barbay, [email protected], if you are interested in hosting a training or would like more information.

I would also like to extend congratulations to Joe Golden, Marketing Coordinator at Pro Action of Steuben and Yates, our most recent Certified ROMA Implementer. He will become a new member of the New York ROMA Alliance. Congratulations Joe!

We look forward to seeing you at our future events! It is our goal to always provide you an opportunity to connect, learn, and share with your Community Action colleagues.

As we move into the season of giving thanks, we at NYSCAA are filled with gratitude for all you do in the communities throughout the state to improve conditions for those who are in need. We wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.


Jackie Orr, NCRT 

In this newsletter..

November's Poverty Myth: "Poverty is only found in cities."- False!

In the United States, poverty is widely dispersed with respect to location. Approximately 90% of those in poverty live outside of extremely poor urban neighborhoods. Households in poverty can be found throughout a variety of urban and suburban landscapes, as well as in small towns and communities across rural America. This dispersion of poverty has been increasing over the past 20 years, particularly within suburban areas.

There is also a widespread perception that most individuals in poverty are nonwhite. According to the latest Census Bureau numbers, two thirds, or 66%, of those below the poverty line identified themselves as white. This percentage has held steady over the past several decades. Nevertheless, it is also true that if you are nonwhite, your risk of poverty is much higher than that for whites.

To find out more about this month's poverty myth and other commonly misunderstood poverty myths, click here.


Photos from the CEO/Executive Director Orientation & Seminar

NYSCAA CEO, Jackie Orr, introduces the State Agency Representatives Panel.

Alison Hunt, Congressman Tom Reed's Office, addresses the group of Executive Directors during the Legislative Panel discussion.

Members of the State Office Agency Representatives Panel speak with NY CAA Executive Directors about strengthening the relationship of the CAA Network and NYS Agencies.

Regional Introduction to ROMA Trainings

The photos below are from the Introduction to ROMA Trainings where Trainer candidates practiced delivering the ROMA material to an audience of Community Action professionals.

Pictured above: Pro Action Introduction to ROMA Training, 10/29/19

Pictured above: SCAP Introduction to ROMA Training, 10/30/19

Hard to Count Data Now Available on the NYSCAA Data Hub

The NYSCAA Data Hub on the CARES Engagement Network allows Community Action Agencies to create a Needs Assessment based on a variety of State and Federal sources, and also offers a Map Room to make a map of your community with multiple data layers. Recently, we've added data to the Map Room that displays areas across New York State defined as Hard to Count by the US decennial census. The data is from the US Census Planning Database and includes 2019 Response Rates, Mail Return Rates, Low Response Score, and ACS Response Rates. Visit the NYSCAA Data Hub to see if your area of the state was defined as Hard to Count.

Highlights from our Agencies


Have something you would like to share in our upcoming newsletter? Email [email protected]!    

Pictures appreciated!

Pro Action of Steuben and Yates "Mom Prom"

On November 2, 2019 ladies from the community came together to help strengthen families throughout Steuben and Yates counties by supporting Pro Action’s Seventh Annual “Mom Prom”, a fundraiser for CHAMP (Caring Hearts and Minds of Pro Action). Mom Prom helps to raise money and assist low income families who struggle to pay their monthly expenses due to rising fuel costs, low wages, and unexpected bills. The annual event brings over 300 women to come together to make a real difference in the lives of children and families, through their support of the CHAMP program.

Visit Pro Action of Steuben and Yates' website to see what other services are available to the community!

Three New York Community Action Agencies to Receive Grants to Aid the Homeless

The state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance announced $16.4 million in annual funding for 64 non-profit organizations and local government entities. Among them are Chautauqua Opportunities Inc.,Cattaraugus Community Action, and Allegany County Community Opportunities and Rural Development.

Program funding can be used for street outreach to help those experiencing homelessness receive assistance, supportive services or operating expenses at emergency drop-in centers, or overnight shelters certain costs associated with transitional housing, and rapid rehousing for homeless families or individuals or survivors of domestic violence. The grants can also fund programs designed to prevent homelessness by assisting eligible persons and families in maintaining their permanent housing. Click here for the full article.

Census 2020

Governor Cuomo Announces $60 Million to Support Counting Every New Yorker in the 2020 Census

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York State will spend as much as $60 million to make sure that every New Yorker is counted in the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census. The State will leverage resources across dozens of agencies, public authorities, CUNY and SUNY that regularly interact with millions of New Yorkers. Together, they will launch a wide-reaching campaign valued at up to $40 million from existing resources that will inform the public about the Census and support efforts to encourage residents to complete the questionnaire. Additionally, $20 million from the FY 2020 Budget is being made available to support targeted efforts in hard to reach communities.

2020 Census Public Service Announcements Now Available

The U.S. Census Bureau released a series of public service announcements (PSAs) about the 2020 Census that are now available through a PSA toolkit on 2020census.gov.

PSAs are available in segments ranging from 15 seconds to one minute and can be used on your social media platforms and aired during unpaid or donated TV, radio, and online spots. They are designed for various audiences and are offered in multiple languages.

The toolkit highlights some of our outreach initiatives, including Statistics in Schools and counting young children, as well as general explanations on topics like “What Is the Census” and “How do I Take the 2020 Census.” Click here to access the PSA Toolkit.

2020 Census - Who Should I Count?

The 2020 Census will count every person living in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. If you are completing the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living and sleeping in your home most of the time as of April 1, 2020 (Census Day).

You may have questions about how people in some special circumstances are counted on the 2020 Census, including people who move on Census Day, people born on Census Day, military members, and more. Click here to find out who you should count on your census form.

Census 2020 - Community Action Partnership

Make sure to visit the Community Action Partnership's Census 2020 webpage to stay up-to-date on the latest news and information about the upcoming 2020 Census. This once in a decade event is critical for Community Action and the families and communities we serve across the country, and it is essential that all people are counted.

CSBG National Partner Resources

HHS Releases 2020 LIHEAP Funds

The Office of Community Services (OCS) within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced the release of approximately $3.32 billion of Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 regular block grant funding to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) grantees. This funding is provided under the Continuing Resolution, which the President signed into law on September 27, 2019. This release reflects 90 percent of the funds available under the Continuing Resolution to grantees at the beginning of the program year. The full Dear Colleague Letter from HHS as well as a table of state allocations can be found here.

Additional Resources

Bringing Social Safety Net Benefits Online

Code for America, a non-partisan non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gap between private and public technology use, has released a 50-state survey on social safety net applications. The goal was to shed light on archaic application processes in order to incentivize states to employ more efficient, "human-centered safety net" applications. The report reviews SNAP, Medicaid, TANF, WIC, and LIHEAP programs and identifies three main application characteristics: online availability; universal applications; and time to completion. Click here for more information.

Highlighted Findings:

  • 70% of all applications surveyed are available online.
  • Most states have combined at least 2 of their benefit applications, but it's rare for a state to combine 5 or more safety net programs into 1 application.
  • Time to completion varies widely among states, owing to factors such as whether applications are mobile friendly, how many pages it takes to complete an application, and whether or not there is a login requirement.
  • CFA includes case-studies of 3 states representing strong, average, and weak benefit application processes.
  • The report also includes a scorecard for each state with useful information about how each state approaches benefit applications and the corresponding outcomes.

Low-Income Hispanic Families Burdened with High Child Care Costs

A new report from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families finds that many low-income Hispanic families are struggling to find affordable child care. While numerous federally funded programs exist to provide high quality care for low-income families, a disproportionate number of Hispanic families are not receiving assistance.

Forty percent of Hispanic parents who work full time, year-round are considered low-income, with roughly one-third of these households burdened with high child care costs. Of those families in the high cost category, nearly one-third of weekly income is spent on child care, as compared to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommendation of 7 percent or less of total income. Click here to read more.

Disrupting Food Insecurity: Tapping Data for Strategies that Tackle the Root Causes

An estimated 40 million Americans—including 12.5 million children —struggle with food insecurity, meaning they can’t afford an adequate diet. Federal nutrition programs and charitable meals make up the first line of defense, but solving this challenge will require communities to go beyond food to disrupt the root causes of economic distress.

This dashboard equips counties with data about their food insecurity levels and related risk factors, identifies cross-cutting opportunities for intervention, and groups counties by shared challenges. Dive into your county’s data and explore strategies tailored to your county.

Free Job Listings for Members

Do you need to get the word out about a job opportunity at your agency?  Click here to view CA job listings and add your own! 

National Professional Development Opportunities

Community Action Partnership
2020 Annual Training Conference
January 8th-10th, 2020 - San Juan, Puerto Rico
Click here for more information.

National Association for State Community Services Programs
2020 Winter Training Conference
February 26th-28th, 2020 - Arlington, Virginia
Click here for more information.

National Community Action Foundation
2020 Annual Conference March 17th-20th, 2020

CAPLAW National Training Conference
June 30th - July 2nd, 2020 - Chicago, Illinois