Policy Bits ~ 3 Things to Know & Watch This Week
February 8-14, 2016 ~ Karly Malpiede Andrus
Colorado Ranks 46th in Nation for Connecting Families with Food Stamps
- Colorado continues a legacy of trouble getting qualified people SNAP benefits, ranking 46th in the nation with 2013 enrollment 57% to the national average of 75%; this is progress over 2004 when only 36% of eligible residents received food stamp benefits. With nearly one in seven struggling with food insecurity it is not just a moral question, it’s economic because if 100% of eligible individuals and families were enrolled the state would receive $686M more per year in our grocery stores which would boast local jobs and economic activity. While the state oversees the program the counties have latitude in implementing it which can lead to great inconsistencies. http://goo.gl/zTdg8d
- The Colorado Department of Human Services, which administers the program, is “committed to continuous improvement on food assistance measures” but there is no doubt that an increase in political will could go a long way toward improvement.
EPA Smart School Siting Tool: Connections in Land Use & Educational Outcomes
- Developed as part of the EPA’s Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program, the Smart School Siting Tool contains a User Guide, Assessment & Planning Workbook and a comprehensive Site Comparison Workbook. The goal is to suggest the importance of coordinating and aligning school siting decisions and other community decisions, whereas in many communities, planning and decisions about other community priorities are disconnected. http://goo.gl/kF3LVn
- In the Denver region we are already engaging in many of these practices but this tool may be helpful to inform our current work as well as help us articulate its resounding importance to the broader community.
How Super Bowl 50 Became Ground Zero For Fight Over Homelessness & Equity
- The cost of hosting the Super Bowl, estimated at $5M for San Francisco, has unleashed anger among residents already resentful of the influx of expensive restaurants, high-end stores and rich, young tech workers who have snapped up apartments in historically low-income neighborhoods. Meanwhile the city’s homeless population, 61% of whom were working when they became homeless, have been moved from view by City police. Many see this as a golden economic opportunity for the city but the irony of building a “super bowl city” to cater to those attending the super bowl who paid thousands for at ticket is a hard pill for working poor residents to swallow. http://goo.gl/idRPYt
- When it comes to money it’s all relative they say but the hard fact is a city needs to be mindful of how they spend precious taxpayer dollars. To be clear, large scale events most definitely can generate huge economic activity but the negotiation of such large scale deals, be them events or infrastructure projects, needs to be done in an equitable, ethical and transparent manner which recognizes the need for city officials to fight for their residents’ best interests. This tale from the field has pointed resonance as Denver has been mentioned as a contender for Super Bowl host city in the future, should we be honored to host the grand game will this be us?