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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Tag: Colorado

Kids Count Report – Colorado

Colorado kids doing better in many areas, but face problems with suicide, school funding, infant mortality, report says, By Monte Whaley, March 22, 2018, Denver Post: “Colorado kids are doing better on several fronts than they were 25 years ago, including in areas of public health, early development and education, according to a report released Thursday. In 2016, Colorado’s infant mortality rate was nearly half of what it was in 1991, the teen birth rate plummeted by nearly 70 percent and the uninsured rate for kids reached a record low…”

Payday Lending – Colorado

Payday loans have average interest rates of 129% in Colorado. A ballot measure proposes capping them., By Brian Eason, February 21, 2018, Denver Post: “With a growing body of research showing that a prior round of reforms did not eliminate abuses in the payday-lending business in Colorado, reform supporters are now looking to ask voters to limit interest rates on the short-term loans…”

Homeless Day-Labor Program – Denver, CO

After Denver hired homeless people to shovel mulch and perform other day labor, more than 100 landed regular jobs, By Jon Murray, January 16, 2018, Denver Post: “Jeffrey Maes didn’t expect to live on the streets in his 50s. He had started several businesses, but he says the last one, a remodeling company, went south just as he was stretched thin on four properties. He lost them all, he said, and ended up without a home — along with the realization that he was considered unemployable. But last year, he heard about a Denver-sponsored day-labor program that had helped friends get back on their feet. After nearly four years of homelessness, Maes gave it a shot…”

State Children’s Health Insurance Program

  • Millions of kids may lose health insurance over missed deadline by Congress, By Elizabeth Chuck, November 17, 2017, NBC News: “The diagnosis was dire: Roland Williams, a St. Louis boy with a megawatt smile and a penchant for painting, had an extremely rare form of lung cancer, oncologists told his mother in May 2016. ‘They didn’t think he would make it to see his 10th birthday,’ Myra Gregory said. ‘But thankfully the insurance was covering everything at that time, so we were happy to make it to see number 10 and 11.’  Roland is covered under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a federal health insurance program that provides inexpensive coverage to nearly 9 million children in low-income families…”
  • Nevada wants $11.3M for Children’s Health Insurance Program, By Jessie Bekker, November 20, 2017, Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Nevada has requested an extra $11.3 million in federal funding to continue the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program while Congress decides if it will renew funding for the decades-old program…”
  • Minnesota dipping into own funds to keep kids’ health program running, By Michael Ollove, November 22, 2017, Stateline: “The state of Minnesota has run out of federal funds for its Children’s Health Insurance Program this month, requiring the state to contribute more of its own resources to keep the health plan in operation. It appears to be the first state to run out of federal funds for the program since Congress failed to meet a September deadline to reauthorize the program…”
  • End of Children’s Health Insurance Program looming in Colorado, Virginia, By Michael Ollove, November 21, 2017, Stateline: “Colorado and Virginia are preparing to send out letters to low-income families who get health services through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, notifying them that the program will end in those states in two months unless it is reauthorized by Congress before then…”

Kids Count Report – Colorado

Annual ‘Kids Count’ report reveals lower child poverty rates, racial disparity in Weld County, By Kelly Ragan, October 12, 2017, Greeley Tribune: “Fewer children in Weld County are living in poverty than have in many years, which is a sign of recovery from the Great Recession, according to the annual ‘Kids Count in Colorado!’ report…”

State Medicaid Programs – New Mexico, Colorado

Legal Representation in Evictions

Denver landlords tried to evict nearly 8,000 households last year. The success rate largely depended on one factor: attorneys., By Jennifer Brown, September 13, 2017, Denver Post: “Denver landlords tried to evict nearly 8,000 households last year. Their success depended largely on one factor: whether their tenants hired an attorney. And they almost never did. In Denver County eviction court, landlords have an attorney about 90 percent of the time. Tenants, on the other hand, are represented by counsel about 1 percent of the time, according to new research by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, which reviewed 93,000 eviction filings from 2001 through last year…”

Kids Count Report – Colorado

  • Percentage of Colorado kids in poverty drops to about 15 percent, By Jennifer Brown, April 27, 2017, Denver Post: “The percentage of Colorado children living in poverty is declining, but is still too high with an estimated 180,000 kids growing up in families at or below the federal poverty line, or about $24,000 for a family of four, according to the latest Kids Count report…”
  • Montezuma County’s child poverty rate nearly double state average, By Jacob Klopfenstein, April 27, 2017, The Journal: “More Montezuma County children are affected by poverty on average, and more are born into high-risk situations than the state as a whole, according to a new report from the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Every year, the group releases the ‘Kids Count in Colorado’ report, which tracks child wellbeing at the state and county levels. This year’s edition is mostly based on data from 2015…”

Prisoner Re-entry – Colorado

Homelessness, criminal histories create barriers for those seeking to re-enter Colorado society, By Amelia Arvesen, April 15, 2017, Denver Post: “On paper, Glenn Allan Tefft was sure he qualified for an open position at a Longmont, Colorado, printing plant even with his criminal background. But his spirits were low after he believed he was judged on his appearance during what he thought was a suspiciously brief interview. ‘People won’t even look at you,’ he said a week before the opportunity arose. ‘You can tell I’m homeless.’ Almost 39, a three-time felon who’s been to jail but not prison, Tefft is struggling to defy the odds also faced by 95 percent of the prison population that the Congressional Research Service expects will reintegrate back into the greater community at some point…”

State Minimum Wage – Colorado

Minimum wage fight: Raise it or not?, By Alicia Stice, September 23, 2016, The Coloradoan: “When an unexpected expense comes up — like the time her 9-year-old black lab, Libby, racked up a $700 vet bill — Lauren Gutierrez knows it’s time to pick up extra shifts.  In Fort Collins where she grew up, Gutierrez cannot afford to live alone.  This semester, she dropped two of her classes at Front Range Community College because the full course load was too much to handle along with her long shifts working as a caregiver for elderly residents.  Living as a low-wage worker has inspired Gutierrez to volunteer for the campaign to raise Colorado’s minimum wage from $8.31 an hour to $12 an hour by 2020, with increases every year in between…”

Kids Count Report – Colorado

  • Fewer Colorado kids living in poverty, but more identified as homeless, By Yesenia Robles, March 28, 2016, Denver Post: “The number of Colorado kids living in poverty in 2014 decreased for the second year in a row, but the number of kids identified as homeless doubled in the past six years, according to a report published Monday. The annual Kids Count  report by the nonprofit Colorado Children’s Campaign found about 15 percent of kids in Colorado under age 18 are living in poverty, down from 17 percent in 2013. The number is down to levels not seen since before the recession…”
  • Report: Fewer homeless students in Larimer Co., By Sarah Jane Kyle, March 27, 2016, Coloradoan: “The number of homeless students in Larimer County decreased by 1 percent last year. More than 1,700 students were served by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Program in Larimer County in Fall 2014, a reduction of 25 students from the previous school year. Larimer County was one of just two large Colorado counties to see a reduction in homeless students from the 2013-2014 to 2014-2015 school years, according to the 2016 Kids Count report by Colorado Children’s Campaign. Douglas County saw a 6 percent drop in its number of homeless students. Statewide, the number of homeless students increased by 2.5 percent, between the two measured years, even though the 2013 floods displaced a large number of Colorado families…”

Supportive Housing Program – Denver, CO

Denver initiative would tap $8.7 million from investors to house the homeless, By Jon Murray, January 12, 2016, Denver Post: “Denver officials on Tuesday will unveil long-awaited details of a novel $8.7 million ‘social impact bond’ contract that would draw on private dollars to house and rehabilitate 250 of its most chronically homeless.  In the proposed arrangement, investors providing startup money to the city could earn back as much as $11.7 million — including up to $3 million in bonuses — or they could lose out on full repayment.  It all would depend on how well the program keeps participants out of jail, the emergency room, detox and other costly services in the next five years — saving the city millions of dollars a year. Each client would get housing and a case manager along with mental health or drug counseling, if needed…”

Cliff Effect of Public Assistance Programs

Why getting ahead often feels like falling behind when you’re poor, By Megan Verlee, November 3, 2015, Colorado Public Radio: “Call it poverty’s ‘glass ceiling.’ The way many public benefit programs are structured, even minor increases in income can result in a big loss in assistance. That’s sometimes so large a loss that it can send families tumbling backwards just when they thought they were finally getting ahead. Longmont resident Tracey Jones knows all about the phenomenon, often called the ‘cliff effect.’ She’s been living at its edge for several years now…”

Wage Gap – Colorado

Report: Persistent wage gap contributing to poverty among women, By Alicia Wallace, October 27, 2015, Denver Post: “In 2004, the last time the Institute for Women’s Policy Research released state-by-state wage gap data, Colorado’s women earned a median salary of $32,200, or 78.7 percent of their male counterparts.  More than a decade later, women are earning 80 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same work…”

Kids Count Report – Colorado

Percent of Colorado kids in poverty down for first time since 2008, By Tom McGhee and Yesenia Robles, March 23, 2015, Denver Post: “For the first time since 2008, the percentage of Colorado children living in poverty decreased, but the recovery has been spotty, with minority kids and those in rural areas still facing the highest rates of child poverty, according to a new report.  ‘This is great news for Colorado,’ Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia said Monday at the unveiling of the annual Colorado Kids Count report. ‘But we know there are far too many children growing up in households where they don’t have the resources they need.’  The report measured poverty — defined as those living in households with income levels at, or below, $23,550 for a family of four — among children in 2013, the last year that statistics were available. It found that 17 percent of the state’s 1.2 million children lived in poverty…”

Foster Care Youth and Post-Secondary Education

Colorado senator’s bill aims to get youth from foster care, into college, By Jenny Brundin, February 10, 2015, Colorado Public Radio: “State Sen. Linda Newell meets a lot of youth in foster care. One day one of them posted a message on her Facebook page. ‘And [it] said, you’ve got to take a look into this,’ recalls the Littleton Democrat.  ‘This’ refers to the dismal figures, confirmed by a University Northern Colorado study last fall, on the number of foster youth graduating from high school…”

State Minimum Wages

  • Iowa minimum wage trails neighbors, but hike unlikely, By Matthew Patane, January 11, 2015, Des Moines Register: “In South Dakota, a worker earning minimum wage gets paid $8.50 an hour — $1.25 an hour more than in Iowa. In Nebraska, the minimum wage is $8 an hour, and in Illinois, it’s $8.25 — both higher than Iowa’s $7.25 minimum. In fact, except for Wisconsin, Iowa is surrounded by states that offer a higher minimum wage. And the difference can be substantial — adding up to an additional $800 to $2,600 a year for full-time workers earning a higher minimum…”
  • Minnesota restaurant owners want break on tipped workers, By Patrick Condon, January 13, 2015, Minneapolis-St.Paul Star Tribune: “Minnesota restaurateurs, sensing an opportunity with the new Republican House majority and fresh signs of sympathy from DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, plan to push for an exemption to last year’s minimum wage increase that would allow them to pay a lower base wage to tipped employees. ‘This last year has been a test for us,’ said Ed Fong, owner of David Fong’s, a Bloomington Chinese restaurant his parents opened in 1958. ‘With the minimum wage increase, and big increases in food costs — those are my two biggest costs, and I seem to have less and less control of those items.’ When the Legislature boosted the state minimum wage last year, a proposal to add the so-called ‘tipped employee tier’ nearly became part of the package. The idea had bipartisan support, but failed by one vote in the DFL-controlled House. Then Dayton, who strongly backed the minimum wage law, said shortly after signing it that he saw the logic behind an exemption for restaurants…”
  • Minimum wage increase in Colorado still leaves some workers short, By Greg Ruland, January 10, 2015, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: “The 23-cent increase in Colorado’s minimum wage provoked mixed reactions from local business owners and county officials, but did little to close the gap between full-time pay and the cost of living in Mesa County. The raise from $8 to $8.23 per hour — or for tipped employees, from $4.98 to $5.21 per hour — took effect Jan. 1. Spokesmen for two area restaurants employing minimum wage workers voiced different points of view about the increase…”

Minimum Wage – Colorado, Ohio

  • Minimum wage rising for Colorado workers starting Jan. 1, By Wayne Heilman, December 20, 2014, Colorado Springs Gazette: “Colorado’s minimum wage workers will get a 23-cent-an-hour raise starting Jan. 1, thanks to a state constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2006 that requires their pay to keep up with inflation. The minimum wage for workers who don’t receive tips increases to $8.23 an hour, while the minimum for servers and other workers who receive tips from customers rises to $5.21 an hour. The increases are the largest since a 28-cent-an-hour jump in 2012. For 2014, the amount went up 22 cents an hour…”
  • Minimum wage buying power in Ohio is shifting, By Jona Ison, December 21, 2014, Cincinnati Enquirer: “Ohio’s minimum wage is automatically adjusted each year by the rate of inflation, which is good for entry-level employees but might come at the expense of raises in the long term. Since 2006, the state’s minimum wage has been adjusted based on the consumer price index, which calculates the change of prices urban consumers pay for goods. The rate will be increasing from $7.95 to $8.10 on Jan. 1…”

Child Poverty

  • More than 1 in 4 school-aged children in Louisiana live in poverty, By Emily Lane, December 18, 2014, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “If a link exists between poverty and poor educational outcomes, Louisiana’s rate of school-aged children living below the poverty line may explain some of the state’s K-12 education struggles. Louisiana has the fourth highest rate of school-aged children living in poverty among the 50 United States and Washington, D.C., according to 2013 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Only Mississippi, Washington, D.C., and New Mexico, respectively, have higher rates of poverty among children ages 5-17…”
  • Census data: Across Colorado, child poverty rate slowly improving, By Nathaniel Minor, December 18, 2014, Colorado Public Radio: “The child poverty rates in counties across Colorado are slowly dropping after spiking during the Great Recession. New U.S. Census Bureau data released on Wednesday shows little movement from 2012 to 2013 in the child poverty rate for 44 of Colorado’s 64 counties. Only four counties saw increases of at least two percentage points: Alamosa, Dolores, Fremont and Hinsdale…”