ACAA in the News

March 17, 2017

PROPOSED FEDERAL BUDGET CUTS WILL DIRECTLY IMPACT MORE THAN A QUARTER MILLION LOW-INCOME INDIVIDUALS IN ARIZONA

Eliminating Community Development Block Grants Alone Would Affect 232,217 People

PHOENIX, Ariz. (March 17, 2017): President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts of programs that provide services to people who are working to become financially stable would impact more than a quarter million Arizona residents.

The proposed budget, which will spend billions of dollars on military and border security, would, among other tactics, eliminate funding of Community Service Block Grants (CSBG) which provided services to 232,217 low-income individuals in Arizona in 2016, according to the National Association for State Community Service Programs.

Among the vulnerable populations assisted by 11 Community Action Agencies in Arizona with CSBG funding were:

  • 67,068 children
  • 32,317 people with disabilities
  • 25,780 people who lacked health insurance, and
  • 24,114 seniors.

“Performance outcomes for CSBG-funded programs in 2016 proved without question that they are effective and well used.  Eliminating them will end up creating more homelessness as families will be making incredibly difficult choices about paying the rent, eating, heating and cooling their homes and taking their medication,” said Cynthia Zwick, executive director of the Arizona Community Action Association.  “Eliminating funding for these programs will be a devastating blow to hundreds of thousands of well-meaning working individuals and families in Arizona and millions across the country trying to better their lives and the lives of their children and families.  This is beyond the pale.  This is not what America stands for.”

CSBG-funded programs in Arizona produced results showing that:

  • 41,703 individuals with low incomes reduced or eliminated barriers to initial or continuous employment, found a job, increased their income or achieved “living wage” employment and benefits.
  • 58,110 vulnerable individuals with low incomes received services from the CSBG network and secured or maintained an independent living situation as a result.
  • 26,144 households with low incomes increased their financial assets or financial skills.
  • 207,427 individuals and families with low incomes received emergency assistance from the CSBG network.

Nearly 85% of families served by the Community Action network in Arizona lived below 100% of Federal Poverty Guidelines and 35% of families served in Arizona were in severe poverty, living below 50% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Budget proposals also call for the elimination of funding for weatherization programs and more than $19 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which will affect nearly 80,000 Arizonans.

Eliminating CSBG funding also will severely impact Meals on Wheels, homeless shelters and neighborhood revitalization efforts.

“Now is the time to step up and be loud, clear and very vocal with elected officials locally and nationally that this proposed budget will create disastrous outcomes that will destroy families,” Zwick said.

 

About The Arizona Community Action Association: The Arizona Community Action Association promotes economic self-sufficiency for low-income people through collaborations with Arizona’s Community Action Agencies to develop solutions to poverty through public-private partnerships, research, and interagency cooperation.  The ACAA mission is to advocate, educate and partner to prevent and alleviate poverty.  For information, visit www.azcaa.org or call (602) 604-0640.

 

March 8, 2016 – KJZZ

ARIZONA LOW-INCOME FAMILIES FACE DIFFICULT DECISIONS WHEN BENEFITS RUN OUT

Arizona has some of the strictest rules in place for public benefits – things like food stamps and cash assistance for needy families.

Some advocates say they’re seeing that lead to families selling their food stamps to pay for things like rent. Cynthia Zwick, executive director of Arizona Community Action Association, and Andrea Chavez, the career development manager for Save the Family in Mesa, spoke about two sides of the issue. (Click here for complete story.)

March 4, 2016 – The Arizona Republic

GOP GIVES PREDATORY LOANS A WIN

Cynthia Zwick of the Arizona Community Action Association says few of these loans get paid off in a month because the people who need them are in bad financial shape. (Click here for complete story.)

March 3, 2016 – Phoenix Business Journal

SMALL BUSINESSES COULD BE THE VICTIM WITH NEW HIGH PERCENTAGE FLEX LOAN LAW

“With the working poor and unbanked being the targets of these loans, the push back into the workplace can be a problem for employers,” said Cynthia Zwick, executive director of the Arizona Community Action Association. (Click here for complete story.)

February 25, 2016 – The Arizona Republic

PAYDAY LOANS RETURN — AGAIN

“They don’t call them payday loans,” says Cynthia Zwick of the Arizona Community Action Association told me when the last bill was defeated. “They call them flex loans – but it’s essentially the same product.” (Click here for complete story.)

February 12, 2016 – The Arizona Republic

PAYDAY LOANS ARE BACK WITH A NEW NAME

But Zwick says few of these loans get paid off in a month. Most are rolled over time and again by the people who were desperate enough to take them out in the first place. (Click here for complete story.)

January 7, 2016 – Scottsdale Independent

THIRD VIDEO IN SERIES TACKLES IMPACT OF HUNGER ON OVERALL HEALTH

The third of five informational videos in the #ImagineaSolution hunger awareness campaign, to be released this week at www.azcaa.org and www.azfoodbanks.org, addresses the effect of nutrition on an individual’s overall health and asks the public to help develop solutions to this serious problem in communities across Arizona. . . .  (Click here for complete story and here for more about #ImagineaSolution.)

November 14, 2015 – Arizona Daily Star

TEP RATE REQUEST FACES SWIFT CRITICISM

Scrutiny of Tucson Electric Power Co.’s recent request to raise rates has just begun, but a proposal to double the basic monthly service charge is raising concerns among community groups and consumer advocates. . . .

 “We think it punishes low-income customers,” Cynthia Zwick, executive director of the Phoenix-based Arizona Community Action Association, said of the basic-charge increase. . . . (Click here for complete story.)

October 23, 2015 – Fox News-Politics

CUT OFF:  ARIZONA TO ENFORCE NATION’S TOUGHEST LIMIT ON CASH ASSISTANCE

. . . . But Cynthia Zwick of the non-profit Arizona Community Action Association says this cut will hit poor Arizona families hard. 

“Twelve months may work for some, but likely won’t work for many.  It also assumes that there is a reliable and effective jobs program in the state that is helping prepare and place families in living wage jobs.  In Arizona 26% of our jobs are low wage, meaning families in these jobs still can’t make ends meet,” said Zwick.  (Click here for complete story.)

October 13, 2015 – ABC 15 Arizona

AGENCIES SAY EXPECT MORE HUNGER, HOMELESSNESS WITH CASH ASSISTANCE CUTS
In an interview for this news story about the proposed TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) cuts,  Cynthia Zwick (ACAA Executive Director) said, “The program is intended to help families re-enter the workforce and become self-sufficient, so what this does is kind of pull the rug out from under them.” (Click here for complete story with video.)

October 12, 2015 – CN Cronkite News – Arizona PBS

HUNDREDS OF ARIZONA’S POOREST FAMILIES WILL BE DROPPED FROM A CASH ASSISTANCE PROGRAM IN JULY
“I think what we have in Arizona is an aggressive and intentional effort to undermine support for vulnerable families,” said Cynthia Zwick, Executive Director for the Arizona Community Action Association, in an interview with Sydney Glenn. (Click here for complete post.)

October 1, 2015 – Arizona Capitol Times

In this Guest Opinion Cynthia Zwick (ACAA Executive Director) and Kelly Griffith (Center for Economic Integrity Executive Director) address H.R. 1266, which proposes to expand the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  “There is absolutely no justifiable reason to expand a structure that weakens an efficiently effective agency.” (Click here for full opinion.)

Click here to see this opinion printed in the Verde Independent on October 3, 2015.

August 19, 2015 – KJZZ

How a $15 Minimum Wage Would Affect Arizona
In this interview with Mark Brodie, ACAA Deputy Director Kelly McGowan questions whether the 2013 numbers used in a recently released study reflect the living wage reality today in Arizona.

August 2, 2015 – azcentral.com

An endorsement for Prop. 104 from Cynthia Zwick, ACAA Exec. Director
Prop. 104 makes transportation more affordable
That’s the goal of the Arizona Community Action Association and Community Action Agencies: To help individuals move toward financial independence. . . .
(Click here for full article.)

July 22, 2015 – Tucson Sentinel.com

Arizona continues to fare poorly in national child well-being scorecard
Despite making progress in most areas, Arizona remained mired at 46th among states for overall child well-being in the 2015 KidsCount report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. . . . “Unfortunately, it’s not a surprise,” said Cynthia Zwick, executive director of the Arizona Community Action Association. “Incredibly disappointing but not surprising.” . . . . (Click here for full article.)

July 7, 2015 – E&E Publishing, LLC

Climate:  Pro-coal Law set stage for Clean Power Plan Pain in rural AZ
. . . .  Cynthia Zwick, executive director at the Arizona Community Action Association, which advocates for low-income ratepayers, said poverty is entrenched in these areas. Industries are few, and most jobs are in the agriculture or service industries that pay very little. . . .  (Click here for full article.)

July 3, 2015 – ABC 15 Arizona

Valley organization works to convince Arizona businesses to pay a living wage. (Click here for video and transcript.)

June 18, 2015 – PBS Arizona Horizon

The Arizona Community Action Association has received a $125,000 grant from St. Luke’s Health Initiative to design and implement “Raise Arizona,” a statewide living wage initiative to identify, recruit, certify and recognize employers that pay a living wage. Kelly McGowan, ACAA Deputy Director, discussed the concept of a living wage with Tom Jenney of Americans for Prosperity.   (Click here for video.)

June 17, 2015 – East Valley Tribune – St. Luke’s awards Arizona Community Action Association $125K grant

The Arizona Community Action Association (ACAA) will use a $125,000 St. Luke’s Health Initiative innovation grant to design and implement Raise Arizona, a statewide living wage initiative to identify, recruit, certify and recognize employers that pay a living wage.

In total, SLHI awarded grants totaling $475,000 to ACAA, city of Phoenix-FitPHX, Cultivate South Phoenix Program and The Rightcare Foundation.

June 12, 2015 – Next City (Alexis Stephens) – Living Wage Campaigns Are Steamrolling Through Cities

Last week, I wrote about how women of color are on the front lines of the “Fight for 15” campaign to raise the hourly minimum wage to $15 in cities. On Sunday, the issue got a boost as a talking point in the 2016 presidential campaign when Hillary Clinton phoned into the national Fight for $15 convention in Detroit and offered support to the congregation of fast-food workers. (Read full article.)

June 8, 2015 – Phoenix Business Journal

A Phoenix-based group has received a $125,000 grant and will use the money to encourage businesses to pay their workers a living wage. . . .

“As an anti-poverty organization, our mission and our day-to-day focus is to end poverty in Arizona,” Zwick (Cynthia Zwick, ACAA Executive Director) said. “Among the most important ways to do that is to provide employees with a living wage that can help them move toward financial stability and independence.”  (Read full article.)

June 4, 2015 – The Eloy Enterprise – Eloy Pastor Fred Kammann wins Heart in Hand Award

Eloy pastor Fred Kammann, third from right, stands with other award winners after he received the Heart in Hand award at the Arizona Community Action Association (ACAA) annual conference May 7.  (Read full article.)

May 29, 2015 – LIHEAP Blog (Claire Krawsczyn) – Arizona Summer:  LIHEAP, Weatherization, and Closing the Funding Gap

“We’re expecting a really hot summer,” quips Cynthia Zwick, Director of the Arizona Community Action Association (ACAA), one of the leading providers of LIHEAP and other utility assistance programs throughout the State. Offering LIHEAP.org an exclusive interview to discuss Arizona’s upcoming scorching summer season, where in spite of the fact that its considered among the hottest in the nation, Zwick reveals that “our Community Action Agencies are only serving about 6% of the folks that come through their doors….We have a huge gap in the number of people who need assistance and those who are receiving it, huge.” (Read full post.)

May 7, 2015 – The Glendale Star – Glendale resident receives Beating the Odds award

Eric Santiago of Avondale, who has dedicated his entire 23-year professional career to identifying and addressing community needs to assist the most vulnerable, has been named the 2015 Margie Frost Champion Against Poverty by the Arizona Community Action Association (ACAA).  (Read full article.)