May 2015 Newsletter

A Newsletter of the Multi-faith ACTION Coalition
(Advocates & Communities Taking Initiative 4 Our Neighbors)
MAY 2015

May is a special month, because the work of two of our Task Forces has been highlighted by civic recognitions. 

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors declared May CalFresh Awareness Month.  Members of the Food Security Task Force joined members of the CalFresh Partners group at the meeting.  In addition to the declaration of the awareness month, the Board was asked to increase outreach for the enrolling residents who are eligible.    Our Coalition is committed to increasing enrollment by 7,000 families by May 2016. Not only will this effort help provide for the hungry but it will also infuse federal dollars into the local economy.

By resolution May 8 -17 was declared Affordable Housing Week by the Board of Supervisors and by many cities including Concord, Walnut Creek and Richmond.  Highlighted at each of these presentations was the need to support more affordable housing .
As a working partner with East Bay Housing Organization, EBHO, members of the Housing and Shelter Task Force were able to accept the proclamations at several meetings and spread the word about the Multi-faith ACTION Coalition and the Zero: 2016 campaign.

Contra Costa Cares!
Did you sign the petition to support Contra Costa Cares? Close to hundred of our members signed it and we are making a difference.
The Multi-faith ACTION Coalition is urging the Board of Supervisors to support Contra Costa CARES, the expansion of health care services for the remaining uninsured regardless of immigration status in the 2015-16 county budget.  A final vote on the budget will take place on September 15th.
On May 12 the Board continued the request for funds to support Contra Costa CARES to a meeting in June or July where the proponents will present the proposal in more detail.  The Multi-faith ACTION Coalition will be organizing advocacy around this issue.  If you are interested in getting more involved with this effort, please contact Pat Reyes at            
The Multi-faith ACTION Coalition Steering Committee has voted to support California legislative bills that were recommended by the Task Forces. Bills must relate to our mission and the current work of the Task Force.  There are many different levels of advocacy to consider for each bill, however, the Steering Committee voted on whether to support the legislation and it will consider level of advocacy as the bills move through the process.

Housing and Shelter – AB 1335 & AB 35
AB 1335(Atkins) would jumpstart affordable home development by creating an ongoing, predictable source of funding to fund the state housing trust fund.  This will generate housing and jobs.  The source of this economic activity would be a $75 document recording fee on real-estate transactions (excluding commercial and residential home sales). The fee would be capped at $225.
AB 35(Chiu and Atkins) would increase the percentage of funding a nonprofit developer could use from state tax credits from the current 13% to 50%.  It will also help remove the biggest barrier to starting construction on affordable home developments.  This in turn would enable affordable home developers to access additional federal funds.
Jobs – SB 3
SB 3 (Leno) would increase the California Minimum Wage to $11/hr in Jan 2016, $13/hr in July 2017, and index it to the California Consumer Price Index in 2019.

Members of the Jobs Task Force spoke at the Appropriation meeting in support of the Bill.  At that Hearing the bill was suspended to work out various details and will probably come back for an Appropriations Committee vote in the 3rd week of May.
Food Security – AB 608, AB 1240, AB 1321
AB 608(Gordon) CalFresh School Meals – This bill would require a county human services agency to compile a list of emergency and supplemental food assistance providers, as specified. The bill would also require a county human services agency to inform households applying for CalFresh that if the household is certified for CalFresh, specified children in the household are income-eligible for the WIC Program and all children in the household are directly certified for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program without further application. The bill would also require the Department of Social Services to inform all CalFresh households annually, prior to the end of the school year, about the summer meal program using information the department receives the State Department of Education and a method deemed appropriate by the department. The bill would require the department to implement these provisions by all-county letters or similar instructions beginning no later than March 1, 2016, until regulations are adopted, and would require the department to adopt regulations on or before October 1, 2017. The bill would also include a statement of legislative findings and declarations.
AB 1240(Bonta & Thurmond) would require each school district or county office of education maintaining any kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to make a nutritionally adequate breakfast available for all of the pupils in a school, when at least 40% of the pupils enrolled at the school are needy children, as defined. Additionally, it requires that these meals be available after the school day has begun.
AB 1321(Ting) would establish the Nutrition Incentive Matching Grant program in the Office of Farm to Fork.  This would provide a state incentive that would be matched by federal funds and private dollars to double SNAP/ CalFresh dollars at farmers’ markets.
We started with a conversation – Clergy and lay leaders came together to ask,
“Isn’t there more we can do to lift our neighbors out of poverty?”
Our Coalition was formed and task forces went to work on key issues from that simple question.  Our mission --work together to address the root causes of poverty through advocacy and public policy change.  Our shared values and our experiences as faith groups providing food, shelter and other services make us strong voices for those in need.
How do we accomplish our mission?
                   EDUCATION            ADVOCACY

Bring the Multi-faith ACTION Coalition to your place of worship and learn more about poverty and how your members can help.  We want to hear from you!

Multi-Faith ACTION Coalition
(Advocates & Communities Taking Initiative 4 Our Neighbors

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