Available Options for Local Po’Folk

I wanted to highlight some things I’ve noted since school started last week.  When my daughter was younger and in school she divided her time between public and private (Catholic) schools.  Regardless of our financial struggles, I don’t think she ever qualified for the school lunch program and I don’t think it mattered to me, really.  It was just another necessary part of taking care of her.  The entire time she was in Catholic school she was on scholarship and I had an income-adjusted tuition payment, along with the responsibility to volunteer a certain number of hours for the schools. And it certainly helped that we were very active in the community life of our parish.  For some reason – we were fortunate which makes this a bit poignant.

According to a story at KTVB on September 10th – Idaho is in the top 10 of foreclosures.

Florida, California, Arizona, Michigan, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Georgia and Illinois completed the top 10 states for foreclosure filings.

Looking at the map provided at the Realty Trac website, the counties in Idaho with the greatest number of foreclosures filed are: Ada, (Blaine), Canyon, Jefferson, Kootenia, Teton, and Valley. (I can’t seem to find the rating list of state cited in the story from KTVB.)

This kernel of info on housing troubles is coupled with two stories focusing on easing the financial burden of those who might be suffering a bit in the stagnant economic climate here in Idaho.

For those children whose parent(s) are unemployed eligibility for “free or reduced priced lunches” may be an option to help cope.  Looking at the prices: Full price is $2.30, reduced price is $.40; that’s a $1.90 difference daily.  Paying $1.20 a week is more manageable than the $11.50/$12.00.   The Idaho Dept. of Labor also has a notice at the top of their page.

Eligibility is based on income, say Idaho Department of Labor officials. The only child of a single parent is eligible if the weekly household income is $519 or less. Children in a family of four are eligible if the weekly household income is $785 or less.

Unemployed workers can apply by submitting a household application directly to their schools.

More than 66,000 Idahoans were out of work in August, and about 38,000 of them were receiving weekly benefits ranging from $90 to $387. The average weekly benefit is about $280 a week.

In relation to unemployment benefits, the “average weekly benefit is $280/week.”  That’s simply all the weekly benefit amount received, divided by the number of those receiving benefits.  Depending of course on the nature of one’s profession their weekly benefit may be in that $90-100/week range or up to the $350-400 range.  I’m willing to bet real money those receiving unemployment compensation are somewhere in the weekly benefit arena of $150-$225 or so.  I’m pretty darned certain the individuals receiving $387/week were more professionally or technically employed.  When I lost my job four years ago I received $303/week in unemployment compensation, and that, simply, was just enough to cover my rent and necessities – and food was barely a necessity at that point.  My biggest worry was maintaining my housing.  Now throw in the added concern of children to take care of and you see the additional stress it creates for others.  You know you’ll be fine; it’s your children you worry over.

Where to go:

One thing I found interesting was this posted on the caldwell school district Nutrition page:

All students are offered breakfast at no charge due to our participation in the Provision II Breakfast Program.

It would be interesting to find out what was served at these breakfasts, wouldn’t it? Hotcakes? Oatmeal? Cold cereal?   And one other thing – the umbrella all this falls under – federal programs.  Fucking socialists…..

This last item I had no idea even existed.  I know the utility companies of Intermountain Gas and Idaho Power have programs that help with the cost of energy heating and/or electricity.  However, this provides some assistance with phone service:

Low-income household may qualify for up to $13.50 off their telephone bill under a program that aims to keep phone services in their homes.

“Lifeline” is a joint project between the federal and state governments to help provide phones for medical and other emergencies for low income families.

About 28,000 Idaho households participated in the program during 2008.

Lifeline assistance is also available for customers of wireless telephone carriers that have been declared eligible telecommunications carriers by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission

For questions regarding Lifeline, call the Commission at 334-0300 or 1-800-432-0369 or access the Commission Web site with the link at the right. (PDF file)

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