The MarylandAlliance for the Poor pursues public policies and funding that protect the well-being and dignity of Maryland children, families, seniors, and single adults living in or near poverty.MAP believes that State policy should assist Maryland residents with limited financial resources to move beyond their current circumstances, with the help of progressive policies on the inter-related issues of homelessness, affordable housing, energy, health, hunger, employment, taxes, child care, and welfare reform.
Since 1988 the Maryland Alliance for the Poor (MAP) has brought together advocacy groups, service providers, and faith communities to emphasize and prioritze major policy efforts to assist families living in or near poverty to rise above their circumstances. We put forward the following platform:
The Governor and General Assembly should expand access to education, housing, jobs, health care, child care, and income supports for working families and vulnerable single adults. We urge State policymakers to:
·Adopt and implement Maryland’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. Affordable housing is essential to self-sufficiency. In Maryland, a worker must earn a full-time hourly wage of $19.62 to afford a 2-bedroom apartment at market rent. The Governor’s Commission on Housing Policy predicts a shortage of 157,000 affordable housing units in the next 10 years.
·Adopt a long-term, sustainable strategy to make home energy costs affordable for low-income households. In 2006, the State temporarily averted a 72% increase in electricity rates for the Baltimore metro region. Struggling families and those on fixed incomes should have access to meaningful energy assistance and conservation education, materials, and services.
·Maintain and expand access to a comprehensive range of medical, mental health, and addiction treatment services for all vulnerable Marylanders. In addition, the State should be bold and creative in its efforts to eliminate the adverse effects of new federal Medicaid rules requiring proof of citizenship.
·Implement and fund the recommendations of the 2005 Superintendent’s Panel on Excellence in Adult Education. Adult education creates both a skilled workforce and parents who can succeed as their children’s first teachers. It reduces costs related to welfare, unemployment, incarceration, and health care. At a personal level, a high school dropout who earns a diploma can expect to earn $7,000 more annually than one who does not.
·Increase the amount of State child care subsidies to more closely approach market rates and allow flexibility in the program for a range of child care needs. Child care assistance allows parents in low-income families to seek and keep employment. Subsidies are available to families in the State’s welfare-to-work program and to some among the working poor, but access to care remains a problem.
·Expand the financial resources available to low-income Marylanders by providing a combination of Food Stamps and cash assistance that meets or exceeds 61 percent of the Minimum Living Level, increasing grants to disabled single adults, and expanding income supports such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.