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June 2019 Public Policy Roundup

Publication date: 
Monday, June 24, 2019

June marks the conclusion of budget season in the State Capitol! This month’s Public Policy Roundup takes a look at the investments in the state budget that may inform your grantmaking in areas such as early childhood development, housing and homelessness, and healthcare.

Locally, we take a look at the 2019 Los Angeles County Homeless Count including updates on Measure H’s impact throughout the county. We also highlight the California Budget and Policy Center’s analysis of the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) and some of the missed opportunities in this year’s expansion.  Other topics covered in the Roundup include:

  • Opportunity Zones and the prospects for county and philanthropic partnerships for social impact.
  • Research outlining the drop in charitable giving and the potential impact of five federal giving policies.
  • A state audit on LA County’s Department of Children and Family Services.
  • Crucial role of nonprofits in voter engagement.

 

We always welcome feedback or comments on the Roundup and look forward to reading them!

 

State Budget Adopted: Investments in Early Childhood, Child Welfare, Housing, Homelessness, Healthcare and Health Access, and Justice Reinvestments

The California State Legislature passed a $214.8 billion budget that makes investments in key priority areas, such as homelessness, health access, and early childhood education. Additionally, the budget makes significant to the state’s “rainy day” account that protect the budget in future years during a predicted economic downturn. Key highlights from the budget include:

  • Early Childhood: More than 8,000 vouchers for child care and more than 3,000 new child care slots.
  • Health: Expanded health care coverage through Medi-Cal for undocumented adults, age 18 to 25, inclusive.
  • Homelessness: Over $1 billion in investments, including grants to local government for homeless emergency aid, expanded Whole Care Pilots, and student rapid rehousing services at University of California, California State University, and California Community College systems.
  • Poverty: Expansion of the state Earned Income Tax Credit to cover 1 million more households (for a total of 3 million households) by expanding income eligibility from $24,950 to $30,000 and will provide an additional $1,000 refund for families with children under 6.

 

You can read more here.

 

Budget Focus: Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, an Anti-Poverty Measure

The California Budget and Policy Center analyzed the expansion of the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), an anti-poverty measure that provides an earned tax refund to low-income families and workers. The negotiated CalEITC expansion includes:

  • Extending the maximum eligible household income up to $30,000 adding nearly one million additional eligible families; and
  • A “young child tax credit” to provide eligible families with at least one young child to receive an additional $1000.

These tax credits have been proven to positively impact low-income children’s health, education and economic opportunity. However, it is estimated that up to 226,000 immigrant children and their families would be excluded from benefiting from the CalEITC under its current form, which requires tax filers to have Social Security Numbers. Therefore, tax filers using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers cannot benefit from the credit, including children living in mixed-status households with immigrant parents who may not have a Social Security Number.  

 

Interested grantmakers can read more here.

 

Housing and Homelessness Focus

Los Angeles County Sees Increase in Number of Persons Experiencing Homelessness

 

 

This month, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority released the results of the 2019 Homeless Count, showing a 12 percent increase, or roughly 6,000 individuals, in the number of persons experiencing homelessness throughout the County. On any given night, the County estimates that over 58,000 individuals are living on the streets, in vehicles or shelters. A deeper look into this count shows a 17 percent increase in persons experiencing chronic homelessness, while reporting no increase in veteran homelessness.

Community organizations, philanthropic leaders and public investments such as Measure H have worked tirelessly to engage and assist over 31,000 people experiencing homelessness throughout the past two years. However, the rate at which people are being housed, is vastly outpaced by the rate at which people are falling into homelessness.

 

Grantmakers concerned with housing and homelessness can access the 2019 Homeless Count here.

 

County Invests $460 Million in Measure H’s Third Year Fighting Homelessness

On May 14, 2019, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a $460 million spending plan for Measure H 2019-2020 fiscal year. Measure H begins its third year of providing homelessness services and programs across the County to combat this humanitarian crisis. Over the past two years, Measure H has provided over 14,000 individuals and families with permanent housing and connected more than 28,400 with crisis, bridging and interim housing. The $460 million budget recommendation includes allocations for five strategic priorities which include prevention, outreach, permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing and shelter/interim housing.  

Considering the 12 percent increase in the 2019 Homeless Count, Measure H was instrumental in effectively lowering the total number of persons experiencing homelessness. According to United Way of Greater Los Angeles, without the critical investments and placements of Measure H, the percent increase of the homeless population could have reached 28 percent, roughly 14,000 people, as opposed to 12 percent.

 

Undercounted and Underinvested: The Need for Youth Homelessness Set-Aside Funds

Last month, John Burton’s Advocates for Youth released a report, Youth Homelessness in California, on the impact of the state’s one-time $500 million Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP), detailing the distribution and utilization of HEAP funds and their recommendations for future investments in youth homelessness. The $500 million grant program was allocated amongst 43 Continuums of Care (CoCs) and 11 cities to aid communities serving their homeless population, but also required each grantee to designate a minimum of 5 percent from their grant to address youth homelessness, a demographic that has been historically undercounted in homeless population count nationwide.

Highlights of the report include:

  • 45 percent of grantees exceeded the 5 percent set-aside funds for youth homelessness, reaching 10 percent of total spending on youth homelessness statewide.
  • Shelter, then followed by transitional housing, was the most commonly funded intervention category by the CoCs and cities.
  • Large cities acknowledged the advantages that CoCs have in terms of administrative experience, community partnerships and existing infrastructure to address youth homeless priorities.

While many stated that HEAP was a step forward for addressing youth homelessness, grantees expressed the need for greater, long-term investments in youth homelessness, given the decades-long undercount and underinvestment in addressing the specific needs of the youth homeless population.

 

Interested grantmakers can read the report’s full findings and recommendations here.

 

LA County Takes Proactive Steps to Achieve Equitable Opportunity Zones 

On June 11, 2019, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to coordinate community organizations, philanthropic leaders and community financial institutions, led by the County and the Center for Strategic Partnerships, to develop strategies to create equitable and community-focused public-private Opportunity Zone (O-Zone) funds.

Modeling an approach sponsored by the Kresge Foundation in Michigan, the County seeks to explore potential funding partnerships to train local community development corporations on how to incorporate a community-driven approach to achieve economic reinvestment through Qualified Opportunity Funds, while also addressing vulnerabilities to local communities such as displacement.

 

Interested grantmakers can read the full motion here.

 

2020 Census: Additional State Funding Secured

The adopted state budget includes an additional $54 million for the 2020 Census, which will bring the state’s investment to $154.3 million.  Of the $54 million for the next fiscal year, approximately $15 million will be directed toward community-based organizations. In total, over the last two fiscal years, $42 million of the $154.3 million will support community efforts.

Philanthropy California, joining our statewide partners the Census Policy Advocacy Network (CPAN), advocated for an additional $93 million in this year’s state budget. While additional state resources are still needed, the budget puts in place continued investments to a fair and accurate count. The 2020 Census is a cross-sector issue that will require a cross-sector approach. Philanthropy California will continue to advocate and support sufficient funding for an accurate count.

 

Research and Resources

Research Shows the Potential Impact of Federal Charitable Giving Policies

Independent Sector, based in Washington, DC, has commissioned research to gain a better understanding about the potential impact of a range of policy proposals that extend charitable giving incentives to tax payers who are non-itemizers. Passed by Congress in 2017, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act doubled the standard deduction, decreasing the number of individuals who would have to itemize deductions on their taxes from 49 million to 19 million filers. Independent Sector’s study analyzed the estimated impact of five policy proposals that incentivize charitable giving among taxpayers who do not itemize:

  1. Deduction identical to itemizers’ tax incentive;
  2. Deduction with a cap in which gifts over $4,000 or $8,000 do not receive an incentive;
  3. Deduction with a modified 1 percent floor, in which donors can deduct half the value of their gift if it is below 1 percent of their income and the full amount of the donation above 1 percent;
  4. Non-refundable 25 percent tax credit; and
  5. Enhanced deduction that provides additional incentives for low- and middle-income taxpayers.

 

The research findings include:

  • The study’s estimates of giving for 2018-2025 indicate that up to 2.6 million fewer households could donate each year and charitable giving could face a decrease of $19.1 billion each year, correlated with the 2017 tax code changes.
  • All five policies could bring in more donor households and four of the five policies could bring in more charitable dollars than could be lost due to recent tax changes.
  • Four of the five tax policies could generate more giving than cost to the government.

 

You can read the complete report here.

 

Nonprofits’ Role and Impact on New Voter Engagement

Engaging New Voters a report by Nonprofit Vote, highlights the unique and substantial role that nonprofits have in engaging individuals in low-income and immigrant communities as well as young persons. Their study of 64 nonprofits participating in nonpartisan voter engagement efforts found that voters contacted directly by nonprofits were twice as likely to be nonwhite, low-income and younger voters: demographics that have historically voted at lower rates. Individuals contacted by nonprofits were also found to show up to the polls at rates 11 percentage points greater than those who were not.

As grantmakers consider ways to empower the electoral voices of underserved communities, they may consider the effective role that local nonprofits play in engaging voters. The full report, which includes more detailed results, best practices and future recommendations for nonprofits participating in voter engagement, can be accessed here.

 

LA County Department of Children and Family Services Implements Audit Recommendations

Tasked by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, the California State Auditor evaluated the practices and internal processes of the LA County Department of Children and Family Services and provided selected recommendations to better ensure the safety of children. As a result, DCFS has taken actionable measures to address the recommendations cited in the California State Auditor’s report titled, “Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services: It Has Not Adequately Ensured the Health and Safety of All Children in Its Care”.  You can access the report and the department’s response here.

 

Member News

Request for Proposals for the Built Environment Policy Advocacy Fund

First 5 LA announces a May 30, 2019 release date of a Request for Proposals for the Built Environment Policy Advocacy Fund (BEPAF).

First 5 LA is issuing this Request for Proposals (RFP) to select an intermediary to manage BEPAF, a multi-year program to build the organizational capacity and effectiveness of advocacy groups and community-based organizations within Best Start communities. Applicants responding to this RFP must have the qualifications, experience, and demonstrated success in:

  1. Grant administration and monitoring
  2. Coordinating and convening grantees
  3. Technical assistance and capacity building
  4. Evaluation and Learning
  5. Systems change/advocacy
  6. Knowledge of community engagement

 

The RFP will be posted on the First 5 LA website until June 28, 2019.

Potential proposers are highly encouraged to participate in the Information Webinar scheduled for June 10, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. PT to learn more about the RFP requirements. Click here to register. 

For additional information or further questions, please contact Blanca Hernandez at [email protected].

 

Policy Advocacy and Leadership Training Fellowship

The Women's Policy Institute - State (WPI - State) is now accepting applications!

WPI-State is a year-long policy advocacy and leadership training fellowship for community leaders, organizers, advocates, and activists working with non-profit organizations throughout California. Each year, the Women’s Foundation of California chooses specific focus areas aimed to achieve gender, racial, and economic justice for communities throughout our state. This year, WPI plans to receive applications in five issue areas: criminal justice reform; economic security; community health; reproductive health, rights, and justice and; trauma services and prevention.

Over a year, teams will learn about the policy process by researching, writing, and lobbying for a state legislative bill of their choosing while receiving support and guidance from a public policy expert and mentor. This is an incredible leadership development opportunity for change-makers. As an added benefit, fellows join the WPI Alumni Network, now 500+ strong and growing.

  • More information about the program is available here.
  • The application and details on informational calls are available here.
  • The deadline for applications is Thursday, July 18th.
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