Webinar: Where are jobs moving, and who lives near them?

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Download slides and audio from our recent webinar about a new Brookings Metro report, “The growing distance between people and jobs in metropolitan America.

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Connecting EITC filers to the Affordable Care Act premium tax credit

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EITC ACA pic for CSPAThis tax season, for the first time, tax filers who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) may also be eligible to claim a tax credit for health insurance premiums. Created as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the premium tax credit helps offset the cost of health insurance for lower- and moderate-income taxpayers who purchased coverage through state or federal health insurance marketplaces. To better understand the number and types of workers and families that are likely to be eligible for the EITC and ACA credits, and to inform outreach efforts moving forward, a new Brookings Metro report estimates the overlap between these two populations.

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Some cities are still more unequal than others—an update

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Inequality link for CSPAMore than five years after the end of the Great Recession, and three years since the Occupy movement took on Wall Street, high and growing levels of income inequality continue to animate debates on politics and public policy. A new Brookings Metro report updates a 2014 analysis of income inequality in the 50 largest U.S. cities, and examines in particular trends between 2012 and 2013, the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. It examines inequality through the lens of household incomes in those cities at the 95th percentile (i.e., the top 5% of earners), the 20th percentile (i.e., the bottom 20% of earners), and the gap between them.

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Expanding Low-Income Workers’ Job Options with Reduced Transit Fares in King County

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Natalie Holmes

This past Sunday, March 1, King County Metro Transit in western Washington State launched ORCA LIFT, a regional, income-based reduced-fare transit program. Individuals making less than twice the federal poverty level qualify to receive a reloadable ORCA card (ORCA stands for “One Regional Card for All”), which caps the cost of most trips at $1.50 per ride—$1.00 less than the standard adult off-peak rate, and $1.75 off the highest adult peak rate. Although income-based reduced-fare programs exist elsewhere in the country, ORCA LIFT has the potential to become one of the largest yet.

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Five Lessons from Leading Innovators on Confronting Suburban Poverty

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Cross-posted on Brookings’ Metro Blog, The Avenue

Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube

In September we reported that suburbs in our nation’s largest metro areas had seen their poor population grow by 66 percent since 2000, making them home to the largest and fastest growing poor population in the country.

However, the past year also offered important lessons about effective approaches to the new geography of poverty. Through a series of briefs, practitioners from across the country shared their firsthand perspectives on the innovative models they helped to launch to confront the rise of suburban poverty in their regions. In some ways, each of the four models described in these briefs is unique. They come from different parts of the country and tackle different facets of the complex issues suburbs face in the context of growing poverty:
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Fighting Poverty at Tax Time through the EITC

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Cross-posted on Brookings’ Metro Blog, The Avenue

Elizabeth Kneebone and Natalie Holmes

With tax season around the corner, thousands of certified volunteer programs across the country are gearing up to offer free tax return preparation services to millions of low- and moderate-income taxpayers, military families, people with disabilities and seniors.

In addition to free tax assistance, many of these programs invest in outreach and education efforts to make sure residents in their community know about important tax provisions they may qualify for, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. Both of these credits for low-income working families are refundable, meaning that if the credit exceeds the taxes owed, filers can receive the remainder as tax refunds. Together, these two provisions keep millions of workers and their families out of poverty each year.
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The Growing Demand for Home Health Care Workers in the Suburbs Raises Housing and Transportation Challenges

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Nurse and elderly man spending time together --- Image by © Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./Blend Images/Corbis

Kathleen Costanza and Sarah Jackson

As a home health aide, Jasmine Almodovar earns $9.50 an hour. Though she spends her days providing care for senior citizens, she doesn’t have health insurance of her own—much less life insurance or a retirement plan.

“We work really long hours, really hard work,” Almodovar recently told NPR in a story about home health workers in suburban Cleveland. “A lot of us are barely home because if we don’t go to work, we don’t get time off. We don’t get paid vacations. And some of us haven’t had raises in years.”

Almodovar is part of the rapidly growing home health care workforce that’s caring for aging baby boomers who want to stay put in their suburban homes. The US Department of Labor estimates approximately 1 million more home health jobs—comprising home health aides and personal care aides—like Almodovar’s will be needed in the next decade.
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Planning for an Aging (Suburban) Society

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aging in suburbs - body

Barbara Ray

There’s another housing crisis on the horizon—but this one isn’t derivative driven. Instead, it’s driven by aging. By 2030, one in five Americans will be age 65 or older—and their homes and communities, particularly suburban communities, aren’t ready for them.

Most older Americans prefer to stay put in the home they’ve been in for years. And, according to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report on “aging in place,” most households with at least one resident over the age of 65 are in the suburbs. As Brookings Institution demographer William Frey wrote in 2011, “the suburbs are now outpacing cities in having greater growth and concentration of populations age 45 and above.”

Yet several factors make aging in place in the suburbs difficult.
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Grassroots Organizing in Suburbs to Prevent Another Ferguson

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st. louis voting - body
Sarah Jackson

Lorna Francis, a single mom and hairdresser profiled recently in the New York Times, doesn’t vote often. She’s busy raising her daughter and working to afford the rent on her “well groomed suburban cul-de-sac.” And, according to the Times, she’s part of a wave of new working-class black residents in the Atlanta suburb of Conyers, Georgia, who don’t have the means or time to run for local municipal office, or to get involved in politics.

So although the city is now majority African American, it’s represented by mostly white city council members. Conyers is in Rockdale County, which has undergone a demographic shift since 2000. The county’s share of black residents jumped from 18 to 46 percent between 2000 and 2010.

The police force is still mostly white as well. And although life has been relatively peaceful in Conyers, experts say these representation imbalances can lead to long-term tensions like those we saw erupt in Ferguson, Missouri, this summer after a white police officer shot an unarmed African American teenager. Read More