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Did you know Florida has a K-12 Scholarship Opportunity?

Since 2002, Step Up For Students has offered scholarships for low-income Florida students in grades K-12. The program, which administers the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, empowers families to choose the best learning environment for their child’s learning needs. Families may choose between a scholarship worth up to $4,880 to help cover private school tuition and fees, or a scholarship worth up to $500 to assist with transportation costs to attend a public school in another county. (Scholarship amounts for the 2013-14 school year are noted. The amount may increase for the 2014-15 school year.) To be eligible, a student’s household income must qualify for the free- or reduced-price school lunch program (185 percent of the federal poverty guidelines).Children who are in foster care or who are homeless may also be eligible.

Please visit http://www.StepUpForStudents.org to learn more and apply.

Click here for more information.


Funding Opportunity Announcement

The Assets for Independence (AFI) program is administered through the Office of Community Services within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Department of Health and Human Services. AFI enables community-based nonprofits and government agencies to implement and demonstrate an assets-based approach to giving low-income families a hand up out of poverty. AFI projects help participants save earned income in special-purpose, matched savings accounts called Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). AFI project families use their IDA savings, including the matching funds, to achieve any of three objectives: (1) acquiring a first home, (2) capitalizing a small business, (3) or enrolling in post-secondary education or training.

Government entities are eligible to apply for an AFI grant, but only if they submit an application jointly with a nonprofit organization that has 501(c)(3) status. PHAs are encouraged to review the eligibility criteria and to take advantage of the upcoming Webinars, listed below.

For more information about AFI, visit the Assets for Independence Resource Center at http://idaresources.acf.hhs.gov/Home.

Click here for more information.


Having books to read – at home and in the classroom – is the number one predictor of reading success.


Important SNAP benefit changes and what this means to families who participate in the program.

Click here for more information.


The Affordable Care Act and Adolescents: New Issue Brief and Infographic

The Affordable Care Act was signed into law in March of 2010.  Millions of Americans have already benefited from many of the law’s provisions including coverage for preventive health services, a ban on lifetime limits, and insurance coverage for young adults.  The expansion of Medicaid coverage and launch of the Health Care Marketplace will help millions more obtain insurance coverage in 2014.  The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation created a series of research and issue briefs to analyze the impact of the Affordable Care Act. The most recent brief in this series, "The Affordable Care Act and Adolescents," and this accompanying infographic describe how the law addresses the unique health needs of adolescents. Both were developed in conjunction with the HHS Office of Adolescent Health. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act Click here for more information.


The Affordable Health Care Act and What it Means to those low-income Families We Serve


Children of Incarcerated Parents Launches Website

There are 2.7 million children in the United States with an incarcerated parent.  On June 12, 2013, the Federal Interagency Working Group on Children of Incarcerated Parents (COIP), led by the Domestic Policy Council (DPC), officially launched its website http://findyouthinfo.gov/youth-topics/children-of-incarcerated-parents.  Here service providers, families, and caregivers can access information and tools for better supporting the needs of COIP, and follow the federal government’s efforts regarding improving outcomes for this population.   Read more...


The U.S. Department of Labor announces a new Grant Application and Award Database

The U.S. Department of Labor has an online, user-friendly Grant Application and Award Database,  http://www.dol.gov/dol/grants/ .  This database may be used by Choice Neighborhoods grantees in further coordinating their employment-related efforts.  They  can use this tool to quickly determine recent DOL grants awarded in their communities, and upcoming grant announcements.    Please note that the database has not been updated to include new FY13 grants awards, however, that information will become available in the near  future.  For now, any grants awards made after September 1, 2011 are reflected.

Immediate Openings: Job Corps is Now Enrolling!

Job Corps is seeking new applicants to fill immediate openings and restore its 125 centers nationwide to full capacity.

A U.S. Department of Labor program, Job Corps provides eligible students with academic and career technical training, room and board, counseling and mentoring services, and basic medical care.  Young people ages 16 through 24 who meet low-income requirements can enroll in the program at no cost to them by calling (800) 733-JOBS [5627].

Job Corps graduates train in the skills needed to start a career, enlist in the military, or move on to pursue higher education.  Students have the opportunity to earn a high school diploma through partnerships with local school districts or a high school equivalency credential.  Job Corps also provides career counseling and transitional support for up to 21 months after graduation.

Most Job Corps students reside on-center in dorms, but some who live nearby can choose to commute.  The most successful Job Corps students stay in the program 1 to 2 years, depending on their pace of achievement and whether they choose to pursue advanced training.

Job Corps is seeking help from the workforce system to spread the word to young adults who could qualify and benefit from this program.  Please make sure that those who work in the One-Stop system helping jobseekers know that Job Corps is enrolling.  Also, we ask the Youth programs and providers to spread the word, especially to the summer youth employment programs around the country.

If you know of someone age 16 through 24 who may be a good fit for Job Corps, call (800) 733-JOBS [5627] or visit Job Corps’ website or Facebook page to learn more. Click here for a flier about Job Corps’ open enrollment.

Want to know more? Click here for an e-brochure with additional information about Job Corps. You can find a Spanish version of the brochure here.


US Department of Housing and Urban Development - Admissions/Eviction Policies for Public Housing/Voucher Lease Holders

For more information read "U.S. Department of HUD Admissions/Eviction Policies for Public Housing/Voucher Lease Holders."


Income Mapping Tool

Click here for "Income Mapping Tool" that provides incomes of every U.S. neighborhood.


WSJ.com - Public-Private Fund Aims at Health Care, Housing Gap


MetroTrends announces new Data Dashboard, Maps, and Download Tool. Click here for more information.


Important information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration on the Affordable Health Care Act – use this tool to locate a center in your area.


"Credentials for Youth" Tool

The U.S. Department of Labor, Division of Youth Services, recently launched a “Credentials for Youth” tool, https://youth.workforce3one.org/page/credentials,  on ETA’s Youth Community of Practice to help workforce professionals identify promising occupations for youth served by the workforce system, and the credentials that help youth attain them.

Attaining postsecondary and occupational credentials is critical for youth to be successful in the 21st century economy.  Good-paying jobs in high demand industries generally require postsecondary education or training.  Plus, the earnings bump that accompanies postsecondary credentials is well established.  To help workforce professionals identify promising occupations for youth served by the workforce system, and the credentials that help youth attain them, ETA has developed the Credentials for Youth tool on Workforce3One’s Youth Community of Practice.  This tool, available at https://youth.workforce3one.org/page/credentials, provides a step-by-step process for helping youth attain credentials in high demand occupations.  First, it connects users to resources that can help them find high demand occupations in their local area using labor market information.  It then helps practitioners identify promising occupations for youth and determine which of those occupations have pathways to career advancement.  Finally, the tool helps discover the credentials required for the identified promising occupations and provides certification information about specific occupations, including links to certifying organizations.  In addition to the step-by-step process, the Credentials for Youth tool also provides local examples of programs that help youth attain credentials.


Integrating Financial Empowerment Strategies into Housing and Homelessness Prevention Programs

While homelessness has been a “persistent and enduring feature in American history,” the recent economic downturn is producing a new face of those at risk of homelessness and a growing sense of vulnerability among many Americans. Many families live only a few paychecks away from being homeless, lacking the financial cushion to sustain themselves in the event of a job loss or unexpected medical bill.

Recognizing the need to address the increasing vulnerability of families and individuals in their communities, several local governments and nonprofit organizations across the country are implementing innovative financial security and asset-building strategies that seek to expand the financial cushion for their residents and clients. These strategies are those that help individuals and families better manage their finances, maximize their income and build a safety net. They include debt counseling and credit repair, financial education, access to low-cost checking and savings accounts, and free tax preparation assistance.

As the face of those at risk of homelessness changes, so too must the response. This Guide explores the options that exist for these responses, and how financial empowerment strategies can be incorporated to the broad slate of programs offered by housing programs and homelessness prevention programs.

To download “Integrating Financial Empowerment Strategies into Housing and Homelessness Prevention Programs,” click here.


NCCS Community Platform

The NCCS Community Platform combines data on nonprofit organizations from The Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics and the Metropolitan & Housing Policy Center with interactive online tools to provide communities with resources and knowledge for building civic capacity for problem solving. The Platform supports local collaboration and civic leadership across a wide range of issues from education, human service delivery, and public health to community development and the environment. We are working with local partners in nine states and communities. Platforms are customized for local partners and combines tools, mapping programs and community assets for analyzing finances, sharing knowledge, services, tracking program outcomes and other resources, and more.

Download the NCCS Community Platform brochure.  


Joint PIH/CPD Notice on Promoting Partners to Utilize Housing as a Platform for Improving Quality of Life

HUD’s Strategic Plan 2010-2015 envisions housing as a platform for improving residents’ quality of life.  This notice strongly encourages Community Planning and Development (CPD) funding recipients and Public and Indian Housing (PIH) funding recipients, including Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), to forge partnerships with public and private agencies at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure that HUD-assisted residents are connected to health care, education and social services, as needed.