By
Christine Woody

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal lawmakers have passed multiple pieces of legislation to provide emergency relief and enhance the economy. Within those first few pieces of legislation, Congress began to address the impending increase in food insecurity by implementing important waivers and new programs to help individuals and families access much needed support...
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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the connection between unemployment, poverty and food insecurity has been clear. One of the best indicators of food insecurity is poverty. At the end of 2019, Missouri’s food insecurity rate was 12% while its poverty level was 13.2%, both above the national average. At that point, according to...
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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of rule changes and new waivers have taken place within the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps). Empower Missouri is grateful for the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as our federal delegation...
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TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, is a federal cash assistance program for low income families with children that provides for basic needs. Families who qualify receive money on a debit-like card that they can use to help cover their monthly expenses, like food, rent, clothing, and transportation. TANF’s History In 1911, a version...
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It seems as if many of the issues today that are being debated in our state and federal legislatures are seen as partisan, but criminal justice reform is an exception. Criminal justice reform is a great example of how bipartisanship can really work! Legislators and advocates from both sides of the political spectrum are working...
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I have been learning about and advocating on safety net programs since I started at Empower Missouri 13 years ago, but have never really learned the history and inner workings of the TANF program.
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The time is right in the Show Me State for even more positive changes to our justice system and Empower Missouri, along with the advocates who are a part of the Smart Sentencing Coalition, will be right there pushing it along.
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It has been clear to criminal justice advocates in Empower Missouri’s network for some time that poverty has been criminalized. Among the ways we have drawn attention to this topic were an April 2017 forum and a special Media Award to Tony Messenger in May 2018 for his series on policies that create debtors’ prisons,...
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I am happy to report that there has been some positive news about alleviating hunger in the state. On days where we all feel like nothing good is happening, these small steps forward can help keep us on our journey for justice. The first bit of good news was reported in this year’s  School Breakfast Scorecard, released Wednesday...
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