By
Sarah Owsley Townsend

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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There is no doubt, we are in unprecedented times. The federal government has passed three significant coronavirus response bills. Included in these packages have been significant changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), expanded unemployment, and stimulus payments to most American families. However, a new report from our partners at the National Low Income...
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This week I was honored to sit in Hearing Room 5 with some really stellar housing organizers as we offered testimony against House Bill (HB) 1315.  This bill aims to shorten the already lightning-fast timeline on evictions. The sponsor, Rep. Hardy Billington, testified that he was a landlord and that he occasionally had to evict...
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“Surely as the Show Me State, where our namesake inherently promotes action and results over words, we have a higher sense of obligation to work together.” -Mike Parson, State of the State, January 15, 2020 Different organizations use all sorts of tactics for team building. At Empower Missouri this week, about half of our staff...
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Empower Missouri’s Affordable Housing Coalition recently released their 2020 legislative priorities. You can read it here. Some things on the list are very straight forward, some are really big asks, and some are common sense. However, one in particular is a bit more complicated.  Cities and states have a slate of tools available to them...
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The process of making comments on proposed federal rule or regulation changes has been an important but underutilized tool for a long time. In recent months, however, organizations like Empower Missouri have started to urge the advocates we work with to submit these comments on various proposed changes that impact the safety net. Empower Missouri...
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Public comment letters are an increasingly effective tool in legislative advocacy at the federal level, with advocates across the country utilizing this format as a way to submit feedback to the government and make their voices heard.
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Housing is the key to improving these children’s outcomes and also helps to lower their healthcare costs. Children’s Health Watch provided examples of case studies where healthcare costs decreased by 90% when children were provided with stable housing.
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In August 2019, Empower Missouri’s Executive Director, Jeanette Mott Oxford, offered testimony in a special hearing on Criminal Justice. “I think sometimes we wish we had a magic mirror, and we could hold it up to people and it would say, ‘I see racism in you. I see racism in you. No racism in you.’...
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When the Affordable Care Act passed, an unforeseen pitfall to the system was created.
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