Poverty

A new Census Bureau report out Wednesday indicates the economic recovery is lifting children out of poverty unevenly around the Northwest.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The school day is over at Boise’s Whitney Elementary but the playground is full of children. About 140 kids each day take part in the afterschool program at the adjacent Whitney Community Center.

It has tutors to help with homework. There’s book clubs, arts and crafts, board games, basketball, outside activities, and pool and computer games for the older kids who walk over from South Junior High. Director Barbara English says some kids stay until the center closes at 7:00, but not because of all the stuff to do.

census.gov

Idaho is one of only six states that saw a decrease in the number of people on public assistance, or welfare, in 2012, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

U.S. Census Bureau

More than 15 percent of Idahoans live in poverty according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s a little higher than the nation as a whole. Now, a new census report shows that Idaho’s poor are becoming increasingly concentrated.

An Idaho workgroup reconvened Wednesday to reevaluate options on how to offer medical services to low-income adults who don't have health insurance.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has repeatedly said he does not want to expand the state's current Medicaid program but has appointed a 15-member group to consider other possibilities.

The panel first met in 2012 and recommended expanding the state's Medicaid eligibility requirements.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

State auditors say the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare misspent $2.5 million in federal funding on salaries instead of using it for food stamps and other assistance for Idaho's poorest residents.

The finding by the Office of Performance Evaluation was part of the state's annual audit of how federal cash is used.

In Olympia, Washington policymakers are pondering whether to make an end run around looming cutbacks in the federally-funded food stamp program.

Across the country more than one million kids may not know where they’re going to sleep tonight.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Volunteers are combing Idaho's streets for the next few days asking homeless people where they spent Wednesday night. This annual count is the only source for much of what we know about Idaho's homeless population. Those numbers, which we won’t know for months, help determine how much federal money will come to homeless programs in Idaho.

bread, food, foodbank
Emily Carlin / Flickr Creative Commons

Local musicians and their lyrical Christmas creations brought more than good cheer to Idaho last year.
In December, we told you about a special musical collection aimed at raising money for The Idaho Foodbank. Now, we know  just how much the album raised.

The fourth IdaHo Ho Ho Christmas CD raised enough cash to pay for 23,465 meals for those in need.

student, desk, classroom
BionicTeaching / Flickr Creative Commons

Student homelessness in Idaho has grown by 27 percent, putting the state in a list of 10 that have seen the largest increase in the number of kids without stable, reliable homes. That data from the U.S. Department of Education measured growth from the 2010/2011 school year to 2011/2012.

Mistermuckle / Flickr Creative Commons

You might look at Thursday's announcement from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as good news and bad news for Idaho. First the good news. Between 2010 and 2013 Idaho saw a 24 percent drop in homelessness. That’s more than 560 fewer people living on Idaho’s streets. Nationally, homelessness decreased by 6 percent.

Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho business group urged Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to study how Arkansas won permission from Washington, D.C., to use federal Medicaid funding to help poor people buy private insurance.

The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry sent Otter a letter Friday, calling Arkansas' program a "market solution" that was of great interest to members that include hospitals St. Luke's Health System and Saint Alphonsus Health System.

Northwest residents who rely on food stamps will have to pinch their pennies even more. Starting Friday, federal food assistance benefits are being cut.

medical image
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A southwestern Idaho school district is building an in-school medical clinic at Meridian's poorest elementary school in an effort to boost student health and reduce absenteeism.

Meridian School District Superintendent Linda Clark told the Idaho Statesman that the clinic will be the first in-school clinic in Idaho.

beancounter / Flickr

A temporary increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, expires at the end of October. That means 47 million Americans, including 221,717  people in Idaho, will see less money each month for food.

Map, insurance
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The number of uninsured Idahoans has dropped to its lowest level since 2007. Data released Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau shows 18.9 percent of Idahoans under the age of 65 didn't have health insurance in 2011. That marks a decline in the share of uninsured Idahoans since 2010 when the rate was 20.3 percent.

apple, fruit
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Department of Education released its school rankings last week for the 2012-2013 school year. Before the updated list came out, we told you there was a strong connection between poverty and low achieving schools based on the 2011-2012 rankings.

Adams Elementary School
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Department of Education releases its list today of school rankings for the 2012-2013 school year. It’s based on a five star system the state began last year.

Five star schools are considered high performing. Those at the bottom have to follow an improvement plan under state scrutiny. In last year’s rating list there was something most one star schools had in common: poverty. Take Boise’s Hawthorne Elementary where Beverly Boyd is principal.

Baby, Baby Bottle
Katerha / Flickr Creative Commons

A change in income guidelines means more Idahoans could qualify for food assistance through the WIC program.

The supplemental nutrition program Women, Infants and Children, or WIC provides certain foods to pregnant or breastfeeding moms and families with children under age five. Starting July 1, a cost-of-living adjustment goes into effect.

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