North Dakota Economic Security and Prosperity Alliance | Blog
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POVERTY SIMULATION North Dakota State hosted a poverty simulation Tuesday, Oct. 2 in the Great Plains Ballroom. The students and faculty were able to get a glimpse of how a family living in poverty is able to navigate their economic issues. Approximately 70 students and faculty members participated in the poverty simulation. The participants were grouped together in families and role-played the lives of individuals who live in poverty. The participants were tasked with providing food, shelter and other basic necessities while dealing with different institutions. There were different challenges built into the simulation to make it more realistic. Tayler Morris, who was one of the facilitators last year, said they simulate a month in poverty in four 15-minute weeks. The students and faculty members have to survive poverty by doing what they were required to do as a family. According to Morris, only one or two families survive. The families that are put together are based on real families. The resources available and their income are based on average low-income families. Participants were put into situations that often contribute to families living in poverty, such as being elderly, a single parent or not having a job. “The point is to simulate what poverty looks like, the chaos, and the means these people have to go through to try to survive a month,” Morris said. According to Morris, after going through the simulation, participants had a better understanding of what it’s like to be a low-income parent and having to figure how to get your kids to school on time, go to work and at the same time make sure bills such as rent, mortgage and utilities are paid on time. The simulation facilitator also went around with “luck of the draw” situations for participants. This represented unexpected situations that everyone goes through in life, but because money and time were extra resources and constraints, participants learned they become difficult. The goal of the poverty simulation is to make participants realize the...

September 27, 2018 by Lesley Fair Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education If you took out an online payday loan from a company affiliated with AMG Services, you may be getting a check in the mail from the FTC. The $505 million the FTC is returning to consumers makes this the largest refund program the agency has ever administered. The FTC sued AMG and Scott A. Tucker for deceptive payday lending. When consumers took out loans, AMG said they would charge a one-time finance fee. Instead, AMG made multiple illegal withdrawals from peoples’ bank accounts and charged hidden fees. As a result, people paid far more for the loans than they had agreed to. In 2016 the FTC won a court case against AMG and Scott Tucker. Then in 2017, a jury convicted Tucker and his attorney of crimes related to the lending scheme. The FTC and Department of Justice are using money obtained in both court actions to give refunds to consumers. Here are answers to questions about AMG refunds. Who will get a refund? Checks are being sent to consumers who took out loans between January 2008 and January 2013 from these AMG-related companies: 500FastCash, Advantage Cash Services, Ameriloan, OneClickCash, Star Cash Processing, UnitedCashLoans, and USFastCash. How many people will get refunds? More than 1.1 million people will get refunds. How does the FTC know who to send the checks to? The FTC and a refund administrator have used AMG’s business records to identify eligible consumers and calculate their refunds. I’m eligible for a refund. What do I need to do? If you borrowed from one of the lenders listed above between January 2008 and January 2013, you don’t need to do anything. The checks are being mailed to eligible consumers automatically. There is no application process. If you borrowed from one of those lenders before January 2008, please call 1-866-730-8147. How can I get more information? Visit the FTC’s AMG refund page or call 1-866-730-8147. Three tips from the FTC: ...

Farm Bill impacts everyone in North Dakota, including our children Lisa K. Dullum, West Fargo SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps, is the front line defense against hunger and food insecurity and is part of the Farm Bill. At this time, the Senate and the House of Representatives each have passed a different version of the Farm Bill. The U.S. House of Representatives’ version includes changes to SNAP that could result in more than 1.2 million people, including children, losing access to critical food assistance each month. Worse yet, it takes money away from food and families to create a new bureaucracy and increase paperwork requirements. And it would place unfunded mandates on state government agencies at a time when states like North Dakota can least afford it. Nearly half of North Dakota’s 53,269 SNAP recipients are children. SNAP kept 6,000 North Dakota children out of poverty in each year between 2009 and 2012. By providing much needed economic support, SNAP allows families to have sufficient nutrition during times of unemployment, fluctuating incomes, and low-wage work. Under the language in the House Farm Bill, children in households losing SNAP eligibility might also lose access to free lunch and breakfast at school. Taken together, it will mean more children going without meals at home and at school. As an educator, I know that coming to school hungry is one of the most serious roadblocks to successful learning. And children whose families don’t have basic food security are much more likely to face other problems at school and are less likely to grow up to become healthy contributing members to society.   I urge Congressman Kevin Cramer to support a Farm Bill in conference committee that looks more like the Senate’s bipartisan version that supports and strengthens SNAP. Our children and our future are counting on you....

The concentration of economic gains at the top of the income ladder and largely stagnant wages at the bottom harm the economic well-being of millions of workers, especially people of color and women.  For example, African American and Latino workers are far more likely than white workers to earn poverty-level wages.[1]  Women represent less than half of the total workforce but roughly 3 out of 5 workers in occupations with low pay.  And African American and Latino women comprise almost twice as big a share of the low-wage workforce as they do the workforce as a whole.[2] State earned income tax credits (EITCs) help people of color and women struggling on low wages afford basic necessities and, studies suggest, contribute to their children’s future success. Twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia have enacted their own version of the federal EITC to help low-wage, working households meet basic needs.  State EITCs build on the success of the federal credit by keeping people on the job and further reducing hardship for working households and children. Because people of color and women are overrepresented in low-wage work, the state credits are also an important tool for advancing racial and gender equity. STATE EITCS REDUCE POVERTY AND HELP CHILDREN OF COLOR GO FURTHER Reduce poverty in communities of color.  While state and federal EITCs serve a larger number of white households than any other racial or ethnic group (due in part to population size), they serve a larger proportion of people of color relative to their population size, and the EITC has an outsized impact in reducing poverty rates for households of color.  The average state EITC benefit for non-white- or Hispanic-headed households was $120 higher than for white, non-Hispanic households, a recent study found, and state EITCs lift a larger share of the non-white and Hispanic populations out of poverty. [3]  This partly reflects the targeting of the EITC to working-poor households with children and the high poverty rates for children of color. Child...