ACPP in the News
The prevalence of predatory lenders in Decatur seems puzzling. With so much competition, why have the interest rates not come down? More pertinent to Sixth Avenue, why has there been no consolidation.
Speaking to the Decatur City Council on Monday, Stephen Stetson, a policy analyst for Arise Citizens' Policy Project solved the puzzle.
The Alabama Medicaid Advisory Commission overwhelmingly voted this afternoon to recommend the state go with a community care approach -- instead of statewide commercial managed care -- to try to control spending in the healthcare program for the poor.
The commission, with only one dissenting vote, voted to recommend a primary care case management approach in which care providers are responsible for monitoring and approving the care of people on Medicaid. State Health Officer Don Williamson said it would take statewide a model that is already used to some degree in Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Opelika and Mobile.
ACPP communications director Jim Carnes praised the commission's decision saying he thought a community care model would be more patient-centered than a statewide commercial managed care approach.
Alabama made its best showing ever in an annual ranking of child well-being, but it still came in 45th among the 50 state.
"These numbers are encouraging," ACPP communications director Jim Carnes said. "They show that long-haul efforts targeting specific goals, such as improving reading skills, can make a difference."
The pending closure of two state mental health hospitals because of budget cuts in the General Fund leaves Anniston area agencies uncertain how to fill the gap. "Community-based mental health care could help people lead happier, more independent lives, but we have to fund those services adequately so they can do their jobs," ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders tells The Anniston Star.
Accepting the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act would be "a win for Alabama," Arise communications director Jim Carnes tells The Birmingham News. "The health outcomes for the people of Alabama will improve, and we think it's an economic win because there will be an infusion of federal tax dollars coming back to Alabama."
Nonprofit Quarterly found several examples of states aiming to purloin shares of the national mortgage settlement funds for ongoing state budget gap-filling purposes instead of using the funds to directly support homeowners and to provide assistance to nonprofits that deliver mortgage foreclosure counseling and other services. Add Alabama to the list.
This week it was announced that $19.3 million of a $25.3 million allotment to the state attorney general's office from the national mortgage settlement would be used to help fund that office and county district offices from 2013 to 2015. ACPP and the Low Income Housing Coalition of Alabama are calling for the remaining $6 million to be routed to the Housing Trust Fund, which was created by the Legislature this year but not funded because of budget issues, to help provide affordable housing for the poor.
This Gadsden Times editorial calls on state leaders to use the settlement money for its stated purpose -- as compensation for those who were wronged.
A $25 billion national settlement with five big mortgage companies is helping balance Alabama's operating budget. The office of Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is receiving $25.3 million from the settlement. Of that amount, $19.3 million will be used from 2013 through 2015 to pay for operations in the attorney general's office and in district attorney's offices stateside. ACPP and the Low Income Housing Coalition of Alabama are urging state officials to put some of the money into the newly created Alabama Housing Trust Fund to help provide affordable housing for low-income residents.
More than three quarters of the money that Alabama is receiving from a national court settlement over alleged foreclosure wrongdoing by banks will, in effect, be used to prop up Alabama's General Fund budget, according to state leaders. Advocates for homeowners have questioned whether it truly helps the people who were hut by the mortgage practices that spawned the settlement.
"This is yet another example of the impossible bind that our leaders have left us in, in refusing to seek new revenue for the General Fund," said ACPP communications director Jim Carnes. "We're forced to use Band-Aids once again, one-time money once again, to patch the holes in the General Fund."
It might be a different battle in Madison or Missoula than in Montgomery, but, then again, maybe not. Fighting on behalf of the poor is never a glamorous job. Especially given today's harsh political climate.
Alabama Arise is located in the tired old Bell Building downtown. In the elevator, I keep expecting to see a disheveled gumshoe named Philip Marlowe riding along; it's that kind of retro scene.
Syndicated columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson chronicled her recent visit to the Arise office with a column that appeared in several state newspapers.