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Jan 04
2010

Elder Financial Abuse

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , seniors , rights , public safety , poverty , nonprofit orgs , news , Napa , Marin , law enforcement , justice , finances , families , education , economy , California , aging , activism

Bruce Robinson

The recession can be a triple threat to the financial security of seniors. Not only are their savings shrinking, family members may have crucial needs, while unscrupulous predatory sales operations that target elders are on the upswing.

The Elder Financial Protection Network has collaborated with NBC Bay Area to create the television documentary “Be Wise, Be Aware,” which was first broadcast on Jan 3, 2010. Much of that program’s power comes from its first-person case histories, but Jenefer Duane, the EFPN’s founder and CEO (below), says it isn’t easy to find such people who are willing to come forward and tell their stories.

Duane founded the Elder Financial Protection Network in 1999, but she’s been working on senior advocacy issues much longer. It’s a calling she traces back to her childhood, growing up in Corte Madera.

A good resource for finding assistance when you suspect instances of senior abuse or fraud is the National Eldercare Locator. There are additional resources here on the EFPN website.

The North Bay Report previously reported on this issue on October, 2008.

Dec 31
2009

"Breadline USA"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in poverty , policy , nonprofit orgs , news , Health , food , families , economy , author

Bruce Robinson

  

Hunger—now called “food insecurity” in government-speak, is a growing problem across the United States, but one that conflicts with our national self-image

As he was researching Breadline USA, Sacramento-based investigative journalist Sasha Abramsky decided he should experience for himself exactly the sorts of no-win choices that confront someone on a low and limited income. Drafting a budget for a single person working at a full-time job paying $8.23 per hour, Abramsky found he would have only $50 per week to spend on food, unless something went wrong, as inevitably happens. Ultimately, he concluded, it was simply not possible to survive without outside assistance.

One way the government has deflected attention from the growing numbers of underfed families and children in the country, says Abramsky, is by redefining hunger as “food insecurity.”

Read a sample from Breadline USA here.

The largest source of food assistance in the North Bay is the Redwood Empire Food Bank. Click on the links to find out about what they are doing, and how you can get involved.

 

Last summer, the food bank issued the following press release, citing the dramatically increased demand for food that they have been attempting to serve.

Amount of Food Distributed by REFB Up 32 Percent Since Recession

  SANTA ROSA, July 29 – The amount of food distributed by the Redwood Empire Food Bank has increased more than 32 percent in Sonoma County since the nation’s recession began two years ago.
The increase was even greater in several parts of the county. Food distributions were up 66 percent in Healdsburg, 63 percent in Cloverdale, 43 percent in Rohnert Park/Cotati and 42 percent in Sonoma Valley.

The increase in food distributions is based on year-end calculations made earlier this month at the close of fiscal 2008-09.

The accounting shows that the REFB distributed the equivalent of 8,154,193 meals during fiscal year 2008-09 in Sonoma County, a 32.3 percent increase over the 6,165,415 meals the REFB distributed to people in need during fiscal 2006-07.
 
The increase in need is showing up in all of the hunger relief programs the REFB supports or operates. Two programs for children showed significant increases in just the past year.
 
Gail Atkins, Director of Programs at the REFB, said there was a 21 percent increase in the number of After School Snacks served low-income children throughout the county during fiscal 2008-09. She said the REFB provided 248,050 nutritious snacks – 43,000 more than the year before – to youngsters at Boys and Girls Clubs, recreation centers, schools and other youth centers that criss-cross the county, from Petaluma north to Cloverdale and Sonoma Valley west to Bodega Bay.
 
Atkins also said summer lunches distributed in June through the REFB’s annual Every Child, Every Day – Summer Hunger Initiative jumped 18 percent over the previous June..
 
Economists generally agree the nation slipped into the current recession following the first two quarters of 2007-08.
 
David Goodman, executive director of the REFB, said the numbers don’t come as a big surprise but are nonetheless shocking.
 
“We knew that people needed more help as the economy tanked, jobs were lost, home foreclosures increased,” said Goodman. “So, seeing this huge jump in the numbers was anticipated.”
 
“Nonetheless, we distributed food for almost 2 million more meals than we did two years ago,” he said. “That so many people are under such stress to feed themselves and their families is shocking, but at the same time we’re gratified by the fact that the food bank and other hunger relief programs in the county are able to respond.”
 
Based on annual food distributions, the REFB projected two years ago that the food bank and 133 partner agencies provide food to 60,000 Sonoma County residents each month.
 
“Now, every indication shows that the numbers are significantly larger,” he said. “More people need help.”
 
The REFB is nearing the end of its annual three-month summer food and cash drive.
 
Goodman said the REFB got a big boost in nonperishable food supplies in May when North Bay mail carriers collected more than 150,000 lbs. of canned and packaged food, a third of which went on REFB’s warehouse shelves.
 
“But that food is now gone,” said Goodman. “So, we need all the help the community can give us.”
 
 The REFB is the largest food bank serving the North Coast of California from Sonoma County to Oregon.  
In addition to providing hunger relief in Sonoma County, the REFB is the primary resource for food pantries and other hunger relief agencies in Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties.
 
 For more information, call David Goodman, 523-7900.

Dec 22
2009

Crisis at Home

Posted by Voice of Youth in youth , Sonoma County , poverty , nonprofit orgs , news , KRCB , journalism , jobs , housing , homeless , food , finances , families , economy , community engagement

Voice of Youth

Ten teenagers from Santa Rosa, California-based Community Action Partners explore the impact of the national economic crisis on our local communities.  These young "citizen journalists" explore a wide range of topics such as housing, food, and unemployment, and meet many individuals facing these unprecedented challenges.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYNgHXvyGhU 426x240]

Watch Monday Night at 7:30 p.m. on KRCB-TV

Dec 17
2009

Copenhagen Climate Conference

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , waste , technology , Sonoma County , resources , research , protest , politics , policy , planning , nonprofit orgs , news , media , legislation , law enforcement , justice , journalism , international , Ideas , Green , government , go green , events , environment , economy , design , corporate responsibiliyt , conservation , Congress , climate change , carbon , California , business , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

Sonoma County’s delegation to the Copenhagen Climate Summit will be heading home with some ideas they hope to apply locally.

There was a considerable backlash when it was announced that Sonoma County was sending seven delegates to the Copenhagen conference. Tim Anderson, a spokesman for the Sonoma County Water Agency, says those concerns were understandable, but notes that nearly half of those travel expenses have been picked up by other agencies from outside the county. And he believes the trip will prove worthwhile to the county, over time.

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There was a considerable backlash when it was announced that Sonoma County was sending seven delegates to the Copenhagen conference. Tim Anderson, a spokesman for the Sonoma County Water Agency, says those concerns were understandable, but notes that nearly half of those travel expenses have been picked up by other agencies from outside the county. And he believes the trip will prove worthwhile to the county, over time.

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Anderson, who is also attending the Copenhagen conference, says that while he has not been directly affected by any of the numerous protests that have been staged in and around the Danish capital, it’s impossible not to be aware of them.

Rohnert Park city councilman Jake McKenzie is one of the local elected officials attending the Copenhagen conference. In this video clip, filmed earlier this week, he shares some of his ideas and inspirations from the event.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2CVwYtMb98&NR=1 300x300]

Also attending is Sonoma County Supervisor Valerie Brown, who explains that her primary focus there is being an advocate for local governments.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTyDNEVi7yI 300x300]