NC JUSTICE NEWS: The Importance of Nonprofits + Prisons as Mental Hospitals + The Battle for Unemployment Benefits
October 19, 2010
The 2009 Recovery Act included money for nonprofits so those organizations could continue providing services to families most in need during the recession. But that funding disappears next year.
Millions of North Carolinians depend on nonprofits for help as they struggle with joblessness and other economic pressures. And nonprofits employ about 400,000 people in this state—almost a tenth of the total workforce. Sustaining state grants to nonprofits in North Carolina in the years ahead will help to ease the pain of the Great Recession and its aftermath while preserving thousands of jobs for individuals working to improve the lives of millions of North Carolinians.
- NC Justice Center: BTC Brief - NC Nonprofits Pinched: State support for nonprofits plummets as need for services grows
A new report from the Justice Center’s NC Budget & Tax Center shows that more than 800,000 North Carolinians claimed the state EITC in tax year 2008 to the tune of $59 million. That’s money that not only helped low-income working families meet their basic needs, but also stimulated local economies, as families likely spent those EITC dollars quickly and close to home.
Families who get the federal EITC are eligible for the state EITC, which was worth 3.5% of the federal credit in 2008 and goes up to 5% this year. But in 2008, some 60,000 North Carolinians who received the federal EITC did not claim the state credit. Clearly, more outreach to families is needed.
- NC Justice Center: BTC Brief - State EITC in North Carolina: Implemented in the nick of time
- EITC Carolinas: The Earned Income Tax Credit, you earned it – claim it!
- Charlotte Observer: Poll: Carolinians say recovery will take years
In most cases, these faulty and even illegal processes were paperwork shortcuts—that means the homeowners were likely in default on their mortgages. But with the shortcuts, foreclosure was so easy and so cheap for banks that they had no incentive to work with homeowners to help them keep their homes. That may change, now that the public and public officials are on to the scheme.
Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, explaining how a federal moratorium on foreclosures could help homeowners, said on NPR this weekend: "The banks are trying to do everything on the cheap, which is understandable from their prospective. But what that means is that they're not thinking as much as they should be about modifications, doing things to keep people in their home. And if you say, 'Look, no, you gotta do things right. You have to file the paperwork, you're going to have to trace down the title and make sure everything's done right. And if that adds two, three, four thousand [dollars], that's the way it goes.' And if that's the case, then the bank might look much more seriously at the prospect of modifying the loan in a way that allows the person to stay there."
- National Public Radio: Banks fumble amid flood of foreclosures
- News 14: Mortgage lenders' deadline passes for voluntary foreclosure suspension
- Charlotte Observer: Bank of America: Foreclosure costs 'grossly distorted'
- New York Times: Editorial - The Foreclosure Crises
- Raleigh News & Observer: Questions and answers about the foreclosure freeze
The report shows that the number of people with serious mental illness in North Carolina's prisons and jails is now more than six times higher than those in state psychiatric hospitals. And the planned closure of Raleigh's Dorothea Dix Hospital promises to exacerbate this crisis.
Instead of providing its citizens with the care they need, North Carolina is locking them up with violent offenders, denying them treatment and leaving them vulnerable to abuse. And at the moment, the state has no plan and has demonstrated no commitment to fixing the problem. The situation is truly disgraceful.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, Wake County: Prisons and jails are North Carolina's new mental hospitals
- Raleigh News & Observer: Mentally ill now kept in prisons
- Charlotte Observer: Editorial - State hasn't come to grips with mental health woes
- League of Women Voters of Henderson County
- Progressive Pulse: NCHealthAccess Interview: Ben Money, CEO Community Health Center Association
- Durham: Saturday, October 23; 2:00-5:00 pm; Durham Public Library, 300 North Roxboro Street
- Wilmington: Monday, October 25; 5:30-7:30 pm; Wilmington Downtown Library, 210 Chestnut St.
- Asheville: Thursday, October 28; 5:30-7:00 pm; offices of Western Carolinians for Criminal Justice, 218 Patton Avenue