Just Economics of Western North Carolina

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People’s Advocacy & Action Group

speak outHave you ever wanted to make a difference around issues that affect you and your family? Just Economics hosts an action-oriented event that takes place bi-monthly to talk about our lives, learn skills to advocate for ourselves, and take action immediately on a different issue at each gathering.  

Weren’t able to attend the previous groups but interested in taking action?  You still can!  Read what we’ve been up to:

November 2015 Affordable Housing Part 2

This was a follow up to September’s Affordable Housing event specifically focused on what our role in the Affordable Housing issue can/should be.  Just Economics is participating with the Success Equation and focusing some attention on City  & County owned land and guidelines/priorities for land banking, land acquisition, and releasing land for sale or use.  We also support the Success Equation Affordable Housing agenda and are putting some attention toward renter’s rights and education.

September 2015:  Affordable Housing Part 1

This event was meant to get a better understanding of the affordable housing issue here in Buncombe County and find ways to take action.  To view the slides presentation click here

July 2015:  Humanizing Poverty

A People’s Advocacy and Action Group organized by the 2015 Voices for Economic Justice graduates to begin filming stories about living on a low income in Buncombe County.  This film will premiere at our 2015 Annual Celebration and is meant to help tell the stories of poverty locally to help people understand what low-income people face.  We believe that telling these stories helps to move the work forward.

May 2015:  Public Budget Process follow up

In May we focused on taking action on the City, County, and State budget process.

March 2015:  Public Budget Process

In March we talked about the public budget process and how to get involved.  Click here to view the powerpoint presentation

January 2015:  Child Care Vouchers

In January we talked about how the reduction in Child Care Voucher Eligibility was hurting working families.  Click here to read more about the issue in Children First’s Toolkit and sign the petition to support access to affordable and quality childcare.

11173379_696797253759506_4142205321893830147_nNovember 2014: Intersectionality

We talked about the intersectionality and worked on our performance for the annual celebration creating a giant puzzle illustrating the interconnectedness of the issues in our community and celebrating collaborations and the work to build a better community.

September 2014: Transit

In September, we used this time to celebrate the victories won in our transit campaign and talk about the road ahead.  For more on our transit campaign visit http://justeconomicswnc.org/transportation-campaign/

July 2014: Restaurant Workers

In July we had a picnic talking about issues faced by restaurant workers.  The Asheville Sustainable Restaurant Workforce was a newly forming organization.  For more about the ASRW go to asrw.org.

May 2014:  Kids in the Movement

Supporting Kids and Their Families in being part of the movement for change, advocating for affordable childcare, & sharing free and low cost local kid-friendly activities.

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During this session we talked about 3 things:

1)  Advocating for Accessible Childcare:  Economic justice issues do not only impact adults, they affect the whole family. Kids often suffer from financial troubles beyond their own control. When parents cannot pay for quality childcare, kids may have to spend their time in problematic or unhealthy settings or parents are prevented from being able to pursue job or education opportunities.  Many working parents have to spend a high percentage of their income on childcare.  The average childcare cost in Buncombe County is $427 per child a month according to the NC Justice Center.  Greg Borom from Children First/CIS shared important advocacy opportunities with us (see what you can do)!

2)  Sharing Resources for Free and Low Cost Activities to do with Children:  Sam, a mom of three and a graduate of Just Economics’ VOICES for Economic Justice community organizing and leadership training, created a great list of these activities and led the group in sharing resources that we know about.  We want to invite you to join the sharing and add resources to this list and share with your friends and neighbors!

3)  Involving Kids in the Movement:  We work to provide childcare for many of our meetings and events to make them accessible for parents.  How can we not just provide child care but work to involve kids in movements that affect them?  Children at the group that night had all participated in actions to create change.  We shared from their experience, sang movement songs together, and learned about kids throughout American history who worked together in the Child Labor and Civil Rights movements.









What You Can Do

1)  Visit http://childrenfirstcisbc.org/index.php/advocacy/ to learn about how you can advocate for children and family issues.
2)  Share and use the document with Free and Low Cost Fun created by Sam.  Let’s keep this up-to-date as a way to provide mutual support for low-income families.  Email amy@justeconomicswnc.org any changes or additions to the kids’ activities document. Free and Low Cost Fun in Asheville with Kids


March 2014:  Moving from Isolation to Community

Moving from the ISOLATION created by income inequality into COMMUNITY built on support and mutual aid!

Facilitated by members of BeLoved House, an intentional community working to end homelessness and poverty, with Faith Rhyne, CPSS, organizer with The Icarus Project and the Asheville Radical Mental Health Collective 

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Being isolated from others is detrimental to emotional health. As part of a community, members have connections from which they can benefit through trust, reciprocity, information, and cooperation. Connected community members have more social capital, which improves quality of life. As a whole, Americans have declined in social capital due to less interaction with their communities. Income inequality can create a barrier restricting inclusion in groups. 

Social Capital Bowling Alone


What You Can Do

Join our Accompaniment Network!  Accompaniment is someone “going alongside” another person to places that can be highly stressful to offer support, encouragement, and to help advocate for that person.  Accompaniment could be to a medical appointment, court, DSS, filling out applications, etc.  To join, fill out this interest form and return it to Amy Cantrell by email (amy@justeconomicswnc.org), at the Just Economics office (Suite 207 in the United Way building), or to BeLoved House (39 Grove St., Asheville, NC  28801). Accompaniment Network

January 2014:  Medicaid Expansion

Save Lives, Save Money Expand Medicaid in North Carolina

Facilitated by members of the VOICES for Economic Justice graduates and Peggy Weil of Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP)

Many folks in the room during this People’s group have been directly affected by North Carolina’s decision not to expand Medicaid.  We shared our experiences with being unable to get quality healthcare.  We learned more about the state’s decision and about how that impacts the Affordable Care Act and the overall landscape of healthcare in the United States.  We learned how we can create change through educating the public on healthcare issues and calling on our state legislators to change their minds and expand Medicaid.

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Myths Verses Reality:

Myth: Medicaid is a broken program and does not reduce uncompensated care costs nor produce better health outcomes.

Response: Medicaid produces better outcomes for the money than any major private insurer. Medicaid reduces the proportion of hospital costs for procedures that go uncompensated, because Medicaid is a guarantee of payment for procedures covered in a given state. Medicaid has been shown to be more efficient than private health insurance.The Utah Health Policy Projects notes research that Medicaid delivers life-saving preventative care and improves overall public health. In states that have already expanded Medicaid, mortality rates have been reduced significantly. Adults also experienced significant reductions in delays getting health care due to cost.Multiple rigorous, independent reviews have found NC’s Medicaid Community Care saves the state substantial amounts of money by coordinating and managing the care delivered to North Carolinians covered by Medicaid. These reviews also note that NC’s program improves care for Medicaid patients.

medicaid expansion

What You Can Do

Join citizens from across the state to urge our lawmakers to stop putting politics before people and expand Medicaid, now.

Contact a local representative to expand medicaid. Sample Letter to Your Representative

Email Governor McCrory and your state legislators. Tell them to expand Medicaid. It will save lives and save money.

For the email link to Governor McCrory and your legislators go to http://statevoices.salsalabs.com/o/512/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=829 :http://statevoices.salsalabs.com/o/512/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=829  : http://www.ncleg.net/representation/WhoRepresentsMe.aspx

Sources: Center on Budget & Policy Priorities: www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=4023;
Utah Health Policy Project: www.healthpolicyproject.org/Publications_files/Organizing/MedicaidExpansion-MythsFacts-UHPP.pdf;
Mortality and Access to Care among Adults after Medicaid Expansions, Benjamin D. Sommers, M.D., Ph.D.:www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1202099#t=articleMethods (published on line July 25, 2012); andPopulation Health Management Journal: online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/pop.2013.0055 – Abstract section of “Health Care Savings with the Patient-Centered Medical Home: Community Care of North Carolina’s Experience”
Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000. Print.