Community Action Partnership

Recent Articles

The tragic irony of racial disparities in Minnesota

On July 18, 2014, Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties will host Minnesota Commissioner of Health, Dr. Ed Ehlinger, at its inaugural Community Health Action Talks (C.h.a.t.) event. During this presentation, Dr. Ehlinger will address the significant health disparities that continue to plague the State of Minnesota. Recent data from the Wilder Foundation’s MN Compass project illustrate that people of color are 2½ times more likely to be without health insurance as compared to White Minnesotans. Particularly affected by this trend are Minnesota’s Native American and Hispanic populations. In fact, Native Americans are more than three times as likely, and Hispanics more than four times as likely, to be without health care. Continue Reading →

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The New Poor — how secure are you from this emerging American class?

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 triggered the most ominous economic emergency since the Great Depression nearly 80 years before. During this calamity, a number of new terms and phrases began to enter the general American lexicon. Such terms included credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, mortgage backed securities, over-leveraging, pricing of risk, deregulation, predatory lending, subprime and adjustable rate loans, increased debt burden, the housing bubble, hedge funds, and the shadow banking system. In addition, financial analysts identified the emergence of a new class in America, a group that they dubbed “The New Poor.”

The concept of a “shrinking middle-class” or a “middle-class squeeze” is not a particularly new idea and has been part of our economic dialogue for some time now. Large-scale trends such as outsourcing, massive layoffs, plant closings, downsizing, and corporate mergers have put many middle-class Americans at risk for several years. Continue Reading →

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Affordable housing shortage among disastrous assaults on the poor

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 spawned in many of us a righteous outrage that took aim at a worldwide financial establishment that in the eyes of many had completely run amok. At the time, a number of experts cited new and expanded banking practices, many related to the home mortgage industry, that had a decidedly detrimental effect on both the American and larger global economies. Since 2007, for example, Americans have become more familiar with terms such as deregulation, subprime and adjustable rate loans, credit default swaps, the housing bubble, collateralized debt obligations, mortgage-backed securities, hedge funds, predatory lending, over-leveraging, and the shadow banking system. As a result of such banking practices, the Twin Cities, along with many other urban centers, experienced an unprecedented number of home foreclosures. In Hennepin and Ramsey Counties alone, there was a nearly 400 percent increase in the number of foreclosures during a six-year period where tens of thousands of homes were auctioned off by the respective sheriff’s departments. Continue Reading →

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Are you ‘unbanked’ or ‘underbanked’?

Financial illiteracy is a calamity in the making
The North American Securities Administration Association declares that “The need for financial education in the United States has never been greater. The precipitous drop in savings rates and the rise of personal debt indicates a looming crisis that will be averted only through the combined efforts of public and private sectors, educators, and in the end, individuals making informed choices about their own financial futures. “These problems will not be solved by education alone, but we are certain that they cannot be solved without education.”

This ominous quote calls attention to what is a genuine calamity in the making, not just in America but throughout the world. A great deal of the analysis and personal angst surrounding the most recent financial crisis and the resulting recession focused on a worldwide financial establishment that, in the view of many, had wickedly “run amok.” During this time, a number of financial experts cited the onset of new and expanded banking practices as having a decidedly detrimental effect on the global economy. For example, when the financial crisis emerged in 2007, Americans quickly became familiar with terms such as deregulation, subprime and adjustable rate loans, credit default swaps, the housing bubble, collateralized debt obligations, mortgage-backed securities, hedge funds, predatory lending, over-leveraging, and the shadow banking system. Continue Reading →

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Poverty and the criminal justice system are intimately related

One of the most critical, yet often overlooked aspects of poverty in this nation is the escalating incarceration rate of American citizens. The Justice Policy Institute notes that since 1970, the number of incarcerated Americans has grown nearly eight-fold to a total of more than 2.2 million people today. In addition, nearly five million more American adults are currently caught up in the criminal justice system through probation or parole. This precipitous spike in the U.S. prison population coincides with this country’s war on drugs and is representative of a proliferation in America’s poor, which now counts more than 46 million people among its ranks.  

The link between poverty and contact with the criminal justice system is well established. Continue Reading →

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This board member breaks the mold

Old enough to advocate, young enough to still relate 

By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer


You don’t meet LeAndra Estis so much as experience her. The svelte, diminutive dynamo, an enthused conversationalist, arrests your attention, bringing intelligence and passion to bear on whatever subject happens to be at hand. Good news: Estis is committed to the cause of affording disenfranchised, low-income Twin Citians tools and tactics to empower economic advancement. She is a board member of Community Action Partnership (CAP), a national agency dedicated the past 50 years to leveling the field for those who’ve been shunted to society’s sidelines. On top of which, the term “board member” generally brings to mind a stodgy, self-impressed stuffed blouse of fairly advanced age more concerned with being officious than being of actual effect.  At 31, energetic and outgoing, Estis breaks that mold. Continue Reading →

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The War on Poverty: 50 years later

On January 8, 1964, a mere six weeks after taking office, President Lyndon B. Johnson stood before the nation to deliver his first State of the Union address. In his address President Johnson proclaimed that “This administration declares unconditional war on poverty in America. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it. For the war against poverty will not be won here in Washington. Continue Reading →

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