September 16, 2021 by Sean O'Leary
West Virginia’s Unemployment Rate is Back to Normal, but the Economy is Far From Recovered for Everyone

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused tremendous challenges for West Virginia workers, from unsafe working conditions to unprecedented job losses. While some areas of West Virginia’s economy are recovering, the job market is far from pre-pandemic levels and employment gains have not been equally distributed. Further, increasing COVID-19 cases remain a threat to workers' health and…

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September 13, 2021 by Rhonda Rogombe
Increasing Vaccination Rates Requires Addressing Accessibility Challenges for Vulnerable Populations

Every one of us is responsible for doing what we can to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Several critical strategies reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19, as well as its variants. These include wearing masks, social distancing, and – most recently and notably – getting vaccinated against the infection.  Despite clear evidence supporting…

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September 8, 2021 by WVCBP
Racial Divisions Distract the Working Class from the Real Problem

This blog post, authored by the WVCBP's summer research associate Myya Helm, was originally published by the ReImagine Appalachia coalition. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain. In August 1921, union coal miners clashed with an anti-union citizen army near Blair Mountain, West Virginia, in what became the largest battle in the…

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September 2, 2021 by Rhonda Rogombe
Understanding the Enhanced Child Tax Credit

The enhanced child tax credit can benefit nearly every kid in West Virginia The enhanced child tax credit (CTC) is part of the federal government’s relief package (American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA) to help families during the pandemic. In 2021, this plan increases the amount of money that families with children can get refunded…

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August 31, 2021 by Sean O'Leary
Federal Relief Programs Cut Poverty in West Virginia by 71 Percent

Thanks to the programs enacted through COVID-related federal relief legislation this past year, an estimated 301,000 fewer West Virginians were living in poverty this year than would have been otherwise, a reduction of 71 percent, according to an analysis from the Urban Institute estimating the state's Supplemental Poverty Measure. The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) measures…

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August 25, 2021 by Rhonda Rogombe
Four Priorities for ARPA Funds

As the federal government continues to disperse emergency funds across the country, West Virginia lawmakers and advocates alike must focus on how the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) can further the state’s health, workforce, and economic recovery. ARPA was signed into law in March 2021. Amongst other provisions, the legislation includes expansions to food assistance, housing support, unemployment benefits, tax credits for working families, and…

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August 19, 2021 by Seth DiStefano
Data Already Showing Positive Impacts of Child Tax Credit, Though More can be Done to Ensure Benefit Reaches All Children

Recent data from the United States Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey shows a significant decrease in food insufficiency immediately after households received the first advanced payment of the newly expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC), with the largest decline in hunger being among households with children. While the data is already showing the immediate benefits of…

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August 12, 2021 by Sean O'Leary
Ending Enhanced Unemployment Benefits Failed to Increase Employment and Instead Increased Hardship in West Virginia

On June 19, Governor Justice ended all federally funded pandemic unemployment benefit programs, 12 weeks before they were set to expire. The benefits -- which included an extra weekly $300 payment to unemployed workers, as well as extended eligibility both for workers who had exhausted their regular weeks of eligibility and for self-employed workers and…

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August 10, 2021 by Quenton King
West Virginia’s Prison Mortality Rate Second-Highest in the Country

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, criminal justice experts and advocates have focused on ensuring the safety of incarcerated people from the virus. But even before the pandemic, jails and prisons were unsafe places for the people incarcerated within them. According to the latest report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) on mortality…

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July 28, 2021 by Kelly Allen, Rhonda Rogombe
Dental Benefit Already Making a Significant Impact in West Virginia

At the beginning of this year, West Virginia began offering a dental benefit for adults over the age of 21 who are enrolled in West Virginia Medicaid. This was a result of SB 648, a piece of legislation passed in 2020 which the WVCBP, the West Virginia Oral Health Coalition, and many partners and community members advocated on…

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