submitted by Ruth Crystal

LWVUS policy states: “. . . one of the goals of social policy in the United States should be to promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families. The most-effective social programs are those designed to prevent or reduce poverty. Persons who are unable to work, whose earnings are inadequate, or for whom jobs are not available have the right to an income and/or services sufficient to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and access to health care.[1]

One of the goals of social policy should be to reduce poverty and promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families; increasing emphasis on cash assistance; benefit levels should be sufficient to provide adequate food; and pay equity.

Previous LWVMD Actions in support of meeting basic human needs include:

  • Supported a requirement that most employers provide paid sick leave (not achieved 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • Supported an increase in Earned Income Tax Credits for families and individuals (not achieved 2016)
  • Supported a state supplement to provide a minimum of $30/month in food stamps (achieved 2016)
  • Supported equal pay for equal work (achieved 2016) [2]

The League recognizes that basic human needs may be met through income, services, or a combination of the two.  We will look at legislation that increases income for households in Maryland that lack sufficient income to meet their needs as well as legislation that addresses services that provide for the basic needs of food, shelter, healthcare, and childcare.  Across Maryland, it is estimated that about one-third of households do not have their basic needs met.  

With numerous issues and relevant pending legislation to cover, the Meeting Basic Human Needs Advocacy Team will begin by relying on and following the work of coalitions already working to ensure economic stability for all Maryland residents. Initial advocacy areas and relevant coalitions are listed below. Additional areas may be addressed as they emerge.

Self-Sufficiency for Maryland households:

  • Marylanders Against Poverty (MAP) is a coalition that advocates for state policies and programs necessary to address the underlying systemic causes of poverty and to ensure that low-income Marylanders are provided with the necessary resources. The coalition addresses economic opportunity, comprehensive health care, affordable housing and food and nutrition. Ruth Crystal will follow this issue.

Affordable Housing:

  • Renters United Maryland [3] focuses on stability, safety, fairness and just cause eviction. The Community Development Network of Maryland supports effort to increase affordable housing.[4] Ruth Crystal will follow this issue.

Tax Credits as an Anti-Poverty Tool:

  • Tax Credits for Maryland Families (TCMF) and its coalition partners lead an effort to increase the state Earned Income Tax Credit. [5] Nancy Diamond and Marcia Kingman will follow this issue.

Cost of Prescription Drugs:

  • Health Care for All will focus on reducing cost of prescription drugs to ensure that all Marylanders have access to affordable medications.[6] Lisa Barkan will follow this issue. 

For further information contact [email protected]                        





[4] Community Development Network


[6] Health Care for All

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