Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Model

"Washington should embrace the creation of "single stop" centers in post offices and retail stores throughout the nation. By making enrollment more comprehensive and accessible, more Americans will receive the boost they need to rise into the middle class."

Tom Freedman and Michael Weinstein, "Helping Americans Help Themselves: Toward a National Single Stop Policy and More Efficient, More Effective Poverty Fighting"

Very clever as a foundation leader to advocate for "single stop" centers when you fund one benefit access approach called Single Stop -- especially in document by Democratic Leadership Council.

Putting that aside, a more streamlined, comprehensive benefit access approach at the federal and state levels would be welcome,especially in these economic times. I'm not sure post offices and retail stores like Wal-mart are the best places to do this given their locations. We need multiple access points and should recognize "identity" issues that influence participation. For example, benefit access in EITC campaigns has had mixed results -- in part because people are there to do their taxes.

The bigger problem involves promoting common applications and e-filing, and undoing other administrative rules and barriers that get in the way.

There are lots of lessons to be learned from a variety of benefit access outreach campaigns and enrollment initiatives. Let's learn from them all.

(For full disclosure, I'm on the board of another benefit access organization. But there are more).

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