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ClearingHouse Review

Journal of Poverty Law and Policy
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2014 September - October

Legal aid organizations can achieve the most widespread impact—which funding sources have come to expect from their grantees—through a six-step operation described in this affirmative advocacy-themed issue. The origins of affirmative advocacy, today’s byword in the legal aid community, are brought to light as well. And affirmative advocacy is demonstrated by working toward immigrants’ equal rights; enrolling the uninsured under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; and ensuring access to public education for homeless, immigrant, and limited-English-proficient children.
Editor's Audio Commentary: 

About This Issue: Affirmative Advocacy

Article Abstract: 
Affirmative advocacy brings about broad-impact solutions that benefit more than one client with the same or similar problem.
By: 
Ilze Sprudzs Hirsh

Six Steps to Broader Impact

Article Abstract: 
High-volume, direct-service legal aid organizations would like to increase their impact. The transition to a practice model that fosters a mix of direct services and high-impact affirmative advocacy has six operational steps. Identifying client problems as subjects of broad-based advocacy is followed by brainstorming about responsible parties and strategies. Any decision to proceed with affirmative advocacy is based on a “research action,” which organizations must recognize as valuable expenditure of time and resources.
By: 
John Bouman

Moving Forward Together: Immigration Narrative Partnerships that Work

Article Abstract: 

Advocates for immigrants’ equal rights need a clear narrative that speaks to the public and emphasizes the values shared by native-born Americans and immigrants. A narrative is a set of broad themes and values that advocates can adapt to their voice and purpose. The Opportunity Agenda partnered with advocates in South Carolina to develop a narrative to build support in the state for immigrants’ equal rights.

By: 
Chuy Sanchez
By: 
Tammy Besherse
By: 
Diego Iniguez-Lopez

HelpHub: Technology to Build a Community for Affirmative Advocacy

Article Abstract: 
HelpHub, a crowdsourced website for frontline enrollment specialists in Illinois, offers expertise and feedback on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s implementation. Experts respond to information requests, elevate cases to government partners, and monitor for policy shortcomings. A forum for state and federal advocacy, HelpHub is a model for affirmative advocacy in the Act’s ongoing implementation.
By: 
Stephanie Altman
By: 
Stephani Becker
By: 
Basel Musharbash

A King’s Blueprint for Change

Article Abstract: 
Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for freedom and racial justice shows how to advocate change. To eliminate poverty, an American and moral imperative, advocates should follow—as did the civil rights movement—King’s blueprint: Recognize the need to right a wrong and inspire the masses to act. Create a unifying message that resonates with different audiences, and develop a media strategy to move the public and combat negative press.
By: 
Todd Belcore

Don’t Leave Them Behind: Education for Homeless, Immigrant, and Limited-English-Proficient Children

Article Abstract: 
Homeless, immigrant, and limited-English-proficient children may be unable to access a public education as public school districts make their residency requirements stricter. Advocates can challenge these policies through civil rights complaints to federal or state agencies or in federal or state court. Advocates should keep in mind the protections of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act and its inclusive definition of who is considered homeless.
By: 
Liz Abdnour

Ongoing Barriers to Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act

Article Abstract: 
Full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act must overcome these barriers: delays in income verification; conflicting information about how to note marital status on applications from domestic violence victims; unprocessed appeals of eligibility determinations; a “glitch” that prevents families who cannot afford employer-sponsored insurance from receiving premium tax credits; and preserving eligibility for a “special enrollment period” for individuals coming out of the Medicaid “coverage gap.”
By: 
Christopher E. Coleman