Legislature to consider 5 anti-poverty bills

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NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Lawmakers are working to approve some new measures this session to help more people get out of poverty.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 11% of people in Massachusetts were living below the poverty level in 2015.

Here are five changes that legislators want to implement in order to make that percentage decrease:

  • Pushing to require employers to offer paid family and medical leave
  • Working to eliminate certain debt-collection strategies
  • Reimburse students who paid their tuition to for-profit schools that suddenly closed
  • Allow a parent who receives public assistance to collect more child support from the parent that does not have custody of the child
  • Increase the state’s earned income tax credit

Northampton residents 22News spoke with say that one local change that would help would be offering more resources to the homeless.

“I think a lot of people feel ashamed to ask for help, and it’s not shameful. The more resources that are made available and the more people know about them, the better,” Steffi Porter of Northampton said.

These five bills all reintroduce proposals that failed last term. If approved, the bill to increase the state’s earned income tax credit could boost 20,000 families up beyond the federal poverty level. That would help give more families money to spend on housing.

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