Did you know that January is poverty awareness month? Though we are often touted as one of the most prosperous nations in the world, our country has a major poverty problem. According to the most recent Census reports, the official poverty rate in the United States increased to 11.4%, the first time in over five years there has been a reported increase. In 2020, there were 37.2 million people in poverty, an increase of 3.3 million from the previous year.

While poverty is an issue that impacts folks from all communities, it is also an unfortunate reality that folks from BIPOC communities, people with disabilities, and women are disproportionately impacted by poverty. Though this was a problem prior to COVID, the pandemic served to further exacerbate these inequities and highlighted just how dire of an issue poverty is in this country.

This is why economic justice is a crucial component of the work Legal Voice does to advance both gender equity and LGBTQ+ rights–the work is intricately interconnected. We have been fighting to expand access to health care coverage for undocumented immigrants by advocating for a budget proviso to create a plan to enroll undocumented immigrants in a program by 2024. We are also working to re-introduce a bill during the 2022 Washington State Legislative Session that would offer unemployment insurance to undocumented immigrants. And, in partnership with the City of Seattle, we are working to create a program that would provide paid leave for domestic workers, allowing them to take these benefits with them regardless of who or how many employers they may have. Though the work is never done, Legal Voice continues to make bold moves that brings us closer to a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

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