McCormack Speaks

December 11, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Long-Term Supports & Services Center Analyzes Senior Demographic Profiles for National Councils on Aging

The post originally appeared on the Gerontology Institute blog.

The LeadingAge Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Center @UMass Boston is conducting research to help the National Councils on Aging (NCOA) develop a deeper understanding of older adults it serves by analyzing their economic and demographic profiles.

NCOA asked the LTSS center to develop a series of profiles of non-institutionalized older adults and use them to separate seniors into several segments. In particular, it wants to better understand a part of the senior population not often served by its programs and services – middle-income older adults.

“I think our analyses will provide new information to help NCOA target its programs to those people at risk for having to make major retirement-related adjustments to their standard of living,” said Marc Cohen, co-director of the LTSS center. “That information can enable NCOA to help these people better prepare themselves in advance.” Continue reading.

December 8, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Renewable Energy: Where Perception and Reality Collide

by Thomas Nee, McCormack Graduate School student

confused man with his hands on his headPeople often believe what they want to believe despite contrary information. “It is remarkable that large groups of people can coalesce around a common belief when few of them individually possess the requisite knowledge to support it.” (Fernbach and Sloman, 2017). I examine here how perception and reality collide regarding climate change not whether it exists but what to do about it.

People trust experts. But what happens when experts contradict long-held beliefs?  “(S)witch off the radio, change channels, only like the Facebook pages that give you the kind of news you prefer. You can construct a pillow fort of the information that’s comfortable.” (Beck, 2017). Listen to trusted authorities who share your opinions and suppress the rest. False beliefs are often a social phenomenon.

Many people believe that “renewable” energy of any type is preferable to burning fossil fuels. Hydroelectric power is a proven form of renewable energy but it is not “free.” It costs money, manpower, and resources to develop a plant. Any carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted is greatly outweighed by the plant’s lifetime output. This may not be the case with all renewable systems. Continue Reading →

December 6, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Crucial Support for Senior Affordable Housing at Risk in Tax Reform Legislation

This post originally appeared on the Gerontology Institute blog.

By Len Fishman, Gerontology Institute

senior housingLow-income elder Americans face a housing crisis today. We don’t have nearly enough decent, affordable housing for them, and our country’s aging population is adding waves of new seniors to the waiting lists every day.

States and the federal government generally do not build new affordable housing directly. Instead, they maintain a market-based system that allows private firms and nonprofits (many of them faith-based) to partner with government to build and preserve housing for low-income elders and the working poor.

For decades, this public-private partnership has been the main engine driving new construction and preservation of subsidized senior housing. With the passage of tax legislation in both houses, Congress now faces a stark choice. Read more.

Len Fishman directs the Gerontology Institute. His work focuses on research and policy, especially to combine affordable senior housing and health care in innovative and cost-effective ways.

December 4, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Raising the Minimum Wage in Massachusetts to $15 – Should that even be a question?

by Marisela Ramirez, McCormack Graduate School student

money rollsWe are a society that values hard work and considers it the ticket to living a middle-class lifestyle. But, reaching this lifestyle isn’t always that easy for some. No matter how hard you work, you still find yourself struggling to make ends meet and pay for basic needs.

The minimum wage in 2008 was $8/hour where it remained for six years. In 2014, Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill that raised it to $11 per hour. This law was phased in over three years with a $1 annual increase. The last boost was implemented in January of this year.

In Massachusetts, a minimum wage worker currently earns $11 per hour, amounting to a full-time earned income of only $22,880 a year. Can you imagine trying to live on an income like this?  Or imagine being a parent who cannot provide some of the most basic needs of food, clothing, and child care for your family. We all know that the cost of living only keeps getting higher and higher. While the state has raised the minimum wage over the years, it has failed to take into consideration the increasing cost of living. Continue Reading →

December 4, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

McCormack Staff Member Speaks to the Nigerian Government to Pass a Bill Targeting Hate Speech

by the Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development

Post-it notes on bulletin board with messages of toleranceRepresenting the Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development (CPDD) at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, Nigerian Program Manager Mariam Marwa-Abdu recently spoke at a one-day retreat for federal lawmakers of Nigeria’s House Committee on National Security and Intelligence as it considers a bill on religious tolerance that includes provisions targeting hate speech. Recent trends in Nigeria have seen hate speech being used as a tool for silencing targeted groups, and as a weapon to belittle, defame, and bully different groups based on their ethnicity, religion, and culture.

Marwa-Abdu, a lawyer with years of management experience in Nigerian nonprofits, oversees CPDD’s collaboration with the Interfaith Mediation Centre (IMC) of Kaduna, Nigeria, working to build greater peace between Muslims and Christians nationwide. In her presentation on the Religious Tolerance and Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill, which IMC and CPDD helped to draft, Marwa-Abdu sought to persuade the members of the House of Representatives on the need to consider passing the document into law. She explained that if the law is not set in place quickly, the situation is likely to deteriorate, especially as Nigeria moves toward elections in 2019. After a few hours of deliberations based on her comments, the 18 committee members agreed to use the IMC/CPDD recommendations as a working document and vowed to see that the bill is passed into law. Continue reading.



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