Dallas Area Interfaith

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DAI Calls Upon City Council for Adequate Rest Breaks for Dallas Construction Workers

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DAI Draft Letter to Dallas City Council calling for adequate rest breaks for Dallas constrcution workers, November, 2014Clergy and institutional leaders of Dallas Area Interfaith are preparing to deliver a letter to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and members of the Dallas City Council calling for adequate rest breaks for all Dallas construction workers. You may DOWNLOAD a copy of the draft letter in PDF, and the full text of the letter is quoted below. If you are a clergy member or institutional leader of any DAI member institution, you are invited to add your name as a signatory to that letter by completing the linked FORM or by calling the DAI office between the hours of 9 am and 3 pm, Monday through Thursday, at 214-689-5988.

The full text of the draft letter will be printed on the letterhead of Dallas Area Interfaith.

November, 2014

Dear Mayor Rawlings and the Members of Dallas City Council:

We, the undersigned organizations, write to urge you to support a rest break ordinance for Dallas construction workers.

Dallas is currently experiencing a period of unprecedented growth and has one of the highest rates of new construction in the United States. According to the 2010 U.S. census, roughly 225,000 construction workers live and work in the Dallas Metroplex. Yet, these men and women are laboring in the most deadly state in the country to work in construction. Build a Better Texas: Construction Worker Conditions in the Lone Star State, a 2013 study published by the University of Texas-­‐Austin, Build a Better Texas: Construction Working Conditions in the Lone Star State, found that 33% of Dallas construction workers do not receive rest breaks, and 12% have witnessed a coworker faint on the job due to heat exhaustion.

The importance of regular rest breaks for workers is undeniable. Construction workers engage in strenuous physical activity and often labor in extreme heat. Under such conditions, regular breaks to rest, hydrate, and cool off in the shade are critical to ensure that workers perform their jobs safely and effectively. Working without rest dramatically increase one’s risk of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and even death. Yet these heat-­‐related illnesses are entirely preventable if workers are given sufficient rest breaks during the workday.

We believe that rest breaks are a basic human right. Yet there is no state or federal law mandating breaks for workers. Instead, employers are simply expected to do the right thing. Although many responsible construction businesses do already provide regular rest breaks to their workers, too many employers in our community do not.

For these reasons, we ask that City Council take action to guarantee all Dallas construction workers at least ten minutes of rest for every four hours of work. We ask this out of deep respect for the men and women who build the City of Dallas, as well as the many honorable construction employers who already prioritize the health and safety of their employees.

Passing a rest break ordinance in Dallas will have an extraordinary impact on the physical and economic welfare of Texas construction workers and their families. These men and women build our homes, our offices, and our schools. They deserve dignity and respect. Join us in standing with Dallas construction workers by recognizing their basic right to rest.


cc: Pro Tem Mayor Tennell Atkins; A.C. Gonzalez, City Manager; RyanS. Evans, First Assistant City Manager


Texas Way Forward - A Campaign to Bring Health Care to Texans Based on Three Numbers

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DAI Way Forward Plan for Making Healthcare Available for More Hard Working TexansDallas Area Interfaith is part of IAF a network 10 organizations in Texas that are non-partisan and represent over 400,000 families in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley, Austin, El Paso, West Texas, Laredo and Del Rio Eagle Pass. The IAF Network has been working to create healthy communities across the state for over 40 years. Dallas Area Interfaith and the other IAF organizations continue committed to build the power so that ALL poor and working families have access to health care. Below is the state of health care in Texas.

1 Million

One million Texans are in the coverage gap because Texas chose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Unless they are pregnant or disabled, adults (19-64) with incomes under 138% of poverty level do not qualify for Medicaid in Texas. 69% are in working families but most do not have access to employer-based coverage, all have limited income available to buy coverage on their own, and none qualify for subsidies through the exchange. Clinics and hospitals will continue to serve this population but this system is stressed by increasing demand and limited resources. Experience in other states shows that failing to cover these people would result in an estimated 8,400 premature deaths each year.


In addition to generating an estimated 231,000 new jobs in Texas by 2016, the stimulus from the additional federal funds from 2014 through 2017 would also generate an estimated $1.8 billion in new state tax revenue, offsetting half of the $3.7 billion in state match required, as well as generating $2.5 billion in local revenue. It would also boost the economy by $67.9 billion and reduce the current $1.8 billion in annual hospital charity care costs.


Federal funds will pay 100% of the costs for the first year, gradually decreasing to never less than 90%. Savings from the cost of existing local and state programs plus the increase in tax revenues from the boost to the economy would cover Texas’ share of the costs. Property owners could see a significant savings in local taxes going to support indigent health care in their counties. Policy holders could see a reduction in premiums due to the reduction in unreimbursed care which is currently reflected in the amount of their insurance premiums. In addition, premium tax dollars would offset some of the cost to the State.

Premium Tax

What is a premium tax? This is the tax that is charged on every health insurance premium. Estimates are that for every $100 dollars the state gets back 7 ½ cents. This money goes into the general revenue budget.

CLICK HERE or on the image at the left to download a PDF of the DAI Way Forward, including a breakdown by county of benefits and savings to Texans.


Skill QUEST $500,000 ACE Grant Award Press Conference

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Skill QUEST ACE Grant Award Press Conference

On Tuesday, May 27, Skill QUEST Exeuctive Director and DAI Leader, Dr. Priscilla Kimery, announced that Skill QUEST was the recipient of a $500,000.00 matching grant from the State of Texas ACE Fund, providing Skill QUEST its single largest grant to date. Watch the 22 minute press conference on Vimeo or link through to the coverage by WFAA, Dallas TV Channel 8.  DAI Leaders have worked for years to create and sustain this local workforce intermediary that moves citizens earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level into highly skilled, in-demand jobs with quality local employers offering career advancement opportunties and meaningful benefits.  With year-on-year persistency rates approaching 90%, students completing the Skill QUEST program have moved from average earnings below $10,000 per year to greater than $43,400, establishing a level of financial security for their families many had thought unattainable. The success of the Skill QUEST program  is due in large measure to longer term training and its comprehensive wrap around services that address almost every possible contingency, for students willing to put forth the effort to succeed.   

Skill QUEST is a separate 501(c)(3) designated, Texas registered nonprofit corporation. For more information about Skill QUEST and its program, visit http://www.SkillQUESTntx.org


ACA First Open Enrollment Period Ends

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The First Open Enrollment Period for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act closed on March 31, 2014; and the next Open Enrollment Period will begin November 15, 2014.  If you began your enrollment before March 31, 2014 but were unable to complete that enrollment for qualifying reasons, you may be able to continue your enrollment process on the HealthCare.gov website.

If you did not apply for coverage by March 31, 2014, you will either have to wait for the next Open Enrollment Period or you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period of 60 days following certain life events that typically involve a change in family status (for example, marriage or birth of a child) or loss of other health coverage (such as if you lose your job which provided insurance coverage or your Cobra coverage expires).  Examples of qualifying life events include:

  • Marriage
  • Having a baby
  • Adopting a child or placing a child for adoption or foster care
  • Moving outside your insurer’s coverage area
  • Losing other health coverage—due to losing job-based coverage, divorce, the death of a spouse, the end of an individual policy plan year in 2014, COBRA expiration, aging off a parent’s plan, losing eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP, and similar circumstances. Important: Voluntarily ending coverage doesn’t qualify you for a special enrollment period. Neither does losing coverage that doesn’t qualify as minimum essential coverage.
  • Gaining citizenship
  • Leaving incarceration
  • Gaining status as member of an Indian tribe. Members of federally recognized Indian tribes can sign up for or change plans once per month throughout the year.
  • For people already enrolled in Marketplace coverage: Having a change in income or household status that affects eligibility for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions

Other Complicated Cases that may quality for a Special Enrollment Period:

  • You faced a serious medical condition or natural disaster that kept you from enrolling. For example:An unexpected hospitalization or temporary cognitive disability
  • A natural disaster, such as an earthquake, massive flooding, or hurricaneA planned Marketplace system outage, such as Social Security Administration system outage
  • Misinformation or misrepresentation
  • Misconduct by a non-Marketplace enrollment assister (like an insurance company, navigator, certified application counselor, or agent or broker) resulted in you:
    • Not getting enrolled in a plan
    • Being enrolled in the wrong plan
    • Not getting the premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction you were eligible for
    • Enrollment error
  • Your application may have been rejected by the insurance company’s system because of errors in reading the data, or some of the data was missing or inaccurate.
  • System errors related to immigration status
  • An error in the processing of applications or system caused you to get an incorrect immigration eligibility result when you tried to apply for coverage.
  • Display errors on HealthCare.gov
  • Incorrect plan data was displayed at the time that you selected your health plan, such as benefit or cost-sharing information. This includes issues where some consumers were allowed to enroll in plans offered in a different area, or enroll in plans that don’t allow certain categories of family relationships to enroll together.
  • Medicaid/Marketplace transfers:  If you applied for Medicaid through your state, or were sent to Medicaid from the Marketplace, but you weren’t eligible for Medicaid.
  • Your state transferred your information to the Marketplace but you didn’t get an answer about your eligibility and/or didn’t get enrolled before March 31, 2014.

If you able to continue enrollment begun prior to March 31, 2014, or you are entitled to a Special Enrollment Period, you'll need the following documents and information:

  • Proof of Citizenship  (SS card or passport)
  • Proof of State Residency  (Driver's License, copy of lease, or utility bill)
  • Proof of Income  (tax return, W-2, or pay stub)
  • A completed Employer Coverage Tool to determine if your employer's coverage is affordable and meets minimum standards  (https://www.healthcare.gov/downloads/ECT_Application_508_130615.pdf)
  • Proof of Legal Residence/Immigration Status  (Green Card)
  • Method of Payment  (How you will pay for the insurance plan.  No payment is required at signup.)
  • Applicant's Alien Registration Card (I551) if not an American Citizen

DAI Leaders have developed a number of helpful aids for anyone seeking to understand the insurance options available in the Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, many of which are used by area Navigators and Certified Application Counselors. View or download them below.



President Obama Thanks DAI Leaders in Dallas

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On Wednesday, November 6, 2013, President Barack Obama traveled to Dallas and met at Temple Emanu-El with leaders of Dallas Area Interfaith to recognize and thank them for their hard work and creative and diligent efforts educating Dallas area residents about the new health care insurance exchanges available under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare". The President encouraged DAI leaders to continue their organizing efforts and pledged to continue working to provide affordable, quality health care for all citizens. The pictures and links to articles and videos below are a work in progress, and we encourage you to submit additional pictures and links as you find them to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


President Obama Thanks DAI in Dallas, November 6, 2013, for its work for the ACA from Pool Feed on Vimeo.


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