Invitation to Participate in The Solutions to Poverty Project

Maine Equal Justice, along with Dr. Sandy Butler at the University of Maine, School of Social Work, is doing a research project to hear directly from people in communities throughout the State who may be having difficulty making ends meet. We are writing to ask for your help. Please consider participating in our study by completing a short survey to tell us a little about yourself, your opinions and what laws or policies you think would be the most effective in helping to reduce poverty in Maine. We will summarize the information that you and others provide to us in a report that will come out this fall. This report, including the recommendations from this survey, will help us advocate for policies that increase opportunities for all Maine people.

Who is Maine Equal Justice?
Maine Equal Justice is a non-profit legal aid provider, whose mission is to find solutions to poverty and improve the lives of people with low income in Maine. Our work is focused on the issues that affect people’s daily lives – access to affordable health care, food and income security, supports for working families, and higher education and training opportunities. Our work is informed by what we hear from Maine people with low income and others who are committed to increasing opportunity for all Maine people.

What are we asking you to do?
If you decide to help, please complete the survey by going to the link included at the end of this message. It should take you about 10-15 minutes. By completing the survey, you are giving us permission to include your responses (without your name attached) in our reports on the study findings.

Are there any risks to completing this survey?
We believe the risks to completing this survey are minimal, other than your time and effort.

What is the value of completing this survey?
Your confidential responses will be combined with many others. Together they will be used to help public policy makers and others better understand what respondents believe would be the most effective policies to reduce poverty. While there are no direct benefits to you in filling out the survey, we hope that you will feel some pride in taking part in a project that will inform the public discussion about important issues like child care, good jobs and increased access to health care and higher education.

Your participation in this survey is completely voluntary.
If you do choose to complete the survey, you are free to skip any question you do not want to answer.
Your survey answers will be kept completely confidential.

Your answers will be kept confidential; you do not need to provide your name. Survey Monkey collects your responses without linking them to you personally. But if you are interested in learning about the results of the study or participating in a possible follow-up study, and you do provide your name and address, we will not connect your name to your responses. We will identify your survey by using a code number such as 001. Your name; your responses; and a key, linking your name to your survey answers for possible future studies, will all be kept in a secure location at Maine Equal Justice and destroyed in ten years or less. Your survey responses, without your names attached, will be sent to Sandy Butler for analysis. No names will appear in our reports on the study findings.

Your personal responses will not be shared with any state agency or any other individual.
If you would prefer to complete a hard copy of this questionnaire, please contact Robyn Merrill at MEJP (626-7058), who will send you the survey, along with a self-addressed-stamped envelope to return your completed survey.

Contact Information
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Robyn Merrill at Maine Equal Justice (626-7058; rmerrill@mejp.org) or Sandy Butler at the University of Maine (581-2382; sbutler@maine.edu). If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant, please contact Gayle Jones, Assistant to the University of Maine’s Protection of Human Subjects Review Board (581-1498; gayle.jones@umit.maine.edu).

Thank you for the time and thought you put into completing this survey.

Sincerely,

Robyn Merrill and Sandy Butler

University of Maine Institutional Review Board Approved for Use Through 5/29/2015

Please complete this survey by July 18, 2014

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