TANF goes up – are families the winner?

By on May 5, 2009. Posted in . Tagged as , , , , , .

Happy Cinco de Mayo folks…

The Associated Press reported today that there’s been a huge increase in people applying for TANF…article below:

The recession has more poor people applying for a Washington welfare program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

The Seattle Times reports enrollments in the past year increased 18 percent to about 59,000 families.

The cost of the monthly grants to poor adults with children is expected to total $1.56 billion in the next two-year budget, a 9 percent increase.

A family of two – a parent and child – receives $453 a month. The amount increases by about $100 for each additional family member. Many families also receive food stamps worth about $100 a month.

Participants must take part in the WorkFirst job training or education programs.

As great as it is for folks in a crunch to recieve help, it’s that last line – that participants must take part in the WorkFirst program – that is the pinch in this situation. At Helping Hand House, our goal is to get families off of public assistance as quickly as possible, and into jobs that can support the household. We believe (and research backs us up on this) that the keys to sustainably ending family homelessness are education and living-wage jobs. WorkFirst shortchanges people by requiring moms and dads to get jobs that ultimately pay little and keep families dependent on the government. And while it makes sense to get people working while recieving public assistance, it is unfortunately one of the main hindrances our case managers face in helping our families get off welfare and into the mainstream working world…

Thoughts? We’d love to hear your comments…