We have billionaires and millionaires in our country. Who cares that one-fifth of our children are floundering in poverty? Who needs to know that most cities in America have people living on their streets?
Tag Archives: welfare
How would you like to try living on $275 a month — and in the District of Columbia no less? Inconceivable for a single person. What then for a single mother with two kids?
Under Mayor Gray’s proposed budget, more than 6,100 families in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program will lose a fifth of their meager cash benefits come October — this on top of the same sized-cut imposed last April.
I was on the top floor of a downtown highrise talking with a corporate executive about the strategic impact of placing homeless persons in apartments that are supported with physical and mental health care, what many call today “Housing First.”
“No longer will our homeless neighbors languish on the streets,” I explained to him. “Or for that matter, will even have to hunker down in a homeless shelter.”
I work within a few office spaces away from a waiting room filled to the brim with people that are so impoverished they have resorted to living on the streets. Those of us on the front lines battling homelessness in America know that the so-called American social safety net is tattered.
An incredulous gasp is my only response when a presidential candidate, worth a quarter of a billion dollars, publicly states on national television that this country has a “very ample safety net” for poor Americans.
A new bill being floated in the US House of Representatives aims to abolish a loop-hole that allows cash-aid welfare recipients to use welfare benefits at strip clubs and casinos. As reported by Politico, the bill, introduced by Republican Representative Charles Boustany is intended to prevent the “fraudulent misuse of funds” in the government’s welfare program.
Sounds pretty serious. So how big of a problem is this?
Apparently, it’s not a big problem at all. In California, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger enforced an executive order prohibiting casinos from accepting welfare benefits as payment. His order was in response to this LA Times expose on the unintended use of benefits.
Huffington Post blogger Dan Morgan looks back nearly 50 years to tell us what poverty was like in his early reporting days.
This is an important, timely post because it reminds us of how poor people lived — and died — before the creation of today’s safety net.
Here in the District of Columbia, Morgan found “people living in basement apartments with dirt floors. Many were hungry, cold and short of coal for stoves. Some children were staying home because they had no shoes.”
Safety nets are supposed to catch people when they fall so they don’t crash to the ground. So too with what we call safety net programs. We have created them so that people don’t land in desperate poverty. We’d thus expect safety net programs to catch more people when the economy tanks, as it did […]
As I may have mentioned, the law that authorizes the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program was due to expire at the end of September.
No extension would have meant no more federal funds for states’ TANF programs. Also less funding for other programs states support with their TANF grants, e.g., subsidized child care, homeless services.
Florida recently implemented a state law that requires welfare recipients to pass a drug test to receive benefits. This type of moralistic driven public policy is not new, but it is dangerous (not to mention stupid).
Presumably, the intention of the law is to dissuade welfare recipients from doing drugs. Apparently that is a recreation best left for the privledged.
Fifteen years ago today, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act — the bill that created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
He’d promised to end welfare as we knew it. And, with a stroke of the pen, he did.