One Check Away…

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Years ago, I remember reading American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto by Sudhir Venkatesh The book recently called to me (yes, I believe books pick you, not the other way around). I pulled it off my academic bookshelf and out slipped the fading op-ed piece Restore the cut to temporary assistance for needy families . “We urge Washington lawmakers to restore the 15 percent cut to TANF made back in 2011. The TANF restoration would increase the monthly grant for a family of three from $478 to $562. This $84 is critical to a family’s ability to access safe, stable housing, as well as the purchase of needed clothes and hygiene items for their children.”

How can one live off such meager income and how do so many people achieve it? I agree with many that welfare should not be a permanent solution, but a stepping stone. The intent of the program is to temporarily support families who have fallen on tough times. However, the current grant amount is nowhere near enough to help families cover necessities such as rent, clothing, utilities, school supplies, and transportation costs for school and work. Increasing the grant amount, as eight other states have done post-recession, could mean the difference between maintaining stable housing and becoming homeless. More than 5,600 families in our state receiving TANF are homeless — a heartbreaking record high number that starkly demonstrates that the minimal cash support we provide is not enough to help low-income families keep a roof over their heads. Reading this, I jotted in my note book “What is the new TANF grant?” I also like the comment at the end of the Op-Ed and jotted it down “If the Government were to shut down all the welfare, food stamps, and other safety net programs, would you be willing to voluntarily help the poor? Or would you just use the money you make for yourself and immediate family members?”

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One Response to One Check Away…

  1. @vapor_sage says:

    This is so relevant to what is on my mind this morning

    Liked by 1 person

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