Slow Recovery Brings Increased Suffering to Oregon Families
Tuesday, November 7, 2011
The number of Oregonians qualifying for family assistance dollars continues to rise as over 500 new families with children access Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to provide the basics like food, housing, and medicine.
The conflicting trend of less state investment in services and rising caseloads puts dangerous pressure on Oregon’s kids. “We expect the numbers to get worse before they get better. (The Department of Human Services) is prepared for even more people to apply for assistance over the next few months, and we expect them to need help for longer periods of time than in the past,” said Jerry Waybrant, Assistant Deputy Director at DHS. He continues, “Poverty puts an incredible strain on the families who are struggling to meet their basic needs and keep their families safe. TANF helps the state’s most vulnerable families with children meet those basic needs.” Two out of every three Oregonians receiving basic assistance to help families make ends meet, is under the age of 18.
More State Budget Cuts Are Hitting Home
Redmond’s Housing Works Program Affected
Sunday, October 2, 2011
From KTVZ.COM News Sources
REDMOND, Ore.—Arrows shot by the 2011 Legislature are hitting their marks this week, as more budget cuts went into effect Oct. 1. Among them are stricter requirements for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and reductions in Supplemental Security Income for people with disabilities.
In July, the Oregon Legislature also cut job training, child care and transportation assistance for poor families.
At the housing authority in Redmond, called Housing Works, Housing and Resident Services Director Kenny LaPoint says the cuts have a domino effect: When people aren’t able to pay as much for housing, they need housing vouchers to make up the difference, and bigger vouchers per household means fewer are available.
“Especially with those TANF cuts as they come along, it puts us in a position—it puts all housing authorities in a position, in the state of Oregon—to where they need to make tough decisions,” he said. “And it may involve cutting families and putting them out on the street.”
More than one-quarter of people younger than 18 struggle to get by
Friday, September 23, 2011
Saerom Yoo, The Statesman Journal
When parents are in crisis, teacher supervisor Ben Fennimore said, they’re not able to build healthy relationships with their children, which is essential to their growth and development.
[Regan] Gray said she hopes state and federal lawmakers will re-examine budget cuts to public support systems, like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Employment Related Day Care.
Cuts cripple JOBS program
DHS forced to focus on services for those most likely to find work with less help
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Saerom Yoo, The Statesman Journal
Budget cuts to programs designed to help the state’s poorest families find employment have left many of their own workers without a job.
A 51-percent cut in the state JOBS program has led to a loss of 300 contractor jobs statewide. It’s also meant a reduction in the services offered to people most in need of employment help, and fewer poor people are being served.
Xochitl Esparza, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program manager for the Department of Human Services, called the cuts a “triple whammy.”
JOBS is a program for clients in TANF designed to train and provide job search assistance. TANF provides cash assistance to families, many of whom don’t have additional sources of income.
Restoring a safety net that offers actual support
Saturday, May 21, 2011
David Sarasohn, The Oregonian
[W]hen federal welfare reform first imposed a five-year limit in 1996, Oregon rearranged its efforts to help some families for a little longer. Then in 2007, the legislature overhauled the program, connecting the people on it to various non-cash services, and because it felt it had finally gotten TANF right, restarted the clock for clients.
Now, Oregon is proposing to go from making the most serious attempt to make TANF work to having the narrowest program in the country. In the worst recession in memory, 18 months is more like a magazine subscription than a deadline for salvaging a life.
“For someone who’s recovering from domestic violence, or who has a disability, the process is always longer than 18 months,” testified Courtenay Shinn of JOIN, a private Portland agency working to get homeless people into housing, where she has the modest but ambitious title of Retention Worker.
Faith leaders issue moral challenge to Legislature
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Oregon Faith Report
In the midst of persistent high unemployment and increasing family homelessness in Oregon, over 30 prominent Oregon religious leaders today issued a moral challenge to the state Legislature to “reverse course” on proposed cuts to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, and to fully fund the Emergency Housing Account, the General Fund Food program and other key programs that reduce hunger and homelessness for poor families with children.
Oregon needs to make the right choice
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Patti Whitney-Wise, Guest Columnist, The Oregonian
With the hard rain of this recession still falling, our legislators should consider all available choices: House Bill 3642 would allocate a modest amount of rainy day funds to help restore critical human services and public safety programs. We could roll back many of the tax credits and expenditures by 15 percent so that we are all sharing in the sacrifice of this rainy season. And there are more options.
Lawmakers Grapple With Cuts To Social Assistance
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Chris Lehman, OPB
But Mullen doesn’t hold back when the subject turns to the state Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program. It’s often called by its acronym, TANF. It pays for Mullen’s job training and gives her about $400 a month that she says she relies on for rent, utilities and clothing for her daughter.
Mend Oregon’s tattered safety net
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Oregonian Editorial Board
But nothing is as dire, as shortsighted, as the cuts targeted at vulnerable children and families. Oregon may impose an 18-month lifetime limit to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The federal policy is 60 months. If Oregon erases all support after just 18 months, it would have the nation’s shortest time limit.
Oregon’s budget priorities: It’s too soon to uproot the foundations we’ve laid
Friday, May 6, 2011
Ryan Fisher and Stephanie Tama-Sweet, Guest Columnist, The Oregonian
It’s raining: We have stability funds and rainy-day accounts for moments just like this. We need to use the resources we have available to help meet today’s needs.
Multnomah County Board of Commissioners condemns Oregon Legislature proposal to cut Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Nikole Hannah-Jones, The Oregonian
In a rare move Thursday, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution condemning a proposal being considered by the state Legislature that would reduce cash payments in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to an 18-month lifetime limit. If approved, the move would give Oregon the shortest time limit in the nation.
Families Facing Cuts
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Posted by: John Rossman, OPB
As lawmakers look for ways to fill Oregon’s multi-billion dollar budget short fall they are considering shrinking the lifetime limit of temporary cash and other assistance for families to 18 months. If passed, Oregon would have the shortest time limit for such assistance in the country.
The program facing cuts is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF. It provides finacial and social assistance for low-income families. Now, individuals receiving funds from TANF can do so for 60 months.
Oregon’s religious leaders ask lawmakers, governor to reconsider cuts to programs assisting needy families
Monday, May 2, 2011
Michele Cole, The Oregonian
Oregon’s religious leaders began circulating a letter Monday urging state lawmakers not to make cuts in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. As we reported last week, Oregon lawmakers are considering budget cuts that would drop families from welfare cash assistance after 18 months. The proposal, also included in the governor’s budget, could leave Oregon with the shortest time limit in the nation.
Cutting assistance will put families on the street
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Israel Bayer, Letters to the editor, The Oregonian
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is possibly being turned upside down by the state of Oregon. TANF provides cash assistance to low-income families with dependent children. To qualify, families must have very few assets and little or no income; 30,000 Oregon families (affecting 54,000 children) are currently receiving TANF benefits.
Oregon’s Governor Performs Triage Exercise on Ailing Budget
Monday April 11, 2011
Alison Vekshin, Bloomberg News
Kitzhaber’s plan would limit payments to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to 18 months of the two- year budget cycle.
Kristina Jeska, a 33-year-old mother who was imprisoned for two years on drug charges, said she needs the $432 she gets each month from the program to pay for rent, diapers and transportation to school.
Jeska, who has a 9-month-old daughter, is a full-time student at Portland Community College and plans to focus her studies on drug and alcohol counseling.
“I’m just trying to get my life back on track and raise my daughter and do things right,” she said in a March 25 telephone interview. Without the money, “I don’t know what I would do.”
Harming poor kids: a look at Gov. Kitzhaber’s proposed “reform” of TANF
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Jo Ann Bowman & Dave Mazza, KBOO Community Radio
This week, Jo Ann and Dave spoke with Janet Bauer of Oregon Center for Public Policy about the governor’s reforms and how it is being received in the legislature. Bauer is one of the authors of a new report by OCPP, Oregon Can Do Better Than Harm Poor Kids, that examines the impacts of the proposed changes to TANF.
Oregon politics roundup: Governor pushes wholesale education reform, big crowd asks lawmakers to spare assistance programs, Congress wrestles with timber payments
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Michelle Cole, The Oregonian
Meanwhile, a crowd that spilled over into two additional hearing rooms came to the Capitol Tuesday evening to plead with lawmakers not to cut programs benefiting needy families. When legislators say they have “hard choices” ahead. This is what they’re talking about. Statesman Journal reporter Peter Wong covered the hearing during which many asked lawmakers to spare the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
Legislative hearing brings a plea to save family assistance
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Saerom Yoo and Peter Wong, Statesman Journal
Now Ohling is in college, a few classes short of her associate’s degree in child and family studies. She wants to be an advocate for special-needs children in public schools.
“But if I hadn’t had TANF, I don’t know what I would have done for myself or my son,” said Ohling, one of those who came to the state Capitol on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to reject some of the cuts to human services included in Gov. John Kitzhaber’s budget. “My parents are gone, and my family lives far away, so we probably would have been on the streets.”
Oregon Can Do Better Than Harm Poor Kids
Monday, April 4, 2011
Oregon Center for Public Policy
The most devastating of all changes proposed by the Governor would impose an 18-month lifetime limit on the time that families can receive assistance, down from the current 60-month lifetime limit. Coming at a time when unemployment is expected to stay at elevated levels for years, making jobs for TANF parents hard to find, the 18-month lifetime limit promises to set thousands of families in poverty adrift and make life even harder for their children.
Proposal would a make bad situation worse
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Juan Carlos Ordóñez, The Statesman Journal
The governor’s proposals for TANF could not come at a worse time for Oregon’s poorest kids. The deep recession and anemic recovery make it. . .
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