Archive for September 8th, 2010
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we can – and must – save the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF).
And we’re not the only ones that think so. In the last few days, you may have noticed that the innocuous welfare program has received an unusual amount of ink. Stories praising the job-creating program have run in the Chicago Tribune and Huffington Post – among countless other publications.
We hate to say we told you so but we did call it. This stimulus program is making a difference where it’s needed most: offering cash assistance to low-income families, providing housing aid, and subsidizing jobs. In fact, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that the program has created 250,000 subsidized jobs for low-income parents and youth across the country.
But the program is about to come to a grinding halt. TANF ECF will expire on September 30 if Congress doesn’t act now.
We need you to tell them how.
Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is circulating a sign-on letter for his colleagues in the Senate to join. He wants them to sign the letter to urge Senate leaders to extend the ECF right away and provide a one-year, $2.5 billion extension of ECF to allow states to access additional funds and continue subsidizing jobs for low-income families and youth.
Want to know what you can do?
- Call your senators TODAY (If you don’t know the number, you can find out by calling the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121).
- Ask to speak to the person who handles welfare issues for the senator.
- Urge the welfare staff member to get their boss to sign onto Senator Kerry’s sign-on letter.
But act now! The deadline for senators to join the sign-on letter is next Wednesday, September 15 at noon ET.
Today we would like to introduce you to John and Rose Bottensek who have committed themselves to the effort to end homelessness by donating a dollar to the Alliance for every copy of their new book that they sell. John is the author of of the new novel; Rose, his wife, is the editor. Read below to hear from the authors how this great movement has inspired them.
As the ongoing economic crisis continues to affect so many Americans, one of the most pressing issues that takes center stage in our minds is the plague of homelessness – an issue that has long been ignored by our American community. In fact, as I write this, I notice my spell check doesn’t even recognize it as a word. That alone speaks volumes as to the lack of recognition this issue receives.
The number of homeless where I live– Madison, Wisconsin – has actually decreased by forty percent in the past five years. I cannot offer an opinion as to why because, like most people, I haven’t paid much attention to the problem until recently.
That is not to say we don’t notice the lines outside the shelters in the evenings, some reaching around the block at times. We live in one of the most beautiful, most prosperous cities in the country. If the problem of homelessness is identifiable here, it is shameful to imagine what it must look like at on a national scale.
For my wife, Rose, and me, ignorance is no longer an acceptable state of mind.
We became familiar with the National Alliance to End Homelessness earlier this year, when my first book, “VonJanic – Legend of Arláge”, was about to go to press.
In spite of the fact that we had closed our business in 2008 when the financial markets froze up, we realized how fortunate we had been to have food on the table and a roof over our heads. Unlike so many, we had the means to weather the storm of economic uncertainty and came upon the realization that we had an obligation to share our success with those in need.
In researching the nearly endless possibilities of not-for-profits and charities, the Alliance quickly rose to the top of our list. To begin, Rose and I identified three areas that concerned us on either a national or global front: food, water, and shelter.
We examined independent ratings, scrutinized financial statements, looked at programs, and studied the missions of countless organizations.
One of the most influential elements which guided our final decision was simply the people we encountered.
The Alliance employs a staff of energetic, devoted, and sincere individuals. We are proud to count them all as not only partners in achieving victory over a national problem, but as friends.
The Alliance shares our personal belief that giving a man a fish provides a meal; teaching him to fish sustains him for a lifetime. Members of the Alliance know that simply throwing money at a problem doesn’t always solve the problem. They work to identify the best practices to end homelessness and work with communities to bring about measurable, permanent change.
We’re doing just a small part in combating this stain on the fabric of America. A one dollar donation per book sale may not seem like very much, but hopefully, each dollar is one step closer to keeping ‘homelessness’ out of spell check.