There were two excellent articles this week about the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program (sometimes called welfare); these articles made some excellent points about this important and at-risk program.
In Greg Kaufmann’s piece for The Nation he quotes Jack Frech, director of the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services in Ohio, who talks about his clients “doubling and tripling up” in housing and “forgoing medical treatment” to meet their work requirements to receive assistance. The poignant testimony Frech offers is a vivid look at both escalating need and outdated regulations attached to federal assistance.
Nancy Folbre, economics professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, delved deeper into the reasons many families are unable to access benefits in a New York Times piece. She makes the case for subsidized jobs programs that she says both work and need to be scaled up to meet increasing need.
But the money for these programs has to come from somewhere. Representative Frank R. Wolf (R-VA) offers a bold look into some possibilities in his opinion piece in the Washington Post. Wolf argued that in terms of deficit reduction, everything must be on the table – including “sacred cows” on both the left and the right.
And as a final note, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness has completely redesigned their website. The new site offer heightened usability and a wealth of new resources. Check it out!