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30th September
written by Catherine An

So, here’s the update.

Today, the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF) expires.

You’re read all about it on our blog. You know what the program does. You know that it’s an effective, affordable initiative that not only gets results but helps thousands of vulnerable Americans by providing financial assistance and creating jobs (and if you don’t, check out this post).

So it’s a low down dirty shame that the U.S. Senate has decided to let this program fold. Worse still that as a result of the expiration, 240,000 people could lose their jobs tomorrow, even today. Articles in both Mother Jones and Campus Progress explain the consequences of the end of this program, including the effect it’ll have on people in poverty, vulnerable families, and 99ers.

It’s worth noting here that there are some senators who stepped up to the plate. Senator John Kerry (D- MA) tried to circulate a sign-on letter urging his colleagues to support an extension of the program. Senator Dick Durbin (D – IL) also noted that the program had been critical in his state of Illinois.

And we can’t underestimate the gratitude that we owe you – for calling on your senators to ask them to support this important program.

But you win some, you lose some. And at the end of the day, this social safety net program will expire leaving thousands of Americans with even fewer resources in this time of economic turmoil. We can and must do better. As need will inevitably continue to rise, we can make sure that we take an even more active, engaged approach to helping the most vulnerable of our neighbors.

We may have lost the round, but there are plenty more legislative battles ahead. Stay tuned to the blog for more opportunities to get involved. And in the meantime, take a moment of silence to mark the passing of TANF ECF.


  1. 01/10/2010

    This makes me so frustrated! Program-based services are simply unethical in that they can be terminated on a whim, or face instances such as this of non-renewal. Instead of program funding (which you have to admit, we all scramble for as it is often all we can get), governments need to be responsible and offer core funding. We had the same thing happen in London, Ontario where our provincial hostels2homes program was cancelled in spite of reams of positive data in our municipality, because as a whole across the province the data wasn’t great.

  2. [...] but since the expiration of TANF ECF, I’ve had my reservations about their judgment (remember TANF ECF? That great program?). You don’t have to be a federal lawmaker to know that people in this [...]