PEC's food relief program increased services tenfold over the past two years to meet the need in the community.
Urge State Legislators to Raise TANF Cash Benefits
Journey (name changed to protect privacy) is a domestic violence survivor. She was terminated from her job due to absences caused by the impact of the violence of the relationship. Soon, she and her child lost their health insurance, faced eviction, and did not have enough food. With the help of a legal aid agency, Journey applied for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), food stamps, and Medicaid. The assistance is not enough to pay her rent and bills. Journey believes that an increase in TANF would help her maintain her housing and utilities until she gains employment to support her family.
TANF is a federally funded block grant that provides short-term cash assistance to Pennsylvania families with extremely low incomes or who have no earned income. Pennsylvania has not increased TANF cash benefits since 1990. Currently, an eligible family of three receives just $403 in total monthly TANF benefits. TANF benefits have lost more than 50% of their buying power since 1990 due to inflation.
Participation in TANF by Pennsylvania households has decreased by 84%. This is not because fewer children are living in poverty. There has been no substantial decrease in child poverty levels. Instead, the minimal value of benefits and the burdensome requirements for parents have shut out families in need. Currently, fewer than 80,000 adults and children receive TANF benefits in Pennsylvania.
PEC has joined the Meet the Need Campaign with Community Legal Services, Drexel’s Hunger-Free Communities, Black Women’s Policy Center, PA Health Access Network, Just Harvest, the Lutheran Advocacy Network of PA, and the Coalition for Low Income Pennsylvanians to advocate for change. We are in support of House Bill 2015 (Authored by Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta), and Senate Bill 1014 (Authored by Sen. Katie Muth), to increase the TANF grant to 50% of poverty. We met with legislators on May 23 and found out many legislators already support the bills. But many do not.
ACTION ALERT: Contact your state legislator and ask them to support HB 2015 and SB 1014. Find your legislators here: PA General Assembly (state.pa.us)
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