WRC flier for House and Senate week of April 8

WRC members will be outside the House and Senate sessions this week, passing out fliers urging the DFL to raise the grants (for the first time in 27 years)! If you can, please join us! Here is the session schedule. The House and Senate chambers are on the 2nd floor of the capitol – just walk the perimeter and you will find us!

Monday, April 8, 11:00 a.m. – Senate session – be there by 10:45
Monday, April 8, 3:00 p.m. – House session – be there by 2:45
Thursday, April 11, 11:00 a.m. – Senate session – be there by 10:45
Thursday, April 11, 3:00 p.m. – House session – be there by 2:45

Click here a .pdf of the sessions flier.

Read below for the text.

Minnesota DEMOCRATS:
STOP Making Minnesota Children Homeless! PASS HF433 and SF165.
70,000 Minnesota Children Live in Extreme Poverty.

We call on MN politicians to END extreme poverty for 70,000 Minnesota’s children this year. IT CAN BE DONE. HF433 and SF165 will change this overnight. This is the year to increase the MFIP grants for poor families.

Why are DEMOCRATS stopping this bill?

The money is there: Give back the TANF money!

We call for the entire federal TANF block grant to be used for cash grants for MN families who qualify for MFIP. MFIP (welfare) is the cash assistance program for poor families who don’t qualify for Unemployment Insurance. Using the TANF money as intended would nearly double the grants – bringing them almost to a level that matches the cost of living. The governor and legislators talked about paying back the school funding shift, but it is also time to talk about paying back the TANF funding shift.

In 2012, only 27% of the yearly Federal Block TANF funds went to cash grants for MN families in poverty. 73% was raided for General Fund items. TANF is the yearly block grant that MN gets from the federal government to fund its welfare program. Over the past 15 years, hundreds of millions from Minnesota’s TANF block grant have been taken to supplant general fund spending. Meanwhile MN welfare families have been living in desperate conditions, becoming homeless, living doubled and tripled up with others, and being forced to make terrible choices.

The cash grants for MFIP children and their caregivers have not been increased since 1986 – 27 years ago. Currently, families on MFIP (Minnesota’s welfare program for families with children) live at 70% below the federal poverty level. Even doubling the grants would still keep MN families over 30% below the poverty level.

Meanwhile the cost of living has more than DOUBLED since 1986. In 1986, a family of two (a parent and a child) received $437 per month in cash to live on. In 2013 that family still only gets $437. It is impossible to find housing for $437 a month. A 2 or 3% increase is not enough – by rights the cash grants should be doubled. In addition to NO increase, MN cash grants have been cut year after year. Over the past years, these extreme poverty cash grants have been further reduced with sanctions, penalties for living in subsidized housing, a family cap and a five year lifetime limit.

— The amount of state dollars that go to cash assistance for poor children & families is less than 1/4 of 1%. Out of the whole state budget, it’s 1/10 of 1%.

— Especially in these tough economic times, welfare is a working person’s issue. When Unemployment Insurance runs out, parents are shocked to find out that they don’t qualify for welfare; because they are “not poor enough.” In most cases, welfare is the unemployment insurance for those of us who are stuck with work seasonal and temporary jobs.

Raising the cash assistance grants is the right thing to do and it makes sense.
-MN children’s health and well being, education and potential will dramatically improve overnight.
-It is good for Minnesota’s economy-families will buy needed items, putting money back into the local economy
-Homelessness, hunger, health crises, domestic violence and poverty cost much more.
-It will help families get off welfare and into work much faster- being trapped in extreme poverty puts families in a deep hole that is nearly impossible to get out of. It is nearly impossible to look for work and apply for jobs (if there are jobs) when we can’t keep our phones on, when we are moving from one place to another and have no consistent address, when we don’t have money for transportation, or when we are living in a shelter.

27 YEARS is too long!
MN DEMOCRATS: RAISE the WELFARE GRANTS NOW!

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