WRC testimony on Senate budget

Welfare Rights Committee testimony on SFxxx for the Health and Human Services Budget Division – April 18, 2016.

Poor people’s lives matter. We need cash now.
The Senate’s overall budget targets give nothing to the poor statewide. The new Senate sub-committee on ‘equity’ which has a target double this entire HHS budget, does not give low-income people what is needed – actual cash needed to survive on. [Extra note from WRC meeting 4-23-2016: This 2016 legislature has done nothing to solve the problem of the cops killing Black and brown people in Minnesota.]

In the metro area and across the state, whether we are Black, brown or white, low and no-income people are far from needing a ‘small business loan.’ We don’t run the non-profits that make their money by ‘non-profiting’ off the misery of poor people statewide. We don’t need yet another list of programs that make politicians feel good about themselves. These programs (while they might help a few) would mostly help well-off professionals. Low-income people need actual cash help now.

Grant increase
This proposal does not increase the welfare grants. Not MFIP, not General Assistance. The governor’s idea – which is rejected by the Senate in this proposal – increases the MFIP grants by $100 per month. The governor’s proposal was already pathetic, because it simply repaid the TANF money that now goes the Working Family Credit. The Working Family Credit should have been General Fund money in the first place. For the past few years, we have pointed out that TANF money has been siphoned away for other programs. We would have at least expected that this one blatant theft of TANF money – TANF money for the Working Family Credit – would have been fixed.

The cost of living has more than doubled since 1986 – the year the grants were last increased. For years now, the Welfare Rights Committee has had bills calling for the grants to be more than doubled, using General Fund money, if necessary.

Give Aid to All in Need.
The GAAIN (Give Aid to All In Need) bill, SF1426, should have been in the mix this year. GAAIN would expand state-funded General Assistance to cover both adults with no income who are looking for work and families who have hit the five-year limit on welfare.

There are thousands of people in desperate need who, under this state’s laws, don’t qualify for any cash assistance at all. People are homeless, cashless and have to scrounge for handouts. This is a burden on low and middle-income communities, statewide.

Don’t be a hostage
There is a barrage of entities – county, city and non-profit – that are lining up for state dollars to ‘fix’ people in poverty. Poor people need money. Their own money. To survive on. If you have to make a choice – in this division, or on the senate floor – let the state of Minnesota know that you choose the many – the actual people in need – over profits for a few.

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What about the poor? Hear the GAAIN bill.

Join WRC members on Monday, April 11, 11:45 a.m., outside the hearing room at 1200 MSB. Call or text 612-822-8020 to check if the Senators have changed the room or the time.

Since the session began, legislators have been hearing many bills that will help certain sectors of professionals who are trying to “fix us”. For example, on April 11, the Senate Finance Sub-committee on Equity will be hearing a slew of bills that will benefit the non-profit industry. But none of those bills give poor people what we need now: Cash to survive on. The GAAIN (Give Aid to All in Need) bill – Senate File 1426/House File 1533 – addresses extreme poverty statewide (urban and rural). When you have nothing, you are shut out of almost everything. The especially affects communities of color – because of historic economic disparities, our families, neighbors and friends don’t have the wealth to sustain the very poor without endangering themselves.

Low-income people need actual cash help now. We don’t need yet another list of programs that make liberals feel good about themselves. The proposed programs (while they might help a few of us) would mostly help well-off professionals. We say, Pass the GAAIN bill. Double the MFIP & GA grants. The GAAIN bill will give the most unfortunate some “breathing space” so people can start a meaningful hunt for housing and jobs…and to begin to have a hope to access the programs proposed on the list of bills being heard at the capitol.

Double the grants! MFIP and GA grants haven’t had true cost-of-living increase in 30 years. Support the bill to Double the Grants: SF432/HF58.  After WRC proposed doubling the grants 3 years ago, the governor and some legislators are finally taking baby steps towardds this. But both the GA and MFIP grants should be doubled, this year, with cost of living increases built into the future.

Give Aid to All in Need. Double the Grants!

Call-in week to ‘Give Aid to All in Need.’ The GAAIN bill deserves to be heard!

Please call Senator Kathy Sheran at 651-296-6153.
You could say, “Please schedule a hearing for Senator Chris Eaton’s GAAIN bill, Senate File 1426, before the policy committee deadline. There are too many people in this state suffering with nothing, and the bill deserves a hearing.”

The GAAIN bill would make it so that people have no income and who are looking for work can get General Assistance. This would include families who have hit the 5-year limit on welfare and also people whose unemployment insurance has timed out.

April 1 is the deadline for our GAAIN bill to be heard in the Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Housing. The GAAIN bill deserves the respect to be granted a hearing in policy committee this year. Scaredy-cat politicians whine about how this is a “short session,” or that are “zero targets”

, but we shouldn’t cave to their attempts to manipulate us into giving up.

People’s basic survival should not be held hostage to politicians who don’t have the courage to use the $900+ million surplus to get us, our family members, friends and our community members out of desperate poverty. They are hearing plenty of bills to give big bucks to agencies that will maybe ‘help’ us, and to other things that actually harm our communities (like more prisons). But what people who have no cash ‘really need’ is money in our pockets, now!

Please call Senator Sheran at 651-296-6153 and ask her to hear the GAAIN bill.

“Short session” – means the legislative session started late. They also say it is “not a budget year,” but yet they are talking about giving tax breaks to the rich and spending more money on prisons.

“Zero targets” – means that the ‘leaders’ of the House and Senate will be saying that the state
money allowed for Health and Human services will not go up this year. But for years, they have been robbing the poor. We need the hearing in Senator Sheran’s policy committee to show them what the dire need is.

Town Hall Meeting March 30, Rondo Library, 6:00

You are invited to Welfare Rights Committee’s Town Hall Meeting!
Town Hall Meeting
Rondo Library
461 N Dale St – Saint Paul 55103
Wednesday, March 30
6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Dinner in the neighborhood after the meeting

Has your family hit the welfare time limit? – Has your unemployment run out? No extension? – Can’t find any work? – Too many hurdles to overcome to get even started? – We are sick of our people homeless and suffering with nothing! – YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Are YOU ready for GAAIN?

Hear about the Welfare Rights Committee’s work! – We will have real talk with real solutions! – You can express your concerns! – We want you to join the Fight!

The Welfare Rights Committee is a volunteer organization made up of and led by low-income women. Since 1992, we have been fighting back against all attacks on our social safety net. We fight for increasing aid for our families and children and all who are in need in Minnesota. We’re Fighting for our GAAIN bill at the Capitol. It’s time to Give Aid to All in Need!

Gov.’s budget proposal has $100 MFIP grant increase

It’s a start.
Today, Governor Dayton included a $100 per month increase the MFIP grants in his budget proposal. But it is not enough.

The cost of living has more than doubled since 1986 – the year the grants were last increased. The governor’s proposal would increase the grant for a family of 3 from $532 to $632 per month. But, to keep up with inflation, the grant should increase to $1,150.

This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI Inflation Calculator.

For years now, the Welfare Rights Committee has had bills calling for the grants to be doubled. We are not against the “baby steps” being proposed by the governor and by other legislators, but our families demand more.

Opening Day Action March 8

Opening Day, March 8  -12:00 noon
Give Aid to All in Need
Gather at University and Rice Street – Green Line station
Followed by an indoor march through the capitol buildings.

March 8 is the opening day of the 2016 legislative session. It is also Intentional Women’s Day – celebrate the day by standing for justice for women and families.

We are sick of our people homeless and suffering with nothing. Lots of us in need can’t get any help at all.

The Welfare Rights Committee’s bill to Give Aid to All in Need (the GAAIN bill, SF1426 & HF1533, sponsored by Senator Chris Eaton and Representative Susan Allen) tells the state to give cash grants to people who have no income and are looking for work. This is much needed for families who have hit the 5-year limit and people whose unemployment has run out. The state is sitting on a $900-plus MILLION dollar surplus. That surplus was built on the backs of poor and working people. Give it back!
On Tuesday, March 8, we will gather at the Green Line station and then go deliver creative messages to the offices of all the legislators in the State Office Building and the new Minnesota Senate Building.

If you arrive after noon, text 612-822-8020 to find out where we are!

FFI: Welfare Rights Committee, 612-822-8020. Facebook Welfare Rights Committee. http://www.welfarerightsmn.com

File: Full-page flier
File: quarter-page fliers

Sign on to the GAAIN campaign!

To the Working Group on Economic Disparities: Include the GAAIN bill

This is the statement delivered by the Welfare Rights Committee at the January 15 hearing of the legislative Working Group on Economic Disparities in Minnesota.

To the Working Group on Economic Disparities in Minnesota:
Please include the GAAIN bill in your final recommendations.

The GAAIN (Give Aid to All in Need) bill – Senate File 1426/House File 1533 – is essential to addressing extreme poverty in our communities. There is no question that poverty rates are highest in communities of color across the state of Minnesota, therefore there is a larger section of our people who have nothing. When you have nothing, you are shut out of almost everything. Because of historic economic disparities, our families, neighbors and friends don’t have the wealth to sustain the very poor without endangering themselves. The GAAIN bill will give the most unfortunate some “breathing space” so people can get housing and jobs.

Information about Give Aid to All in Need (GAAIN)
The GAIN bill (Senate File 1426/House File 1533) expands state-funded General Assistance to cover
— families who have hit the 5-year limit on welfare and also,
— adults with no income who are looking for work.

Background: There are thousands of people in desperate need who, under this state’s laws, don’t qualify for any cash assistance at all.
People are homeless, cashless and have to scrounge for handouts. This is a burden on the entire low-income community, and, in the state on Minnesota, is especially a burden on Black and brown communities.

Here are just a few of the situations we are dealing with.
• The 5-year limit on MFIP has hit countless families with children.
• Minnesotans can only get General Assistance ($203 per month*) if they have no kids and can prove a disability – the rest of needy singles, and families who have the 5-year limit, get zilch for cash assistance.
• People’s unemployment has run out, or people get cut off unemployment early because they took a temp job out of a desperate need for cash, or they were working in a job that doesn’t qualify for unemployment insurance.
• Our community members with criminal records still face hurdles to jobs and housing.
• Childless adults can only get SNAP (food stamps) for 3 months in a 3 year period.
• The current situation hurts the community in many ways. For example, those of us who have apartments risk losing housing when we take in our homeless, cashless, friends and family.

* Note: MFIP and GA grants haven’t had a cost of living increase in 29 years. The Welfare Rights Committee will also be pushing for a bill to double the MFIP and GA grants.

• Please include the GAAIN bill in your final recommendations.

• Please sign on to the GAAIN bill: House File 1533 Senate File 1426

Add your name to Give Aid to All in Need – GAAIN

Add your name (or your group’s name) to…
Give Aid to All in Need!

Jump to the endorsement form.
The Welfare Rights Committee introduced a bill last year to Give Aid to All in Need – the GAAIN bill. As the 2016 legislative session draws near, we are respectfully asking your organization to support our Give Aid to All in Need bill.
Please ask your group to endorse our effort.

How to sign on to the GAAIN campaign:
Call or text 612-822-8020. Please leave your best contact info so we can follow up if needed.
Email: Let us know by email at WelfareRightsMN@yahoo.com. You can download and scan in the endorsement letter, or just send a message.
Mail: Download the endorsement letter and send to Welfare Rights Committee — 4200 Cedar Ave S #4 — Minneapolis, MN 55407

  • Please include the best way to contact your group (for Welfare Rights Committee follow-up, if needed).
    Background: Continue reading

Jan. 8 – Protest at Governor’s mansion – Give Aid to All in Need!

Give Aid to All in Need…occupy the
Governor’s Mansion
Friday, January 8, 2016
1006 Summit Ave, St. Paul, 55105

We are sick of our people homeless and suffering with nothing. Lots of us in need can’t get any help at all. Tell Governor Mark Dayton to Give Aid to All in Need.

Show up for as long as you can between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. Some of us will be there longer…
Morning action from 10 am til 11 am, for those who can only come during the day.

Hot drinks & snacks – stay a while, bring a chair and blanket, or use one of ours.

Need a RIDE? Call or text 612-822-8020

Organized by the Welfare Rights Committee
———————
Why we are protesting:

We are sick of our people homeless and suffering with nothing. Lots of us in need can’t get any help at all. Tell Governor Mark Dayton to Give Aid to All in Need. This means there should be cash help for families who have hit the 5-year limit on welfare & singles who are have no income and still can’t find work.

The Welfare Rights Committee’s bill to Give Aid to All in Need (the GAAIN bill, SF1426 & HF1533) tells the state to give cash grants to people who have no income and are looking for work. Join us Jan. 8 for our action in front of the Mansion. We aim to show the governor what MN will look like if something is not done to help people NOW.

Uncounted = We don’t count? The state does not even know how many people in need are out here. The state of MN says we are uncounted, uncountable and don’t count — because the state doesn’t care! Our job is to make them care.

On Friday, Jan. 8, join the Welfare Rights Committee outside Governor Dayton’s mansion. We will have people there on and off throughout the day and night.

We will “occupy” the ground in front of the mansion, with chairs, tables, tents and shelters. The main rally is between 4pm and 6pm, but if you can only do the morning, be there from 10 to 11 a.m.
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Sound off!

Join us Nov. 20 if you know anyone who has: Hit the time limit on MFIP…had unemployment benefits run out … had Food Stamps cut off …Just got out of prison or jail … been homeless, or taking care of homeless families…Rents too high!…Needs subsidized housing … Can only get SNAP for 3 months in a 3 year period… poverty cuz MFIP and GA grants have not gone up in 29 years… housing, but risks losing it because we take in our homeless family & friends…become sick of the economic abuse…been paying taxes for years so we could have help when we need it, but no help is there.