Call out to save vital support for Oregon’s poorest families

More than 30,000 Oregonian families, nearly all with no income, are able to survive difficult and catastrophic economic conditions with the help of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF.

But TANF and related employment, housing and children’s programs are on the chopping block in Gov. John Kitzhaber’s  proposed budget. Kitzhaber is looking to strip $12 million to $20 million from the programs, on top of federal cuts which have already reduced the state’s TANF receipts by 16 percent. The cuts are an effort to fill the $3.5 billion shortfall in Oregon’s state budget.

Kitzhaber’s plan is to reduce the time allowed on state TANF from 60 months, or five years, to 18 months. That’s the total for life. It’s a drastic reduction that could cull between 7,000 and 8,000 low- to no-income families from basic assistance.

Tomorrow, April 5, The House Ways and Means subcommittee will hold a public hearing on the state’s budget for Children Adult & Families, which includes TANF. The hearing begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Salem Capitol: 900 Court Street. More information, including details on all of the programs at risk, is available at the Partners for a Hunger Free Portland Web site. The organization and others are leading a charge to preserve TANF funding for the thousands of families who have no other resources. If you can’t appear at the hearing in person, there is information you can send a letter through the Web site to be included in testimony.

Posted by Joanne Zuhl

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