Don’t let the State of Oregon kick families to the curb!

The Governor and the State of Oregon are on the verge of making thousands of families around the state homeless.


The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, is on the verge of being turned upside down. TANF provides cash assistance to low-income families with dependent children. To qualify, families must have very few assets and little or no income. 30,000 Oregon families (effecting 54,000 children) are currently receiving TANF benefits. (Sign the letter now!)

The current maximum monthly benefit for a family of three is $506. The program requires that members of the family actively strive to be self-sufficient, whether that means they are seeking employment, obtaining job skills, in a vocational program, etc. The goal is to reduce the number of families living in poverty.

Families can receive TANF assistance for a total of 60 months (or five years). But the State of Oregon is on the verge of making the lifetime eligibility for struggling Oregon families 18-months, leaving thousands to fend for themselves. That’s simply unacceptable.

The debate concerning the state budget deficit shouldn’t be framed in dollars and cents. It should be talked about in the context of human lives.

According to Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, more than 90 percent of families who apply for TANF have zero income. That means homelessness will be Oregon’s answer for thousands of parents and children across the state. It also means that a segment of an entire generation of Oregonians could be lost to poverty.

What’s needed?

What’s needed is an investment of $20.4 million to protect against Oregon families being put out onto the streets. This would allow for families to have more time to find stability and to become self-sustaining. It would also allow for support services to support people with disabilities.

To date the following organizations are asking for the State of Oregon to invest in TANF: the Oregon Hunger Task Force, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Jewish Federation of Oregon, American Association of University Women, Service Employees International Union, 211 Info and Referral, Human Solutions, JOIN, Sisters Of The Road, The Housing Alliance and Street Roots.

To find out more, to testify and/or to join a growing coalition go to Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, and read a recent report from the Oregon Center for Public Policy.

And please take the time to sign a letter to the Governor and Oregon lawmakers today!

(Please e-mail SR at if you would like your organization added to the list on this page!)

(Photo by Ken Hawkins.)

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