Multnomah County Commissioners set to vote to oppose TANF cuts

Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury is pushing forward a resolution to oppose the state’s proposed deep cuts to the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF program.

The Multnomah County Board of County Commissioners will vote on the resolution tomorrow, May 5.  Street Roots reported on the cuts to the family- support program in our April 15 edition.

Street Roots has also created an avenue for people to write lawmakers and the Governor to ask not to cut the program.

More from the announcement from Kafoury’s office:

The Governor and the Oregon Legislature are discussing cuts to the TANF program, which provides cash assistance and job training to extremely low income families. The proposed cuts include limiting lifetime eligibility for assistance to 18 months, making Oregon’s time limit the shortest in the nation and less than 1/3 of the federal time limit of 60 months. About 7,000 families, including 11,000 children, would lose their TANF benefits by June 2013 under this proposal. The proposed cuts also reduce cash benefits and job training programs that help parents find work and become self sufficient.

Oregon’s TANF program currently provides cash assistance to 30,108 families (54,000 children), 8,353 of whom live in Multnomah County. “I have no doubt that the county will see an increase in dependence on our safety net programs as a result of these cuts,” says County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury.

“Cutting TANF is not going to solve the budget problems in Salem,” says Kafoury. “It will have a real and harmful impact on the lives of children in our community. TANF helps parents work their way out of poverty and become self sufficient. Taking away parents’ ability to provide food or shelter for their children is not good policy and will be devastating for thousands of families.”

TANF only serves families with children with incomes less than 40 percent of the federal poverty level ($7,300 per year for a family of three). The current maximum monthly benefit for a family of three is $506.

“TANF assistance may make the difference between a family living in a home or on the street,” says Kafoury. “The Oregon Department of Human Services has predicted that these cuts could mean more children end up homeless or in our foster care system.”

“We cannot stand by and allow these cuts to happen. We urge Multnomah County residents to call or write to the governor and your state legislators. We can do better,” says Kafoury.

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