Action shared by Lifetime, a group committed to helping low-income families and individuals become empowered through education…
Action alert! Please Call Your Senators Today and
Ask Them to Extend the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund!
I’m writing to ask for your help in winning an extension of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund, which expires on October 1st. The TANF Emergency Contingency Fund has provided crucial federal funding to help states provide assistance to struggling families, and create jobs for 200,000 low-income parents nationwide.
When Congress passed the economic stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, it included the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund (TANF ECF), to help states fund their safety net programs and provide assistance to families who are struggling in this recession. The TANF ECF provided federal funding to help states do three important things:
(1) Meet rising welfare caseloads and maintain funding for safety net programs. Since the Great Recession officially began in September 2007, welfare rolls have been rising for the first time since Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), or welfare reform, was passed in 1996; the poverty rate has risen to its highest level in 15 years; and the unemployment rate for single mothers has more than doubled, reaching its highest level in 25 years.
(2) Create jobs for 200,000 low-income parents nationwide. This is one of the best uses of federal funding that I have seen in my lifetime: the TANF ECF has enabled states to put low-income parents to work and gain crucial work experience, and take home a paycheck, in lieu of a welfare or unemployment check; and
(3) Provide assistance with one-time, non-recurring expenses, such as emergency housing assistance e.g. providing money for move-in costs for families who have become homeless due to foreclosure or unemployment.
Since last February, the House of Representatives has passed a bill to extend the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund three times. However, each time the bill has gone to the Senate, it has fallen just a few votes short of passage. So please call your Senator today! If their office is closed, you can leave a message on their voice mail. Together we can make this happen – yes we can!
LIFETIME has a toll-free number so you can call your Senators at no cost. To speak to your representative, just call 888-245-0215 and ask for your Senator by name, and the Capitol operator will connect you to their office. Tell them that it is crucial that they support an extension of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund, so that the states can provide help to struggling families in these hard economic times. And many thanks to our friend Debbie Weinstein at the Coalition on Human Needs in Washington, D.C. for providing this toll-free number!
Here’s some sample language when you make your call:
Hello, my name is (your name!), and I’m calling to ask Senator _____________ to support the extension of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund, which expires on October 1st. The TANF Emergency Contingency Fund has enabled states to help families (like mine) who are struggling in this recession, and to create 200,000 jobs for low-income parents (like me) nationwide. Please support the extension of this important program!