As part of the California Interfaith Coalition, California Church IMPACT is supporting Senator Holly Mitchell's pathbreaking bill, SP 982.
This would insist that when people receive Temporary Aid to Needy Families (CalWORKs here), their cash grant, whatever the source, would have to provide enough money itself to lift them to at least 50% of the federal poverty level (FPL). Cash grants go for rent, utilities, non-food necessities such as soap, toilet paper, and school clothes for kids. It has become the budget target over past years to help balance the budget by cutting that resource leaving current average grants at a scant 44% FPL. With the cost of living, especially rents, skyrocketing, people are being forced into substandard accommodations or into the streets unable to keep up with costs..
Since CalWORKs families also get Medi-Cal and nutrition help (used to be food stamps), raising the cash grant gives them a fighting chance of finally renting an apartment vs. being homeless and of bringing in enough resources to BE statistically even with the federal poverty designation. Now they don't even have that much overall income. That is something we have not faced squarely over the past years - how can one of the richest states in the union allow so many people to live in dire poverty?
By linking the cash grant to the FPL, it will not have to be revisited yearly. This bill, SB 982, sets the policy for the future. We will have to fight this out with the annual budget, but the directive is quite clear.
From tomorrow through Friday, please call your state Senators urging support for SB 982. We cannot leave families without adequate resources while their expenses rise and the overall cost of living soars. This is a small but essential step, one that will not harm the budget that is, at minimum, our declaration of how we treat our most imperiled citizens. We need to make them whole. They cannot get out of poverty if they're mired in it even further by bad policy values.
To be taken to your Senator's web page, please go here: http://www.churchimpact.org/take-action.html You may FAX, call, email - but please take action this week.
Remember "Faithful Fridays" as a way of contacting your Senator when he or she is back in the district. Calls, visits, email are very effective when they are from you or a group who are all constituents!