Welfare & the Safety Net

Community Service Requirement

Post submitted by AngelaVanderhoof (On April 19, 2004 at 5:31 pm):

Residents of public housing must spend 96 hours a year volunteering in their local community to keep their housing.

In Public Housing, It’s Work, Vounteer, or Leave (New York Times, 4/15/04)

Your thoughts? Outrageous? Appropriate?

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Majority of Americans Fear Personal Poverty

Post submitted by AngelaVanderhoof (On January 25, 2004 at 10:46 pm):

An annual survey commissioned by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development found that 56 percent of American adults are concerned they will be poor at some point in their life, 5 percent more than last year. The “Poverty Pulse” survey is taken annually to determine public views on poverty. The survey also found that 96 percent of Americans think that it is important to address poverty now, but respondents far underestimate the real number of people experiencing poverty in America (they said 1-2 million poor people; the actual number is 34.6 million).

Read here! (U.S. Newswire, January 12, 2004)

Note: The fear of 56 percent that they will be poor at some point is in approximate accord with reality. A study by Prof. Mark Rank of Washington University in St. Louis, which appeared in a publication of the American Sociological Association, found that 60 percent of Americans will have fallen into poverty for at least one year by the time they reach age 75, and 42 percent are in poverty for at least one year by age 60.

The study analyzes data running from 1968 to 1992. Because the poverty rates were the same during the period studied as they are now, Prof. Rank says the conclusions hold true now. A recent federal study similarly found that just between 1987 and 1996 25 percent of Americans, including 34 percent of children, had experienced poverty. Prof. Rank explains that poverty is not a perpetual state for most Americans, “[b]ut most of us will experience poverty in our lifetimes.”

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In the Halls of Congress

Post submitted by AngelaVanderhoof (On January 15, 2004 at 3:19 pm):

The Children’s Defense Fund, a prominent DC based organization that advocates for children, reacted to the 2003 Congressional session.

Read it here.

Do you agree with their review? How do YOU feel about last years session? Regarding social concerns, what should be some of the top legislative priorities in 2004?

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Interesting and Insightful articles

Post submitted by AngelaVanderhoof (On January 14, 2004 at 1:58 am):

Two interesting briefs written by the Community Service Society, a research organization in NYC, highlight some important considerations about the reality of poverty in America and the future of our safety net. They were both written a few years ago but are very relevant.

“More Work, More School,…More Poverty?” http://www.cssny.org/pubs/databrie f/databrief04_07_00.html

recognizes that there is a rising number of people with jobs and education in NYC that are living in poverty. This is an interesting demographic shift of people in poverty and highlights that the soundbite answer of jobs and education will solve poverty is not enough. Higher quality education, higher wages, and affordable childcare, housing and healthcare must also be taken into account.

“The Unfinished Business of Welfare Reform”


discusses government policies that limit benefits to those transitioning into the workforce. These supports such as childcare subsidies, food stamps, and medicaid, are important to help families rise and stay above the poverty line as they transition into the workforce. (Additionally, I’d prefer that starting wages be much higher and for businesses to share some of the responsibility for working people to have enough resources to make ends meet.) Your thoughts?

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Baseline Subsistence

Post submitted by AngelaVanderhoof (On November 17, 2003 at 10:40 pm):

A concern was brought up regarding one of the objectives in our State of Consensus. I brought it over to this thread to have some discussion about this.

“My only concern is with the phrase “ensure a baseline subsistence.” Wouldn’t this idea be in direct conflict with idea of social mobility and the Clintonesque vision of welfare as a ‘second chance, not a way of life’? I’m all for public housing, food stamps, welfare, etc, but I think that it’s dangerous to say that we’ll just take care of everybody no matter the circumstances.”


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Ques #2 Social Security

Post submitted by AngelaVanderhoof (On October 22, 2003 at 4:11 am):

Let’s hear some thoughts about social security. Try to stay focused on the objectives, we’ll get to means later.

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Welcome to the Welfare / Safety Net policy discussion!

Post submitted by AngelaVanderhoof (On September 24, 2003 at 12:37 pm):

We are striving to come to consensus on policy that will invest in the future of all Americans in need to achieve independence, dignity, and self-sufficiency. We are excited to hear numerous and diverse viewpoints. Think outside of the box! Be open- minded! Bring to light local examples of successful initiatives, programs and policies!

The first goal of this conversation is to engage in discussion on the objectives of Safety Net / Welfare policy that we would like to see in place by the year 2020. Your policy guides, Angela and Nicki, will be facilitating the discussion.

The first objective was: to facilitate and reward success. Let’s flesh this out. What do we mean by success? Are all adults working? What about education? How about other factors such as the value of a single parent spending time with their children? What about people that are mentally ill, depressed or have drug addictions? Thoughts?

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