Seattle, WA Concern for the Poor and Improvements to TANF

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Seattle, WA, US

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Type: Resolution

Status: Adopted on 12/3/01

Vote: Unanimous (with 1 excused)

Source File: Click here


Resolution Number: 30424
A RESOLUTION affirming The City of Seattle's concern for people who are poor, including the working poor, and its support of local, state and federal efforts to improve the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program so that it better addresses the needs of the poor.

WHEREAS, in 1996 the U.S. Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), abolishing the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program and creating the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) program; and

WHEREAS, work has become a requirement in exchange for time-limited financial assistance under TANF; and

WHEREAS, recent studies confirm that work itself does not guarantee that a family in our community or any community throughout the nation can earn an income to afford basic necessities, e.g., food, housing, healthcare and childcare, even during periods of economic prosperity;

WHEREAS, a recent report issued by the Washington State Employment Security Department indicates that the majority of former TANF recipients who left the program in 1997 still lived below the federal poverty level ($14,150 for a family of three) in 2000;

WHEREAS, the state of Washington has lowered its wage progression goal which originally was that 50 percent of parents leaving the welfare rolls would see their earnings increase by 10 percent one year later;

WHEREAS, completion of a two year training program can help poor individuals take a significant step toward self-sufficiency; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Congress is scheduled to review and re-authorize TANF during 2002;


Section 1. That the Seattle City Council hereby affirms its concern for the people who are poor in Seattle, including the working poor, and supports local, state and federal efforts to improve the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program during the re-authorization process so that the TANF program may better address their needs. Such improvements may include, but need not be limited to:

(1) maintaining the TANF block grant at the current level and including a provision to give bonuses to states that implement effective job retention and wage progression strategies;
(2) establishing a guideline that allows up to 24 months of vocational training or other post-secondary education as a work activity;
(3) making time limits more flexible in order to assure that families complying with welfare to work activities are not removed from welfare rolls prior to finding stable employment that pays them livable wages;
(4) maintaining the flexibility that exists in the current statute that allows states to use TANF funds to provide families with supports, e.g. transportation and child care assistance, which enable them to work and move toward self-sufficiency; and
(5) maintaining the flexibility that exists in the current statute that allows states to continue to support the poor who are unable to work or require additional support, e.g., parents who care for a disabled child or relative, disabled persons, and grandparents or other non-parent caretakers who are 55 years or older.
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