Wednesday, February 17, 2016
PRESIDENT’S BUDGET FIGHTS DEEP POVERTY
The President’s budget proposal includes new initiatives to help deeply poor families improve their circumstances and prevent other families from falling into such poverty. Among other ideas, it includes:
• Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children. The budget includes $12 billion over 10 years to provide additional food benefits to low-income families with school-aged children during the summer. This would serve 1 million children in the first year and then increase gradually over 10 years when all states could participate; the number of children benefited would increase to nearly 20 million. This is roughly four times as many as would initially benefit under the Senate Agriculture Committee’s bill to provide summer EBT cards. Eligible families would initially get $45 a month per eligible child.
• Improve mobility for low-income families. Children who move to neighborhoods with less poverty have better long-term outcomes than children who stay in high-poverty neighborhoods. The budget provides $15 million over three years to implement a Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration program to determine the most cost-effective strategies to help families with housing vouchers move to and stay in better neighborhoods. It also includes an increase of about $400 million in 2017 to fully fund the cost of effectively administering the Housing Choice Voucher program.
• Emergency Aid and Service Connection Grants. Many poor families live on the brink of financial crisis—a car breakdown or stolen phone. The budget provides $2 billion over 10 years to encourage states and local communities to test innovative strategies to stave off problems that can send families on a downward spiral into job loss and homelessness, and to help families who already have experienced such crises find a way out.
Republicans are unlikely to go along with these initiatives.