Cuts Continue to Impact Oregon Families

For Immediate Release
October 3, 2011

For More Information, Contact:
Janet Byrd
503.516.4698

Cuts continue to impact Oregon families

Oregon’s Department of Human Services implemented additional cuts on October 1 as a result of the budget passed by the Legislature for 2011-2013 in June. These cuts impact hundreds of Oregonians, and are on top of cuts that took effect on July 1.

The Department of Human Services made additional cuts to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program on October 1. The TANF program supports families in times of crisis by providing safety net services such as small amounts of cash assistance, help finding employment and meeting basic needs.

“The 2011 Legislative session was a disaster for low income families in Central Oregon,” said Kenny LaPoint, Housing and Resident Services Director for Housing Works in Redmond. “The continuing recession and cuts to safety net services have left too many of our neighbors at risk of homelessness. These devastating cuts to essential services and supports will hit hardest and be hardest felt by those who are already most affected by the recession. “

On October 1, there will be additional cuts implemented as a result of the 2011-2013 budget. As a result of these cuts, there will be cuts to a program that helped provide supplemental assistance for families with disabilities. On October 1, there will also be changes to the eligibility process for TANF, which may make it more difficult for families in crisis to get the help they so desperately need.

“The Legislature can make different choices. We can have a strong safety net in Oregon to protect those among us who are struggling,” said Mike Fieldman, Executive Director of United Community Action Network in Roseburg. “The TANF program provided a safety net for families who were struggling to keep a roof over their head and their children fed. We need a state that will help protect families and children and give children an opportunity to succeed in school and life.”

These cuts come a few months after a series of other devastating cuts to these critical safety net services. On July 1, there were cuts to a program which helps families get back to work, including services such as job placement and training, child care assistance and transportation assistance. These services often were the only services available in communities to help families get the skills and assistance they needed to go back to work.

“Cuts to the safety net that we provide for families in Oregon have been devastating. We all have moments of needing assistance, and too many of our families are without personal safety nets to protect them during times of recession,” said Janet Byrd, Chair of the Housing Alliance. “We need the Legislature to prioritize providing basic needs to help families most affected by the recession, including restoring any available funding to the TANF program.”

The Housing Alliance is calling on the Legislature in February to consider the impact of their 2011-2013 budget, and the consequences for our families and neighbors.