Alliance Online News: Alliance, Partners Submit Testimony on TANF Waivers


Newsletters | March 19, 2013

March 19, 2013    
    ISSUES  |  POLICY  |  SOLUTIONS  |  NEWS & EVENTS Forward Editor: Emanuel Cavallaro    
Spotlight On...
Alliance, Partners Submit Testimony on TANF Waivers

The Alliance and its partners have submitted written testimony for a hearing on state waivers for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program. Submitted on March 14 to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources, the testimony addresses the Administration's decision, laid out in an information memorandum released by the Administration in July, to grant states, in the form of waivers, greater flexibility in determining work activity requirements for families receiving TANF assistance.

At the House hearing in February, several witnesses testified that such waivers permit state TANF agencies to provide support to families without requiring them to participate in work activities, including job search and community service. The written testimony submitted by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) TANF Task Force, of which the Alliance is a member, argues that such waivers are necessary because the current rules specifying work activities are too limited and the number of hours required are too inflexible for families who face significant barriers to employment, such as homelessness.

Last week, the House voted to prohibit the Administration from granting any waivers as outlined in the Information Memorandum. The Senate has not yet addressed the issue.

Read the testimony


Hill Update

Senate Works on FY 2013 Budget
The Senate is finalizing the fiscal year (FY) 2013 funding legislation for all federal agencies. Like the House's version, the Senate's version funds most of the federal government at FY 2012 levels; however, unlike the House's version, it does include anomalies, or spending exceptions, for certain key programs. One of the anomalies included in the Senate version is for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program, which would increase funding levels for this program to $2.033 billion. This will be reduced by 5 percent because of
sequestration, leaving $1.921 billion, a $30 million increase. This increase will be insufficient to maintain actual spending at FY 2012 levels. The Senate is expected to pass the FY 2013 funding bills this week, and the House is likely to agree to the Senate's changes. In order to avoid a government shutdown, Congress will need to agree upon finalized funding legislation before Wednesday, March 27, when the stopgap funding measure currently funding the government expires. The Alliance will publish a more detailed analysis once the bill is finalized.

Congress Continues to Work on FY 2014 Budget
Last week, the House and Senate Budget Committees each passed their FY 2014 budget resolutions - their own versions of the country's budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The House plan would essentially enhance sequestration by deepening cuts to non-security, discretionary spending (which includes HUD funding) while lessening the cuts to security discretionary spending. Alternatively, the Senate plan would include a lower level of cuts to non-security discretionary spending and involve less reduction in spending. Congress has until April 15 to pass a joint-budget resolution.

Congress to Depart for Recess
Congress is expected to pass an FY 2013 budget this week, prior to leaving for Easter and Passover recess. The House will recess this Thursday, March 21 until Tuesday, April 9; the Senate will recess this Friday, March 22 until Monday, April 8.

Upcoming Webinars
Leveraging TANF Funds and Strategic Partnerships to Improve Housing Stability and Economic Outcomes for Low-Income Families
On Wednesday, March 20, at 1 p.m. ET, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Assistance will host a webinar examining how Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds can be used to help families avoid homelessness. The webinar will feature a partnership between the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness and the Mercer County Board of Social Services, and will present an opportunity for TANF leaders and partners to learn more about how TANF resources can be used to rapidly re-house families.

Register for the webinar

Partnering with TANF Agencies to End Family Homelessness: Idaho
On Thursday, March 28, at 3 p.m. ET, the Alliance will host a webinar on the partnership between the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, which administers state TANF funding, and the Charitable Assistance To Community's Homeless, Inc. (CATCH) program, which is expanding rapid re-housing to homeless families in Idaho. The partnership was the focus of a recent promising strategy brief by the Alliance. Speakers will include Ross Mason, regional director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, and Greg Mason, executive director of CATCH.

Register for the webinar

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, non profit organization dedicated to solving the problem of homelessness and preventing its continued growth.

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