Welfare Reform Effects

Theodore Latham (tedrico@hotmail.com)
Sat, 04 Apr 1998 01:46:24 PST


     This is the best I can do for now:

3 sources on welfare reform Effects:


by Julie Dworkin
Policy Specialist, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

The impact of welfare cuts on homelessness has already been demonstrated 
in several states that have eliminated or reduced benefits to single 
adults. A study by the Michigan League of Human Services found that six 
months after Michigan terminated employable single adults from General 
Assistance (GA), 25 percent of former recipients had become homeless. In 
Ohio, homelessness jumped by approximately 17 percent within six months 
of reductions in GA

Families with children--with more bills and more mouths to feed--will be 
even more vulnerable to homelessness after a loss of benefits. In
addition, reductions in food stamps will force people to choose between 
buying food and paying the rent. It is estimated that children will lose 
an average of $500 in food stamps in 1998. Single adults will also be 
hard hit by food stamp cuts: they will only be eligible for three months 
of stamps over three years if they are unable to find work or work 

The new federal welfare law will also increase homelessness by cutting
off SSI benefits to more than 20,000 elderly and disabled legal
immigrants in Illinois.

Compounding the problems caused by reductions in welfare benefits are
other federal cuts and policy changes to homeless and public housing
programs. In the fiscal year 1996 (FY'96) budget, Congress reduced
funding for 10 programs that, assist the homeless, including a 23
percent cut in the emergency food and shelter program and a 27 percent
cut in homeless assistance programs. These allocations are not expected 
to increase in the FY'97 budget.

As cuts come down from the federal and state levels, city governments
will feel the strain on their budgets. The City of Philadelphia is
already feeling theimpact of the combination of federal cuts in homeless 
spending and welfare reform. According to a New York Times article 
(7/30/96), the City announced that single adults will now be turned away 
from shelters as a cost-saving measure. The City had already exceeded 
its budget for the homeless by $4 million, and the shelters were 
becoming dangerously overcrowded. The City feared that if they did not 
limit access they would be unable to provide shelter
in the winter when demand increases. The Mayor of Philadelphia predicts 
that the homeless population in Philadelphia will increase by 80,000 
single adults over the next two years due to the state cuts.

Although some commentators expect private contributions to make up for
these cuts, Chicago's corporate spending for homeless programs does not 
compare favorably with that of other large cities:

Boston: $4.1 million
Chicago: $5.5 million
Philadelphia: $17.3 million
San Francisco: $38.8 million
New York: $131.9 million

In addition to these program and budget cuts, Congress is considering
public housing reforms that would allow public housing authorities to
charge more than 30 percent of a person's income for rent and establish 
a minimum rent for all residents regardless of income. If this 
legislation passes, a public housing resident who lost their welfare 
benefits would still be required to pay $25 to $50 per month or lose 
their housing.

It remains to be seen how the states will implement the welfare reform
legislation. The trend in welfare reform in Illinois over the past
several years has been to cut people off of benefits. In 1992, Illinois 
eliminated benefits for 80,000 single adults. In 1995, Illinois passed 
legislation which set time limits for certain families and eliminated 
benefits for children born into a household already on welfare. Without 
a major effort to influence the city and state, there is no question 
that the legislation will increase poverty with no new measures to 
address the lack of jobs and affordable housing.

As New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, Chairman of the U. S. Conference of
Mayors Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness, states: "It's hard for
anybody to make the case that homelessness is not going to get worse;
you can only hope that it does not get dramatically worse."

For more information, call the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless at


President Clinton and the Republican Congress have focused on reforming 
welfare by giving states authority to pressure recipients to find work. 
But Edelman argues this misses the major target -- low
wages for working parents who can't make ends meet in struggling to
bring up children.

More than two out of every three poor children live in working families 
and are not on welfare, according to the study. According to recent 
Census figures, more than 14 million American children live in poverty. 
And poverty, according to the fund's report, poses greater health and 
mortality risks to the very young than living in a single-parent family 
or being born to an unwed mother, a high-school dropout or a mother who 
smoked during pregnancy. Besides calling for a bigger national effort to 
cut child-poverty rates, the report
recommends new initiatives on housing, health coverage, child care,
nutrition, education, violence and crime. On the plus side, it cites a
sharp rise in full immunization among 2-year-olds -- from 55 percent in 
1992 to 78 percent in 1996. In examining the adequacy of child-care
centers, it found safety problems in 40 percent of facilities. While
juvenile crime peaks between 3 and 7 p.m., it notes, nearly 5 million
children are left home alone after school.

By LEO RENNERT [Raliegh News & Observer Washington Bureau]


Go to Walden Bookstore or B. Dalton's & purchase this book:

It's Hip To Help The Homeless
by Richard G Tripp
(From the author..."How to give a hand up instead of a handout" ....sold 
in the midwest at major book stores...or can be ordered by writing T&G 
Associates, 105 North Topping, Kansas City, MO. 64123)



Tedrico Latham

Your Informative Homelessness Resource Link!

Michael Strzelecki <michael.strzelecki@ferc.fed.us> wrote:

Quick question:  Does anyone know of any studies or references
showing how welfare reform has impacted homeless populations (or
speculating on how it may effect homeless populations)?  Thanks!

Mike Strzelecki

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