TANF Emergency Funds and Jobs Program – Illinois

Jobs hang in balance, By Gerry Smith, September 6, 2010, Chicago Tribune: “Moises Vasquez was laid off in March from a chicken processing plant, but he was not unemployed for long. One month later he found a job at a granite and marble recycling company in Schiller Park. But his new employer, Earth Stone Products of Illinois, does not pay his wages. Uncle Sam does. Vasquez, 27, is one of about 25,000 people employed through Put Illinois to Work, a subsidized jobs program that helps unemployed workers gain new skills with $200 million from the federal stimulus package. Since the program was announced in April, Put Illinois to Work has become the nation’s largest year-round subsidized employment program. In June, state officials stopped accepting applications because there were not enough jobs for the 60,000 people who applied. But in coming weeks, Vasquez and other workers supported by the program could be unemployed again unless Congress extends the fund that supports Put Illinois to Work. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund expires Sept. 30. An extension of the federal fund has been packaged in larger bills that passed the House twice but stalled in the Senate after Republicans and some Democrats said the legislation would increase the deficit…”

Report: Poverty Rate – Ireland

Poverty levels to increase significantly, says report, By Jamie Smyth, September 8, 2010, Irish Times: “Poverty levels will increase significantly in coming years, particularly for those vulnerable groups dependent on social welfare, a leading think tank has warned. A report by the Economic and Social Research Institute published yesterday says Ireland faces a ‘very challenging situation’ and the most vulnerable groups will face ‘a greater risk of consistent poverty and social exclusion’. It singles out the long-term unemployed, lone parents and those unable to work due to disability or illness as the groups most at risk of becoming caught in a deepening poverty trap. It says Government policy is critical to ‘poverty-proof’ the most vulnerable groups and warns benefits have already been cut due to the worsening economic climate. ‘The onset of the economic recession in the second half of 2008, contracting GDP, fiscal crisis and rising unemployment figures are likely to have serious implications for the income and living conditions of many of the population which are not picked up in the 2007 data or indeed in the 2008 figures,’ says the report. The report Monitoring Poverty Trends in Ireland 2004-2007 shows the proportion of people ‘at risk of poverty’ fell during the economic boom, from 19 per cent in 2004 to 16 per cent in 2007…”

Food Stamp Program Enrollment – Maine, New Hampshire

Food stamp recipients hit new high: 1 in 5 in Maine, 1 in 10 in New Hampshire, By Jason Claffey, September 5, 2010, Laconia Citizen: “For the first time, the number of Americans on food stamps has exceeded 40 million. The government in August reported 40.8 million people were on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the administrative name for food stamps. The figure increased nearly 20 percent from a year ago. In Maine, nearly one in five people are on food stamps. In New Hampshire, about one in 10 are. Both states experienced double-digit percentage hikes in the number of food stamp recipients in August compared to the same time last year. The record numbers show more people than ever are receiving the help they need, but on the other hand, it shows the effect of a high unemployment rate that has budged little in the wake of the recession…”

Millennium Development Goals and Child Poverty

  • Child poverty fight threatened by west’s cost cuts, says Unicef, By Larry Elliott, September 7, 2010, The Guardian: “The United Nations warned today that the patchy global struggle to lift children out of poverty was being threatened by budget cuts in the west, soaring food prices and climate change. In a report prepared for a New York summit this month to measure progress in meeting the 2015 millennium development goals, Unicef said the pressures on aid budgets would have knock-on effects in the world’s poorest countries. ‘Fiscal constraints in industrialised economies will likely have reverberations for developing nations, particularly those dependent on external assistance,’ the report noted. ‘Fiscal retrenchment may undermine social progress, particularly if the global recovery is uneven and halting.’ It added: ‘The austerity measures currently being introduced in some European Union countries call for sharp cuts in spending, and it is not fully clear how these reductions will affect child-related expenditures, either at home or abroad…”
  • UNICEF refocuses on poorest of poor children, By Anita Snow (AP), September 6, 2010, Washington Post: “The U.N. children’s agency says it has failed to reach millions of the world’s neediest boys and girls in slums and remote countryside and is shifting to a strategy of getting critical health care services to the poorest of the poor. UNICEF’s new approach would likely concentrate more on such initiatives as training rural health workers and building schools in remote areas, and less on building big modern hospitals and universities in cities, said Charlie MacCormack of the non-governmental Save the Children, which UNICEF consulted. It would cost less but also demand more planning and effort, he said…”