Alexis Perlmutter followed Supporting Families with the Greatest Needs by Removing Barriers to TANF 2014-01-29 15:12:28 -0500
Many families in need with children do not receive any cash assistance, even though they do not have adequate income from work or other sources to pay for housing and other basic living expenses. Since welfare reform, the ratio of the number of families on TANF to the number of families with children in poverty (also known as the TANF-to-poverty ratio) has declined greatly.
How do TANF-to-poverty ratios differ by state?
Our research found a wide range of TANF-to-poverty ratios throughout the United States. For example, in 2011-2012:
California provided TANF cash assistance to roughly 60 of out every 100 families living in poverty while Wyoming provided cash assistance to only about 4 of out every 100 families living in poverty
TANF participation is down. Why?
TANF participation rates among eligible families have also been far lower than that of previous 20 years. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 32 percent of families who were eligible for TANF assistance actually received benefits in an average month in 2009. This is substantially less than the 82% participation rate of eligible families in 2003.
Eligible families can be denied benefits because of time limits or sanctions, or they may be discouraged from applying because of policies or practices implemented by states and local government agencies. For example, in some states, vulnerable families face significant barriers to employment and so may not meet the requirements of welfare-to-work programs.
What can we do?
States have a lot of flexibility in the design and implementation of their TANF programs. To assist the most vulnerable families, we must make changes at the state level to address and remove these barriers to cash assistance.
For more information about TANF’s declining role for families in need, visit: TANF Weakening as a Safety Net for Poor Families
For more information about the needs of families that are disconnected from both work and TANF assistance, and potential policy solutions, visit: Disconnected Families and TANF
Tips for Funders: Understanding the Connections Between Family Homelessness and TANF Policies
The Funders Together to End Homelessness – Los Angeles chapter is a community in which more than thirty funder members meet quarterly to learn about and discuss new solutions to homelessness in LA County. The goal of the chapter is to build a regional network of private and philanthropic funders working to prevent and end homelessness who:
- Invest in effective, strategic, and innovative grantmaking
- Mobilize leadership, ideas, and partnerships to communicate what works and why
- Promote more efficient use of local, state, and national resources
While the 2017 Point-in-Time Count revealed that Los Angeles County has one of the largest homeless populations in the country, there is an enormous amount of collaboration, innovation, and opportunity to end homelessness as evident in some of the developments noted below:
Funders Collaborative: Through the Home For Good Funders Collaborative, action-oriented and community-focused corporations, foundations and public agencies collaborate in shaping the strategic vision of L.A.’s work to end homelessness and increasing impact by leveraging their grantmaking. It has effectively supported services and solutions needed to reduce and end homelessness by:
- Building the unprecedented level of public and political will in Los Angeles to address homelessness
- Serving as a catalyst toward the planning and adoption of coordinated, comprehensive County and City plans to combat homelessness
- Seeding systems change, including the Coordinated Entry System (CES), which streamlines housing placements across the County
- Coordinated Entry: CES has become the “new normal” and the former maze-like housing process is being streamlined through collaborative systems change. CES now operates on-the-ground in all areas of LA County through the support and coordination of over 100 local service providers. A team in each region now meets regularly, working together to ensure full geographic coverage by coordinating and expanding outreach, effective assistance to help clients navigate the housing system, and efficient and accurate matches to housing and non-housing resources (such as medical supports) based on the individual needs and acuity level.
Allocation of Healthcare Funding for Housing Subsidies: The L.A. County Department of Health Services established a Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool to streamline and scale up the housing process for homeless individuals who are struggling with complex medical and behavioral health conditions. Through non-profit owned supportive housing, affordable housing, master lease buildings, scattered site housing, and private market housing, rental subsidies are provided to the highest utilizers of DHS services who are not able to access existing subsidies. In December of 2017, the RAND Corporation released . RAND’s key findings indicated:
- Medical and mental health service use fell sharply, particularly a 68 percent reduction in emergency room visits and 77 percent reduction in inpatient stays.
- Across all the public services examined, the cost of services for participants declined by nearly 60 percent during their first year in the program, falling from an average of $38,146 per person to $15,358 after one year of housing
Including the costs of PSH, the program produced a net savings of about 20 percent – for every $1 invested in the program, Los Angeles County saved $1.20 by reducing health care and other social service costs.
Accelerating the Production of Supportive Housing: Foundations are supporting nonprofit developers to increase their pipelines, investing loan funds for acquisition and predevelopment financing, and working with local government to reduce the time it takes for permitting construction of supportive housing.
In 2017, the FTEH-LA Network hosted several learning sessions including:
- What’s Next for LA City & County Strategies to End Homelessness?
- Equity and Homelessness
- Pay for Success and Impact Investing Workshop
Steering Committee Members - 2018-2019
- Andrea Iloulian, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
- Chris Hubbard, California Community Foundation
- David Howden, CSH
- Emily Bradley, United Way of Greater Los Angeles
- Rosa Benitez, Weingart Foundation
The Ahmanson Foundation
Aileen Getty Foundation
Bank of America
California Community Foundation
The California Endowment
The California Wellness Foundation
Carl and Roberta Deutsch Foundation
Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Dignity Health (formerly known as Catholic Healthcare West)
Dwight Stuart Youth Foundation
First 5 LA
George Hoag Family Foundation
Jewish Community Foundation
John Gogian Family Foundation
JP Morgan Chase & Co.
L.A. Care Health Plan
La Jolla Coin
Liberty Hill Foundation
The Ralph M. Parson Foundation
Rose Hills Foundation
Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation
Southern California Grantmakers
Specialty Family Foundation
Mark Taper Foundation
Union Bank of California Foundation
United Way of Greater Los Angeles
Vladimir and Araxia Buckhantz Foundation
Well Being Trust
W.M. Keck Foundation
At Funders Together, we believe that we can end homelessness in the United States and philanthropy will play a critical role in this effort. But first, we must come together to share what works, learn from each other, and challenge each other to develop innovative, long-lasting solutions.
It's time for philanthropy to engage and address the racial inequity in homelessness, recognizing that unequal access to housing is the biggest inequity issue.
Most Popular Resource:
Homelessness is a complex issue, but it is not an unsolvable problem. It can be ended and philanthropy has a vital role to play.
Resources by SubjectSystems ChangeFunders are setting aside short-term successes to prioritize sustainable results. How can a systems approach accelerate change in your community? Effective Grantmaking to End HomelessnessMany resources offer guidance on the effectiveness of your grantmaking, but few provide specific advice about grantmaking to end homelessness. These resources do just that. Advocacy for FundersWhat does funding advocacy look like? How do you measure success in your advocacy grants? What can you do to advocate as a philanthropic leader? Funders NetworksCollaboration and partnership are at the heart of our national approach to ending homelessness. Learn how our funders networks are making progress in their communities.
Resources by PopulationFamily HomelessnessUntil recently, family homelessness has been addressed with temporary shelter or transitional housing and services. We now understand that a systems approach is necessary. Youth HomelessnessYoung people interact with our systems in very different ways than adults. Our approach to funding and services must address their unique needs. Chronic HomelessnessChronically homeless individuals are some of the most vulnerable in our communities. Stable housing – coupled with appropriate supportive services – is crucial to ending homelessness for this population. Veteran HomelessnessVeterans returning home often face Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injuries, conditions that are correlated with homelessness. And for the first time, we are seeing more women veterans experiencing homelessness.
Not sure what you're looking for? Click here to view all of Funders Together's resources.