Reduce child poverty and strengthen Tennessee families!
Finally! There’s a plan to unlock $700+ million to give Tennessee families a leg-up out of poverty!
Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant funds for TN’s working families have been needlessly stockpiled for years. Our state has accumulated $700+ million that could help needy Tennessee families power through the pandemic and achieve economic self sufficiency. The great news is that Sen. Bo Watson (R – Hixson) and Rep. David Hawk (R – Greeneville) are championing legislation to ensure those funds get to where the need is, and their legislation has now been merged into legislation sponsored by Governor Bill Lee thanks to productive discussions in recent weeks. The new merged bill is HB142 / SB751. Here’s a summary of the major provisions in it:
- Obligates a rainy-day reserve capped at the previous year’s TANF block grant (roughly $191 mill).
- Requires that DHS obligate/spend 100% of annual TANF funds, and deploy funds to where the need is based on counties’ share of children in poverty.
- Deploys $182 mill from the surplus to fund the Tennessee Opportunity Pilot initiative for implementation of 7 innovative, comprehensive, “2-gen” plans that lead to TANF families becoming self-sufficient.
- Deploys $50 mill to fund Families First grants to nonprofits and other eligible entities across the state.
- Establishes a 2-year pilot program offering an alternative pathway of enhanced educational services or enhanced cash assistance for eligible individuals pursuing educational advancement.
- Establishes that cash assistance payments to eligible families be no less than 25% of the standard of need for the applicable assistance group size.
Finally, there’s a plan! Let’s get it across the finish line!
Send your legislators a message: Vote “yes” on HB142 / SB751 >>
I’m writing to urge you to support HB142/SB751 which will use untapped Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding to give working families a leg-up out of poverty. This legislation will establish a reasonable, fiscally conservative reserve, will ensure funding gets to where the need is, and will support communities to create and implement locally-driven strategic plans to reduce child poverty and promote economic self-sufficiency.
By supporting this legislation, you are supporting Tennessee’s hard working families. Please VOTE YES!
Thank you for your consideration and for your service to the state of Tennessee.