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NETWORK Releases Troubling Report Showing How People in Poverty Are Struggling During the Economic Recession

You can view a copy of our new report here:TANF Tested: Lives of People in Poverty.

Please contact Stephanie Niedringhaus at sniedringhaus@networklobby.org if you would like paper copies.

Since TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) was created in the 1996 welfare reform law, NETWORK has conducted periodic surveys to evaluate its effectiveness. We have interviewed thousands of families over the years and published reports based on our surveys in 1999 and 2001, during times of relative prosperity. Despite economic growth in the nation during the 1990s, we found considerable suffering and poverty. Today, during a period of great economic distress, the stories of families in poverty are more alarming than ever.

From February to March 2010, NETWORK surveyed people at 70 emergency service agencies where they sought help, including food pantries and homeless shelters. Adult members of more than 800 families that included 1300 children were personally interviewed. Our new report, entitled TANF Tested: Lives of People in Poverty during the Recession, provides information about what they told us concerning their day-to-day lives and the struggles they face.

The report describes our findings and includes recommendations about how our nation can address poverty more effectively, including investment in human needs programs, better coordination of services, appropriate help for people facing multiple barriers to employment, and more emphasis on education and job training.

Our goal is to inform Congress, policy experts and the public about how our nation can do a better job of helping people rise out of poverty, especially as Congress considers the reauthorization of TANF in the coming months.

We hope and trust that, as a result, justice-seekers throughout the country will tell our elected officials that our nation can no longer ignore the needs of millions of people who struggle in poverty every day. It is time to act!

Additional Resources

Summary of our findings (one page)

PowerPoint presentation on our findings

Reflection questions to consider when reading the report

Spiritual reflection

Glossary of Terms Related to TANF

To view our previous TANF research reports:

Our 1999 report, Poverty Amid Plenty: The Unfinished Business of Welfare Reform

Our 2001 report, Welfare Reform: How Do We Define Success?