All persons deserve the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families. And because people in poverty lack sufficient resources to provide for their families, Catholic Social Teaching says that they deserve our attention and help.
NETWORK believes that all human beings should have the right to an education, living wage, a safe and healthy environment, and all that is necessary to live a life of dignity.
The safety net, which helps people to live in dignity, is damaged and in danger of further unraveling. Unemployment remains high, and the nearly five million long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) comprise more than one-in-three of this number. Yet, there has not been additional funding to means-tested programs .
NETWORK has a long history with two programs that provide security to families through income and supports—TANF and refundable tax credits. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) , formerly welfare, provides a block grant to states to help low-income families become self-sufficient through income assistance and support services. Refundable tax credits  provide incentives for work and give extra income to those families and children with the least opportunity.
Additional mean-tested programs, on which NETWORK works, include:
vouchers have been reduced.
Home Energy Assistance Program funds have been cut, even though they were only
available to thirty percent of those eligible.
Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) daily meal allowance was raised in the
ARRA, however these funds are coming to an end – and SNAP is constantly pointed
out as a place for savings in deficit reduction.
ability to provide medical attention to the most vulnerable, including the
elderly in need of nursing care, is in jeopardy as some House members attempt
to create a spending limit each year for any eligible person.
- Social Security continues to face proposed changes which would reduce benefits, being of greatest harm to those with the greatest need.
Poverty levels continue to be shockingly high. Click here  for more information about recent trends. Yet, with so much attention focused on deficit reduction, safety-net programs are vulnerable to significant cuts.
And watch this video response by Sister Simone Campbell, NETWORK's Executive Director, to a forum entitled "Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity." We need a new way of thinking!