a. Issue: Should the homeless assistance program in Sacramento be reformed to give more money to the homeless while allowing them to apply to the program more than once? b. Facts: Currently in Sacramento, the homeless can apply for homeless assistance only once in their lifetime except for certain extenuating situations. The current program is a success. The amount of people in the program living below the poverty line has fallen 21% in the last seven years. Since 2000, the amount of families applying for the program has dropped 69%.
Experts claim the fall in numbers comes from the fact that people can’t apply more than once. In 1996, the homeless were allowed to apply for assistance more than once in their lifetime, but this was changed as the experts thought there were too many abuses. Now the only time one can get assistance more than once is if the family finds itself homeless again because of domestic violence, the sudden inhabitability of their home, or certain physical or mental illnesses. While these exceptions are good and cover a good deal, they don’t get most of the homeless. The program also comes with certain snags. One of these is that the rent of the housing the assistance goes to must be less than 80% of the maximum amount CalWORKS gives for a family of the same size.
The amount of money families have to pay after the assistance to keep the housing usually comes out to about 2/3 of the salary. With the rising housing prices, analysts predict that it is going to be increasingly harder for the homeless to get housing, first time or not. c. Arguments: This issue pretty much breaks down into two sides. Those who wish to change the system (the homeless and their advocates) versus those who defend the status quo (the government).
The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program was a direct response to overhaul the image of welfare programs. In 1996, it replaced such programs as Aid to Families with dependent Children (AFDC), the Job Opportunity and Basic Skills training program (JOBS) and the Emergency Assistance Program (EA). The objective of TANF was to implement useful policies from the previous three programs ...
The government’s side is simple.
This program is a success right now and many people are getting out of poverty. The state also recognizes that California is in a massive debt. Funding for the program, while possible, is not fiscally responsible. As for not allowing the homeless to apply for assistance multiple times, the government holds that there were too many abuses. I could not find any numbers as to how many abuses there have been. Apparently the number was rather high.
In the government’s eyes, this program is a success and doesn’t need to be tampered with. The government’s evaluation has been much focused on the big picture rather than investigating the minutiae. Those who wish for change are taking a more focused view of the program. They don’t just look at the successes of the program and accept the status quo as a good thing. They look at numbers such as the rising price of housing in Sacramento and want more money given for assistance.
They look at how many of the people in the program are on welfare and paying the difference on their rent sucks up a lot of their monthly paycheck. The number of people applying for the program is down and January, the latest data, shows applicant number at an all time low. There hasn’t been a huge decrease in the number of homeless people in Sacramento. This means that the reason for the decrease must be the fact that the people can’t apply twice for assistance. This side is worried for the homeless who can’t get help from a program that works just because the government is worried about some abuses.
d. Conclusion: What would the church have to say about this issue? I think that the bishops would feel that if the government fails to act, that is an example of the person existing for the economy rather than the other way around. They also would remind us that this is a moral issue and that all people deserve shelter as a right not a privilege. As such I think the issue must be looked at morally before examining what that implicates in the real world. Morally, I don’t think it is right to refuse a service to a large amount of people because some chose to take advantage of the program. I think the government is obligated to do something to combat the problem of homelessness.
... assistance. If we spend a lot of money for the homeless peoples’ illness or diseases, they say it will rob money from other government programs ... ). This is too large a number to be sleeping on thestreet. People should not just give the homeless the cold shoulder and keep ...
What better way to do that then allow the homeless to apply for a successful program more than once. With the success the program has had, it doesn’t appear as if there would be much need for cheating. I agree that it may not be fiscally responsible to fund the program better to remove the cap, but it is not morally responsible to ignore the problem. If the state / city was completely cash strapped then perhaps this would be an ok program to neglect giving additional spending to, but absent that I think there should be additional funding. In the end I think that Homeless assistance should be reformed to allow for multiple applications and more assistance for all people who require it. Works Cited 1) “Homeless Information Page.” US Dept.
of Housing and Development. 1 Apr. 2005. 14 May 2005.
This newspaper online article was the one that originally educated me about the problem facing those who need homeless assistance. This is where most of the research came from. 2) Reese, Philip. “Few second chances.” Sacramento Bee Online.
20 Apr. 2005. Sacramento Bee. 11 May 2005. This website gave more information on the rules that govern the homeless assistance such as caps on how much money is given and how eligibility is determined..