Tag Archives: welfare

ACTION ALERT: Calls urgently needed to save General Assistance


The bill that would end General Assistance — HB 33 — was passed by the PA House Health Committee on Monday, March 25 and may move quickly to the House floor for a vote.

Please contact your local legislators and tell them vote no on eliminating or cutting GA.

Call and email your local PA House member, other legislators – also your local PA Senator. Call their Harrisburg and local offices.  Please see sample script, below. 

For more information, see links below:

Also, oppose Governor Wolf’s proposal to divert GA funding to affordable housingwe need both cash assistance and housing!

General Assistance Must Not Be Eliminated nor the Funds Diverted, But Increased: Testimony to the PA Poor People’s Campaign Demands Delivery rally

Testimony of Pat Albright, Every Mother is a Working Mother Network and Global Women’s Strike/Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival Demand Delivery in Harrisburg, March 19, 2019

We are here today to demand that General Assistance or GA not be cut or eliminated as proposed by Republicans, nor the funding diverted to affordable housing as proposed by Democratic Governor Wolf.  In fact, we are demanding that it be increased.  While very little, it is still a lifeline for some who are ineligible for other forms of cash assistance including through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF.  I know from personal experience, as a woman with a disability and who at the time had no children, that GA was vital to my survival after being laid off from my job in a disco light factory, until disability benefits came through.

Who would be impacted if GA were cut or the funds diverted? Some of those impacted, would include:

  • women and others leaving domestic violence situations;
  • young people trying to survive besides a life on the streets;
  • caregivers for an unrelated child;
  • people in drug or alcohol recovery programs;

And people waiting, sometimes for years, for disability benefits, including:

  • veterans;
  • people getting out of prison;
  • mothers who lost TANF when their children were put in foster care, often because of poverty;

People of color would be disproportionately impacted.

This is not the first time we have had to defend General Assistance.  In the early 1980’s I joined a takeover of the Capitol to defend General Assistance which was under attack, taking over the Rotunda for days, sleeping overnight, hanging out laundry.  It was led by Roxanne Jones (later State Senator), Louise Hanible and Nancy Carroll, among others, with the support of State Representative David P. Richardson, who fought for General Assistance, TANF and all welfare benefits as an entitlement, a right, for the work of survival and caregiving, and so that no mother or child or anyone would be poor.  We were inspired by the work of the late welfare rights leaders Beulah Sanders and Johnnie Tillmon, both of whom were in the forefront with Dr. Martin Luther King of the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968.  They along with Black Women for Wages for Housework got passage of a resolution at the first and only Congressionally mandated conference on women held in 1977 that said women receiving welfare should be “afforded the dignity of having that payment called a wage, not welfare”.  Several of those of us carrying on that legacy are involved in the Poor People’s Campaign today.

Tragically, GA was eliminated in 2012.  But ultimately these grassroots efforts inspired a legal case brought before the PA Supreme Court that succeeded in reinstating GA in 2018, only to be under threat again today.

We are here to change the narrative on General Assistance as well as TANF and other welfare benefits often treated as charities for those unable or unwilling to work – while ignoring the reality that the poorer we are the harder we are forced to work.

We demand what rightfully we should have as human beings with the right to dignity and value for our contributions to society — General Assistance as well as TANF and other welfare benefits — and an end to time limits, work requirements and other punitive measures.  We refuse to be divided into “deserving” and “undeserving” poor.  We are part of the Poor People’s Campaign because we are part of the new and unsettling force shifting the narrative away from devaluing the lives of some of us.  We are all workers who are deserving and who all make a contribution to society.

Historic welfare resolution passed at the 1977 Houston women’s conference

In 1977 in Houston, TX, thousands of women took part in the first and only National Women’s Conference mandated by Congress.  Some of us from the Wages for Housework Campaign worked with the leaders of the National Welfare Rights Organization to win a historic resolution.  It rejected workfare and called for welfare to be considered a wage, not charity.  For the past 40 years we have campaigned to get what was won at Houston implemented, and we are now coordinating the National Welfare and Caregivers Network.

We are appealing for help to get to the 40th anniversary event, National Women’s Conference: Taking 1977 into the 21st Century, in Houston Nov. 6-7.  Our delegation has been accepted to present on a panel “Women, Welfare and Poverty: Back to the Grassroots.”

Send your support here.  You can also donate and find out more on GoFundMe. Please share widely on social media!

1977 Houston resolution: Women, Welfare, and Poverty by EveryMotherNetwork on Scribd

EMERGENCY ALERT: HB 59 Passes the Pennsylvania House – URGE GOV WOLF TO VETO IT

URGENT: Please let Governor Wolf know we are counting on him to veto HB 59, a horrendous and potentially deadly bill which would impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients, cut transportation and get rid of “non-essential” life-saving benefits.  Contact Gov. Wolf’s office via 717-787-2500; fax: 717-772-8284; https://www.governor.pa.gov/contact/.

The National Welfare and Caregivers Network issued an action alert and were among the 173 organizations that signed onto a PA Health Access Network letter opposing HB 59. More details below.

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Support the RISE Act & Reintroduction of WORK Act!

End poverty of mothers & children. Recognize caregiving work.
Sign the petition to US Congress • 50+ current endorsersPlease add your organization today! Send this letter to your mailing lists and contacts.

For the first time in decades there is a piece of legislation and one we want reintroduced in the US Congress that recognize the work of mothers.

The RISE Out of Poverty Act (Gwen Moore, D-WI) would make ending child poverty the primary goal of TANF. The Women’s Option to Raise Kids (WORK) Act which needs to be reintroduced into Congress (was introduced in the last Congress by former Congressman Pete Stark, D- CA), recognized that raising children is vital work, and would give mothers the option of raising young children fulltime at home under current welfare legislation (TANF). The two bills together are a power for mothers everywhere, whether we are low income or not. They begin to finally value and provide resources for mothers and to undermine the growing poverty of women and children.

Sign the petition to US CongressCall to ActionJoin the growing list of endorsing organizationsAbout the bills • Letter to Members of Congress, Congressional Black Caucus • Truthout: “Welfare Reform” Is Pushing Women Into Unwaged Work • Letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer • Historic resolution from 1977 Houston Women’s Conference • 2Pac: Dear MamaMore…

Press Release: Stop the War on the Poor: SoCal Communities Speak Out

Stop the War on the Poor Southern California is part of a first annual international week of actions. (For actions in Washington, DC, Phila; Milwaukee, SF  & in other countries: http://www.everymothernetwork.net)

WHAT:           Community Gathering with Speak-Out, Community Resources for Low-Income People, Food, Children’s Activities.

Practical experiences of and campaigning against poverty, war, criminalization of survival, solitary confinement, prison/jail expansion, deportation, removal of children from their moms due to poverty, lack of resources that tear families apart, and the destruction of the planet.  For a world that Invests in Caring for People and the Planet, Not Killing.

Information will be available on getting criminal records expunged; access to welfare, SNAP/food stamps, medical care, assistance with immigration questions; dealing with DCFS. The event is collaborating with the weekly food distribution by RAC-LA.

WHEN:          Sunday, July 20th at 12:30pm till 3:30pm

WHERE:        MacArthur Park, Wilshire Blvd./Park View, Los Angeles 90057

WHO:           Southern California Planning Group:

Alexandria House; Bilal Ali (statewide coordinator, Homeless Bill of Rights Campaign, for ID purposes); California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement; DCFS Give Us Back Our Children; Every Mother is a Working Mother Network; Food Not Bombs; Feminists Working on Real Democracy (F*WORD, Santa Cruz); KidVillage@OccupyLA; Long Beach Area Peace Network; Martin Luther King Coalition of Greater LA; Military Families Speak Out; No More Jails LA; OccupyLongBeach; RAC-LA; Sin Barras, Santa Cruz; Women of Color/Global Women’s Strike & GWS/LA; Veterans for Peace LA

Stop the War on the Poor actions are demanding:

  • Passage and implementation of the RISE Out of Poverty Act (H.R. 814, Rep Gwen Moore D-WI) that makes the elimination of child poverty central to welfare legislation and recognizes caregiving and education as work
  • Passage and implementation of the Social Security caregivers Credit Act (H.R. 5024, Rep Nita Lowey D-NY), another step toward recognizing caregiving as work.
  • Child welfare agencies stop removing children from families because of poverty, racism, sexism or other bias rather than abuse or neglect.
  • A living wage for mothers and other caregivers – we are launching an international petition.
  • Resources for the care of people and the planet, not war and occupation.

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