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  THE LOW INCOME & URBAN HOUSING BLOG  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

4 Undeniable Facts on How A Government Shutdown Can Hurt Needy Families

Needy Family

While many American tourists may have complained about the closing of parks and monuments due to the recent government shutdown, the real story often missing from the news is the way in which a shutdown directly affects American children and needy families.

Here are just some of the programs that hurt them:

1. Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) - This program known as WIC is 100 percent federally funded and provides nutrition assistance to low-income women and their young children. Only about 80 percent of qualified individuals received benefits in October. The program serves 9 million people per month.

2. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - TANF provides cash assistance to needy families. During the shutdown, this program stopped receiving federal funding, so many families felt the impact. 1.8 million families receive TANF benefits.

3. Public housing - Public housing programs receive funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Many low-income families receive financial assistance to pay their rent through this program. During the shutdown, HUD reported that many of the 3,300 Public Housing Authorities were not able to maintain normal operations due to lack of funding. Over 4 million low-income people are helped by this program.

4. Energy assistance - During the shutdown, many states were expected to run out of funds for low-income energy assistance programs - especially if the shutdown had continued. Over 7 million households receive energy assistance from federally funded programs.

These are not just statistics, but reflect the impact on real families who suffered or could have suffered when the government shut down. It is important to understand the pain that is felt by real people who were already struggling before the government shutdown happened.

Hopefully, another shutdown won't happen for a long, long time.


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