EBT limitations . . . good or bad

The uptight Responsible Republican in me wants to regulate everything and ensure the money given to recipients is used wisely and in ways I would spend it on their behalf.  I am a control freak.

Apparently, I am not the only one:

“The locations where you can use your EBT card to withdraw cash may have changed. Please check the list of locations on this website to see where you can withdraw cash benefits in your area. You can no longer get your cash benefits at ATMs and point of sale devices in liquor stores that don’t accept your CalFresh benefits. You also can’t get your cash benefits at casinos, poker rooms, card rooms, adult entertainment businesses, bail bonds, night clubs/saloons/taverns, bingo halls, race tracks, gun/ammunition stores, cruise ships, psychic readers, smoking shops, cannabis shops, tattoo/piercing shops, and spa/massage salons.” – State of California web site

That is great and all until you are stuck on Lankershim in North Hollywood and there is someone sketchy hanging at the 7-11 so you have to find somewhere else to get your cash benefits. Check it out – the only other atm;s are in the line of strip clubs. Or, imagine a friend got you into Downtown Disney or inside Disneyland or Universal Studios and you want to pull $20 for water and sunblock. Nope: your card won’t work. WTF? So, you can use it at the convenience store down the street from the attraction but not 400 yards later in the park? Lake making it inconvenient is a kindness or is it like when I have a houseguest I don’t like and start putting parental controls on the TV timer? (I love you Andrea but your weekend ended 2 weeks ago – leave).

 

Sleeping Out for One Night

I see you on the news coverage of the @roseparade, bundled into sleeping bags and laughing, and complaining about the bitter cold. I hear you laughing and drinking and wondering how you can stand the line for the portable potty.

  • It is fun, it is a lark
  • It is just for the night.

For you.

For you it is just for one night so use this night well. Think about all the people who will be sleeping on the street tomorrow night after you have gone home and are warm and fed again. Think about where they will go when they need to pee because the portable restrooms have been removed and the restaurants are limiting access to customers only.

If you did not have a place to go home to tomorrow afternoon – how would you plot your escape from the streets?

  • Who would take you in?
  • Where will you wash clothes?
  • How will you find work?
  • Where will you store your basic belongings?

Are You Ready to Work?

Here are a few places to start looking

Los Angeles County Job openings https://sjobs.brassring.com/TGWebHost/searchopenings.aspx?SID=^UM22gxZJXbWHsTIotwq1Lr8GsHztUxx5GzX/rwAWaAoVh7xRnc93O5lnuh9vPQGl

Cal Jobs https://www.caljobs.ca.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx

State of California Jobs https://jobs.ca.gov/

Fox Studios https://foxcareers.com/

Work for the Feds https://www.usajobs.gov/

Yes. There are many homeless children in Los Angeles.

I can tell that homelessness in children has increased dramatically. I know this because I work with homeless parents and my case load has grown and grown like a weed.

No. There are not enough shelters for families.

Yes, children are sleeping in boxes, on sidewalks, in parking lots, in parks, on kitchen floors, on sofas and all manner of places not fit to house them.

Is it the parent’s fault? No. Yes. And no.

Parents without education because they left school as children will not have the education and skills to hold high earning jobs. Don’t blame the drop-outs:evaluate the schools.

Parents are the CEOs of families. The buck stops with them. But…realistically: what are the pathways out of poverty for them.

Last week a friend accused me of love getting the government system I work inside of. She meant it as an insult, but it didn’t insult me.

Education
Job training
Assistance with job searches
Work experience
Therapy for mental health, substance use and domestic violence
Funding bus passes to get folks to these things
Assisting get with the cost of education

Yep. I love that these are available a day I’m happy to be able to offer them and help people navigate out of poverty.

But as a society, we still hate poor people. We punish them. We look at keeping the minimum wage down and then blame people for not affording housing.
We foreclose so many homes that there are more empty homes than there are individual homeless people. There is a vacant home for every man, woman, and child in the USA.
We don’t make education enjoyable or easy attain
Forget affording higher education .
We give money to the rich and remove tax breaks for middle class and the poor
Our middle class mistakenly sides with the 1% because… I don’t know. Do they think that if we throw money at the über rich that the elite will invite us I to the club and stuff dollars down our shorts?
Child tax credits are about to evaporate
Health care for not super poor and not financially soluble families is unreachable in some states because…why?

I see all of the poverty bashing and hear all the cutting and snide remarks about uneducated, or unemployed, and /or unfocused people and then I read articles where people are shocked that kids are living in the streets.

homeless in the USA
Born Homeless in the USA

 

Cause and effect, folks.

We need to create jobs.
Return jobs from their outsources homes.
Keep people in school
Offer education to pare ts when their children are in school

Invest back in America.
Or, don’t invest I your neighbor and if you choose that path, stop complain OK great about the increase in number of poor families and individuals.

http://abc7.com/society/report-ca-accounts-for-over-1-5-of-homeless-children-in-us/399067/

Back My Kickstarter – Shedding Affluenza

HElp teach Darla about the real value of people
Help teach Darla about the real value of people

You all know that Poverty and Homelessness are causes close to my heart. I am trying to find ways to explain poverty, culteral diversity , and appriciation for who people ARE rather than what they HAVE to my daughter.
This is my result.
I want to spend time taking Darla to all the different types of neighborhoods that we can reach on the weekends. WE will take photos and eventually publish an e-book about her adventures and what she has learned.
YOU can be in the book!

YOU can give us instructions on locations to explore.

We will be eating the local food and staying where we travel.

Our book will explore poverty, racism, cultural diversity and how other people live (rich and poor).

Please support us!

Successful or not, you know I won’t raise another Ethan Couch!

Hungry and Frustrated , Hey Los Angeles County: what gives?

Recently I became ill -( falling over in the office and having to be out of work for over a month kind of ill). On February 10th I had to take a leave from my job.

Absence meant I was without my usual paycheck and still had to pay for child care for my youngest daughter so I could spend several hours a week in medical offices. Being a single mother with successful and employed friends, day care remained my only option.  I still had housing expenses, medical co-payments, utilities, car insurance and gasoline as well as food and cell phone bills to pay. I have been living on credit card debt (before I had no debt, so there is a high interest cushion here ) and loans from my father.  As you know, I work as a social worker for an undisclosed county contracted company in the welfare services. My income is so low that saving is almost impossible and  I , like many of my coworkers, often qualify for the same services we refer clients to – such as WIC and Healthy Families type health insurance.

I took the time to apply for State Disability – I have not seen a dime. Eventually I received a notice that I was approved for a payment but it may go on a debit card and I should wait 5 more days for that to arrive. It has been over a week since then  and nothing has arrived.

I went to http://www.mendpoverty.org, where I volunteer,  on a Thursday in early March and tried applying for CalFresh and that weekend I broke out the internet and my document scanner to test drive the online DPSS portal I tell my clients about. I think I even said it was an emergency situation where we were about to run out of food.

Nada, Nothing, the only response I have from Los Angeles County Department of Public and Social Services has been several mailed notices of a PIN number for the online portal. I have not had a follow up phone call , voice mail, email, text message or paper notice. The online portal says “PENDING”. I scheduled an appointment to go to the DPSS office on Thursday, but I don’t have any sick time to keep the appointment.

There is a customer service phone number. It is a joke. Please, look up the phone number and call. The message you will hear, in English and Spanish, is that there is a second number now required to reach someone. I called the second number and spend 20 minutes listening to various phone ques and never reaching an actual person. Fortunately I am not on a limited cell phone minute plan as many low-income Los Angelinos are.

I have been back at work for two weeks now and I have not been paid in over a month. I had to return to work, there is no way I could remain housed if I stayed out and addressed my health. Child care tuition was due today and I did not have the money. I was hoping to qualify for some kind of assistance such as CCRC. Subsidized Child Care requires that i have an active DPSS case. I can’t have an active case until DPSS gets around to my application. I may not even qualify  – since a mythical Disability check is supposedly on it’s way for less than half of what my usual wage was.

I totally understand that there are rules and that the Los Angeles County Department of Public and Social Services has 30 days to evaluate an application – but please explain that to my child care worker or my family.

I am fortunate because I can borrow but many of the citizens of Los Angeles County can not. Who is providing oversight? I hope that the Board of Supervisors, whom I’ve experiences to be intellegent and highly effective, realize that this program has some serious flaws and that they address them soon. I will be happy to tell them about my experiences over lunch, but only if they are buying – I won’t be paid for a week.

 

I will not tell you where I work , only that I am a fan of the work I do and my coworkers are great. 

 

Child Support: end profiting by discriminating against single parent families on cash aid

Stop profiting by discriminating against single parent families on cash aid!

A two parent family who lives as a household on public aid is not expected to repay public assistance. . A two parent family who lives separately while one parent and the child(ren) receive public assistance will have to repay the entire assistance .

My daughter just turned 18 years old and is two weeks from graduating High School. For the past 12 years I have been her sole support except for $240 a month; a partial child support payment. There is a $10,000 balance on the child support case and my daughter and I will never see a dime of it. I was on cash aid for about 5 years and completed college against the advice of my DPSS social workers. For the last 12 years I have not been on cash aid but the County of Los Angeles is still collecting Child Support to pay for five (5) years of cash aid.( I actually work in the welfare system now) The County of Los Angeles has received over half of my child support order for 17 years. This $10,000 is past due child support never paid to me.
A two parent family who lives as a household on public aid is not expected to repay public assistance. . A two parent family who lives separately while one parent and the child(ren) receive public assistance will have to repay the entire assistance grant even though fewer dollars were given to this family than to the family living under one roof.
For example:
Joe and Sue live together, have a child together and together they request cash aid. They receive a cash aid payment for Joe, Sue and Baby . Cash aid ends and Joe eventually moves out. Joe and Sue enter into a Child Support agreement. Sue is able to collect the full amount of child support ordered.
But maybe:
Joe and Sue don’t live together when they have a baby and apply for cash aid. Sue receives cash aid for herself and Baby for three years when Sue completes her education and finds a self-sustaining job. The County of Los Angeles demands Sue give her child support rights to them and they take all but $50 of child support. After Sue leaves cash aid the county continues to take more than half of the child support. After the baby turns 18 the county continues to bill Joe for all the cash aid Sue and Baby received when he was not living with them. There is an additional 10% interest charge added to the debt the county believes is owed to them.
Why do we ask some parents to repay cash aid and not demand that all parents pay this back – or let none of them pay it? Is it double dipping to take tax payments out of paychecks and have the taxes go to social welfare programs and additionally garnish money to pay for the social welfare your child is using?
And, who monitors these accounts? The California Child Support system has been adding on 10% for years and I think the outstanding debt on the account is more than any cash aid award my family received. I was labeled a Welfare Mom, he was labeled a Dead Beat and the state of California and Los Angeles County are making a profit.

CA Governor Race and the Homeless

I have heard how Welfare would be cut from 5 years to 2 (but not what the reduction in federal funds woud do to the sate budget).

I have heard how all we need are JOBS

But I have not heard how the people who would be the most prominent in our state would try to serve the most needy.

Did I miss it? Does someone on a Political Policy level have a plan to End homelessness or at least reduce it?

Let me know!