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New “Financial Bridge”: Thousands of Minnesotans May Benefit

November 19, 2007

St. Paul, MN – A Minnesota nonprofit group has set up a service that offers information about programs and services many families may be eligible for, but don't know about. Children's Defense Fund spokesman Mark Kimball says it covers things like childcare, energy assistance, health needs and food support.

"When they're not being utilized, we're losing out on several fronts. The families aren't as well off, and we don't get the money that comes in from the federal government when these programs are utilized."

Kimball explains the problem is that a lot of families aren't aware they are eligible for financial support.

"For example, 70 percent of eligible families are not taking advantage of energy assistance. We're trying to raise awareness of these programs. We're trying to get families, many of whom have children, to understand that they can have a little bit more economic stability and peace of mind, this winter and beyond."

Kimball also notes three-quarters of eligible kids aren't enrolled in programs that provide childcare assistance, and more than half the families who qualify aren't getting food stamp benefits. His view is that our tax dollars pay for the programs that are designed to provide a safety net for low-income families, and they should be used. He adds some families may also be eligible for tax credits.

More information is available online, at www.cdf.org/mn.

Jim Wishner/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - MN