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Public impeachment hearings in Washington; dreamers protest in Texas; roadless wilderness areas possibly at risk around the country; and an ozone indicating garden, at the North Carolina Governor's Mansion.

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Supreme Court hears DACA arguments, and likely will side with the Trump administration, but doesn't take up a gun manufacturer's appeal. Former SC Gov. Mark Sanford drops out of presidential race; and former President Jimmy Carter recovers from brain surgery.

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Saving for Tomorrow: Bridging the Gap for TN Families

The Annie E. Casey Foundation recommends changes to federal policies that could make it easier for families to save, and help correct racial disparities in their ability to save. (finance/morguefile)
The Annie E. Casey Foundation recommends changes to federal policies that could make it easier for families to save, and help correct racial disparities in their ability to save. (finance/morguefile)
January 20, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Squirreling away savings isn't easy for many Tennessee families.

From 2010 to 2013, according to a policy brief released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the net worth of white families increased by 2 percent, while Latino and black families saw their assets fall by 15 percent and 34 percent respectively. The brief recommends that families who receive public assistance be allowed to save money.

Beadsie Woo, senior associate at the foundation's Center for Community and Economic Opportunity, said federal policy should allow low-income families to have up to $12,000 in savings, or the equivalent of three months' wages.

"Today in some states, a family receiving public benefits could get cut off for having savings of just $1,000," she said. "Families should be able to invest in themselves and their children, and $1,000 doesn't go very far."

In Tennessee, families receiving temporary assistance are limited to $2,000 in assets.

The brief, called "Investing in Tomorrow," also recommended creating universal savings accounts upon a child's birth, increasing access to home ownership and making the federal retirement savings program more accessible. Woo said boosting a family's ability to save can have a long-term impact, not only on parents' lives, but on those of their children.

"There are common-sense federal policies that can create more opportunities for families to save, and those change the life course for their children," she said. "Children whose families can save will do better in school and have stronger outcomes through access to opportunities."

According to the brief, nearly half of U.S. households could not subsist at the federal poverty level for three months if they had a sudden loss of income. Without access to savings, Woo said, families often resort to high-cost payday loans to make ends meet.

The report is online at aecf.org.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN