Monday, February 6, 2023


Fare-free public transit benefits Kansas City residents and businesses; farmers prioritize food, not feed in the 2023 Farm Bill; and a new survey: students want a more diverse inclusive curriculum.


The Democratic National Committee votes to shake up the presidential primary calendar, President Biden gets a better than expected jobs report before his second State of the Union, and lawmakers from both parties question the response to a Chinese data gathering balloon.


Is bird flu, inflation or price gouging to blame for astronomical egg prices? Pregnancy can be life-changing or life-ending depending on where you live, and nine tribal schools are transforming their outdoor spaces into community gathering areas.

Nebraska Denies Emergency Assistance to 90% of Poor Families


Wednesday, January 5, 2022   

Nebraska and other states are hoarding more than $5 billion intended for struggling families, according to
new analysis.

In 2019, for every 100 Nebraska families living in poverty, only 17 were getting cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program. Ashley Burnside, a policy analyst with the Center for Law and Social Policy, explained that states gradually have been closing the door to federal funds, even during the pandemic.

"States have changed the eligibility requirements for the program," she said, "and it's become harder and harder for parents to access the program - despite there being a high level of financial need in the state."

According to federal data, Nebraska - along with Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas - denied nearly 90% of applications from families seeking emergency relief. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the agency charged with distributing TANF funds, has not yet responded to a request for comments.

Welfare reforms passed under the Clinton administration gave broad leeway to states for how TANF funds should be distributed, and a provision meant to prevent hoarding was left out of the final legislation. Some officials have warned that welfare discourages work and creates dependency, but Burnside noted that most families living in poverty already are working, and government assistance has been readily available to banks and industry.

"Just because families are poor, that doesn't mean that the government shouldn't be there to support them when they're having a financial emergency," she said, "and it's not a child's fault if their parents cannot secure a job."

Burnside said she believes keeping money intended for families with children is short-sighted, because investing in children's well-being pays off down the road. When kids have stable housing and nutrition, they do better in school, earn better wages as adults and become financially independent.

"When you're hoarding the money and not providing it to families as they're facing poverty, that doesn't do anything to help the child," she said. "States shouldn't be sitting on money that they have when they could be providing emergency financial support to families that are just barely making it month to month."

get more stories like this via email
Michigan environmental activists have begun to focus on environmental justice issues in low-income communities that bear the brunt of industrial pollution and political indifference. (Adobe Stock)


By Tom Perkins for Planet Detroit.Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Michigan News Connection with support from the Solutions Journalism Network…


By Jared Brey for Governing.Broadcast version by Deborah Van Fleet for Missouri News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-Public New…

Social Issues

South Dakota is once again locked in a debate over a bill concerning transgender youth. It seeks to ban gender-affirming care, with supporters …

Voters in Pittsburgh-area districts 32, 34 and 35 will head to the polls Tuesday to fill three vacancies in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. (MoiraM/AdobeStock)

Social Issues

While the Pennsylvania House is still out of session and won't resume until late February, the public and advocacy groups are voicing their concerns…

Social Issues

Better health and educational outcomes are being touted as the potential benefits as Minnesota lawmakers discuss whether to provide free school meals …

Sixty schools piloted College Board's new AP African American Studies course, which is set to appear in over 200 schools starting in the 2024-2025 school year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CORRECTION: YouthTruth surveyed more than 28,000 high school seniors from the class of 2022 and the class of 2019 in 19 states, including New York…

Social Issues

For more than two decades, a workforce development program in El Paso has invested in the economically disadvantaged to help them attain the …

Health and Wellness

Nebraska's long-term care facilities face staffing shortages and other factors that could lead to more closures if state funding isn't increased…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021