With Tuesday’s midterm election, Ohioans are bracing for the changes new state leadership will bring. In order to better inform Ohioans on some of the policy issues that may be discussed in the future, The Center for Community Solutions has continued its work to provide 18 questions for the 2018 election.
A future governor who strongly supports sustainable revenue and funding for safety net health and human services can work to meet basic human needs, alleviate poverty and reduce disparities across the state.
Wrapping up the six weeks of our policy questions, our final priority area we have focused these questions and facts on is strengthening the health and human services safety net. Here, we highlight some of the broader programs this policy area focuses on specifically work supports, child care and food assistance. A future governor who strongly supports sustainable revenue and funding for safety net health and human services can work to meet basic human needs, alleviate poverty and reduce disparities across the state.
What work supports and employment training would you advocate for?
- Continual underspending in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program has created a large reserve. The actual amount of the reserve for SFY 2017 is at least $521,800,896, a number that is expected to increase in SFY 2018. The continual decline in individuals receiving cash assistance, the under-expected enrollment in the Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program (CCMEP) and declining Prevention, Retention and Contingency Funds (PRC) recipients, among other program declines, have all contributed to this large reserve fund.
- There are great programs currently working in individual counties and programs in the state of Ohio that utilize TANF and other funding streams with reserves. Providing resources and tools to counties to highlight the work that is already being done around the state, and expanding on those principles, can go a long way to further the goals of a well-trained workforce, in addition to lifting thousands of Ohioans up and out of poverty.
What funding streams would you look at to provide high quality childcare?
- Twenty-two point one percent of children in Ohio remain below the poverty line, Cleveland leads the nation in child poverty and Cincinnati is not far behind, ranking third on the list.
- The current administration’s projections to use the reserve to fund high quality childcare will exhaust workforce supports to Ohio’s neediest families with children, and are unsustainable in the future.
What programs will you explore to alleviate poverty in Ohio?
- The Ohio Works First program reaches fewer and fewer families who live in poverty. In June 2007 there were 122,687 children in Ohio who received cash assistance, currently 76,522 receive that assistance.
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one of the most effective tools for reducing poverty and food insecurity. However, SNAP enrollment decreased by roughly 370,000 people between 2013 and 2017, despite the unemployment population only decreasing by 129,000.
By highlighting the research we have done at Community Solutions, these questions for the candidates seek to better inform the people around the state, and in Northeast Ohio. The questions are meant to highlight problems and provide solutions, to help create the goals of a future administration and determine what the answers will mean for all Ohioans