Urge Senators to Extend Critical Support for
Low-Income Families AND Create Jobs
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF) is helping states to prevent and end homelessness for families across the country. ECF funds can help states create subsidized employment for low-income parents, provide short-term rent assistance to families experiencing a housing crisis, and offer cash assistance to low-income families.
What is TANF ECF?
The TANF Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF) was created through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in early 2009, though it is set to expire on September 30, 2010. It provides critical resources to states to:
- Create new work opportunities for low-income mothers and fathers so they can provide care for their children (subsidized employment);
- Provide emergency assistance to families experiencing a housing crisis - including mortgage assistance, help paying for motels, eviction prevention, and rapid re-housing assistance (short-term benefits); and
- Cover the increased costs of providing cash assistance to eligible, low-income families who may have lost jobs and are ineligible for unemployment insurance so that states do not have to absorb the increased costs by cutting other programs.
How Can TANF ECF Serve People Experiencing Homelessness?
TANF ECF funds can be used to prevent and end homelessness. In fact, ECF funds have helped create more than 200,000 jobs across the country for low-income families who might be at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
In addition, TANF ECF can be used with Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) funds to prevent and end family homelessness. Carmen Nazario, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Mercedes Marquez, Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, had this to say about combining TANF ECF and HPRP funds to serve homeless and at-risk families:
"As parents have lost jobs or faced other economic challenges, many families are falling behind on rent or mortgage payments and are at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Many households are confronted by eviction from their apartment or foreclosure on their home, while others have already fallen into homelessness but may be able to move toward stability with immediate assistance. ... Where possible, we strongly encourage State TANF agencies to work together with HPRP programs to maximize the benefit and efficiency of both esources to serve families."
Who Else Supports a TANF ECF Extension?
State and County leaders across the country have urged Congress to take action and extend the TANF ECF. The National Governors' Association, the National Council of State Legislatures, and the National Council of Counties Board of Directors have all expressed their support of this extension.
National Alliance to End Homelessness