Another bill’s passage was cause for celebration this month.
SB20-029 was signed by Governor Jared Polis and will provide a $500 one-time payment to each family who receives basic cash assistance through Colorado Works and county-administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs.
Given the dire budget situation for the state, the bill was amended and does not reflect the increase in basic cash assistance that CWEE and other advocates would have liked. Nevertheless, the boost will be welcomed by families who are living on razor-thin margins.
CWEE’s advocacy coordinator, Isabel Cruz, testified in favor of the increase, telling legislators:
CWEE families are having more trouble than ever affording diapers, gas, cleaning supplies, and the technology that is vital to continue their own and their children’s learning while schools and training programs are closed. An increased payment will give parents and children in the Colorado Works program the resources they need to ensure they stay safe and healthy during the pandemic.
We recognize that our state budget is in crisis, and some may hesitate to spend down reserves during uncertain times. However, putting needed funds in the hands of families to ensure they can stay afloat and keep themselves safe in a pandemic is the best example of what the TANF reserves are for. It’s a creative solution to support needy families during a dire time.