Legislature does some good for NV’s struggling families

What would I do without the wonderful perspective and insights of my growing group of fabulous contributors? Here’s some end-of-session news from the state Legislature you can use from Julianna Ormsby of the Nevada Women’s Lobby.

More assistance on way for Nevada’s struggling families

For the first time in 15 years, Nevada families receiving Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) assistance, will see a 10% increase in their cash grants. The current monthly TANF grant for a family of three is approximately $348, which amounts to an additional $34.80 per month. (Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie initially proposed a 15% increase.)

It doesn’t seem like much, but consider this — the TANF rate has not been increased in Nevada since 1992. And when you consider how it played out, in the final days of the session with a number of competing priorities, it truly is a victory for Nevada families (even though it is really just replacing the 10% that was cut several years ago…but I digress).

What makes the 2007 TANF increase especially poignant is that it was done in honor of Maya Miller, a woman known to many Nevadans for her tireless humanitarian efforts, not just in Nevada, but in the world. Maya passed away last year at the age of 91 but her spirit lives on in the many lives and communities she has changed. For more on Maya’s extraordinary life, go here.

For more on the Nevada welfare rights movement and the pioneering work of women like Maya Miller along with the Westside Mothers of Operation Life such as Ruby Duncan, Rosie Lee Seals and many others, check out Annelise Orleck’s book, Storming Caesars Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty. Orleck documents Nevada’s grassroots welfare rights movement and the monumental struggle to bring Nevada’s welfare policy into the 20th century. [Editor’s note: I wrote a piece on the Westside Mothers for CityLife last year.]

Finally, a quick plug for a community event … please join the Nevada Women’s Lobby from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on June 27 as we host our post-legislative general meeting and reception for Southern Nevada legislators and community members at the Grant Sawyer Building, Room 1100, in Las Vegas. We will be discussing our 2007 legislative victories and opportunities for change in 2009. For more information, contact Arley Goris @ NVWL@aol.com or (702) 658-5965.

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