On May 20 the Economic Opportunity & Poverty Reduction Task Force, a legislatively appointed body, held an introductory meeting for new members where they discussed the “cliff effect,” which occurs when a small increase in income brings sudden financial losses and a net loss for low-income families supported by public benefit programs.
For parents, the cliff effect occurs most prominently when they earn too much money to continue receiving food stamps/SNAP, child care, low-income energy assistance, and the child health plan, and are no longer able to receive benefits. These work supports allow a parent to get and keep a job even when their earnings are less than their basic expenses. At the meeting, Dawn Marquantte told her personal story about being placed on a waitlist for the Child Care Assistance Program, or CCAP, when she moved counties for a housing opportunity. After being on the waitlist for more than a year with no end in sight, she decided to move to a different county where she received child care assistance within a couple of weeks. Being able to gain child care assistance has allowed her to keep her job.
Colorado Half in Ten partner 9to5 National Association of Working Women also led a storytelling training for 9to5 members. Participants learned how best to tell their personal stories and how stories can be used to influence policymakers. The coalition is also meeting to discuss viable ways to push forward progressive priorities for the reauthorization of TANF, which is due to expire this year.