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  • How Welfare's Work Requirements Make a Difference in Lives

    On July 12, the Obama Administration issued a directive to gut welfare reform of its work requirements. But those who work closely with individuals in need understand the critical principles of personal responsibility and self-reliance.

    Rachel Morrison, founder of a remarkably effective Washington, D.C.–based prison re-entry program titled EFFORTS (Employment for Former Offenders Receiving Treatment), explains that reciprocity, personal responsibility, and work are keys to upward mobility and the rise from dependency. Once a guard at Lorton Prison, Morrison knows of the obstacles that former convicts face when they come back into society, and she has committed herself to help them overcome those hurdles—specifically through job training, computer-skills classes, and guidance in applying for a job.

    “Some people come out of prison with a lot of anger inside, because they feel that society owes them,” she says. “They think society is supposed to take care of them. We help them to understand that they have to go out there and get a job, help take care of their family, be on time, and go to work every day. Society doesn’t owe you anything; you have to earn whatever it is that you want out of life.”

    Among the hundreds of individuals empowered through EFFORTS is Michelle Staten. The product of a broken home and victim of domestic violence, Staten became addicted to drugs. Her children were taken from her and put into foster care, and she was living on the streets when she first came to EFFORTS. Today, Staten is married, has regained custody of her five children, and is employed with security services at a major government agency.

    Also in D.C., the ministry of Bishop Shirley Holloway—whose outreach addresses homelessness, drug addiction, and alcoholism—likewise entails some form of work requirement for all of the hundreds of men and women she has served. Among the beneficiaries of Holloway’s programs is Angela Woods. Once addicted to drugs and wandering the streets with her two children in a one-seat stroller, Woods is now married and works with her husband, James, in Holloway’s City of Hope. They are the proud parents of five children and grandparents of four.

    Another beneficiary of Holloway’s outreach is Rachel Hicks, who had spent more than a year moving through a series of homeless shelters after she was laid off and lost her home to foreclosure. Hicks credits Holloway with helping her find a job at an IHOP, creating a budget, and restarting her life with her daughter and grandson.

    In the words of one director of a county Department of Social Services, “We are talking about trying to boost our referrals to [Holloway’s] facility because…it seems like a very effective program. The mandate that she puts on the residents is ‘You can’t just lay in your room and not be productive.’ She really likes to promote productivity.”

    Instead of weakening the successful 1996 reform, which resulted in nearly 3 million families moving out of dependency, Washington should bolster work requirements. Doing so would recognize the capacities of the people it serves and give individuals and families hope of achieving a life of independence and the satisfaction of productivity.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to How Welfare's Work Requirements Make a Difference in Lives

    1. M S says:

      The best feeling comes at the end of the day. Every day when I know I have been productive, and earned something that is mine, it feels a lot better than when the next hand-out reminds me of what I’m not doing. And should be.

    2. @lwinger6 says:

      No problem with benefits for those who cannot work.. But many see benefits as an incentive not to work, and many hide their income to get benefits. Welfare programs must weed out those who are abusing the program. If you can afford new cars, I don't need to be subsidizing your income.

    3. Bobbie says:

      Work requirements/responsibilities builds self confidence, self respect, self motivation! All of what an unconstitutional controlling government works against! This is America! Requirements apply!!!!!

    4. Lloyd Scallan says:

      It's really hard to understand why many on the right still don't realize what is Obama agenda. Obama don't give a damn about "personal responsibility and self-reliance". He cares only for forcing more and more Americans into government dependency, which translates into more government spending, and to insure a steady stream of Democrat voters. Our founding fathers realized tht once a citizen could vote himself free money, democracy will die. So does Obama.

      • Bobbie says:

        The people need to be reached. The people manipulated and trapped in Obama's mindset unknown to the truth of his (and activists across America) agenda to collapse personal freedom and independence in America! People need to know the power they have under their own American peoples' constitution and the protection it provides from the abuse and tyranny of Obama's government in America, turn 3rd world and realize that's why the President has such negative critique when it comes to the American peoples' CONSTITUTION that America proves to serve humanity well!

    5. Okie says:

      The problem is not to convince congressional democrats how to really bring people out of poverty…they already know. Their agenda is to keep as many people as possible dependent on them for their votes to keep them in power. They also know there is an end to the scheme when the money runs out. But their power is now, and the end is somewhere down the line. It's apparent they don't give a damn about thier children and grandchildren who will be bequeathed a horribly collapsed America if the progressives continue to prevail. I think the only way out is to convince the victims of what is being done to them and what the result will be, or at least enough of them to change the tide a bit. There is no need to try to show Obama the end of the path he's on as he is well aware of it, and is achieving exactly what he intends. Probably the biggest problem to be overcome is the mainstream media. Any other president or candidate would have been torn to pieces with a background such as his as well as his presidency which has been a fairly obvious failure. I pray someone smarter than me has the answer.

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