Saturday, August 04, 2001
Off welfare, still in poverty
Many better off, but still struggling
The Associated Press
LOUISVILLE Kentucky's welfare rolls have been cut by half since 1996, but many families getting off the assistance remain in poverty, according to a study.
Many on welfare have resisted efforts to upgrade their education skills, the study found. But those off assistance for at least three years generally report being better off in terms of income, expenses and health.
The report was released Thursday by the state Cabinet for Families and Children and the University of Louisville. It includes data from 1996 through June 2000 and relies on ongoing interviews of 500 people, many of whom have moved off welfare since the study began.
Families are not worse off when they leave the rolls, said cabinet Secretary Viola Miller. Families say they are at least as well off or better.
Still, cabinet officials acknowledged many current and former welfare recipients remain in the ranks of the working poor and said they must figure out how to help them.
About 32 percent of those who moved off welfare remain in poverty. Ten percent of the families earn less than 50 percent of the federal poverty level, the report found.
That means a family of three is living on about $578 or less a month, and many either don't know about or have not requested food stamps, Medicaid, or child-care and housing assistance, help that is generally available to them, Ms. Miller said.
In 1996, Kentucky had about 72,000 families on welfare; as of June 2000, that number had dropped to about 37,500, according to the study. And the welfare rolls have continued to decline, though at a slower rate.
But people recently off welfare run into many hardships, especially in the first few years, said Gerald Barber, a U of L professor and one of the report's authors.
The report points out problems getting medical care, housing, transportation and child-care assistance.
But over time, he said, families are faring better. Although financial problems don't disappear, the report found people better off than they were on welfare, in better physical and mental health.
While 86 percent of those in the study were satisfied with their jobs, only 39 percent were earning $8 or more per hour.
Black museums gain momentum
Medical complex takes shape
Two people die before heat eases
Mosler slams door on 300 workers
City's economic pain gets worse
City's clean air rating argued before court
CPS board member to quit
Krohn spruced one pane at a time
Reds fans contributing to Paul Brown Stadium
MCNUTT: Memorial seeks cash, corrections
Attorneys want judge to limit Oxy
Bank robbery tally grows by 2 more
Instructor accused of raping girl
Priest looked up to Murphy
Tristate A.M. Report
Truck-battered I-75 stretch getting new top coat
Carlisle schools asking for levy
City workers push petition
Flooded residents want out
Mason High theater camp teaches art of performing
Cities battle annexation law
Chief who brawled with mayor says he's fired; mayor doesn't
Cockfight critics ask agencies to investigate
Deputies comb farm for woman's body
Doctor busted for drug trafficking
Kentucky News Briefs
Lucas was swing vote on patient rights
Off welfare, still in poverty
Sewage facility being evaluated
Tobacco might fight cancer