The Increasing Use of TANF and State Matching Funds to Provide Housing Assistance to Families Moving from Welfare to Work
This paper provides a detailed look at state and local programs that use federal TANF or
state Maintenance of Effort (MOE) funds7 to provide housing assistance to families attempting to make the transition from welfare to work. In the last two years, such programs have been established in the states of Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and New Jersey, and in the California counties of Los Angeles and San Mateo.
The paper begins by exploring the rationale for using TANF or MOE funds to provide housing subsidies to families that are or were recently receiving welfare funds. The first section
of the paper reviews the growing body of evidence which suggests that housing assistance may advance welfare reform objectives. The second section describes the shortage of low-cost rental housing that has made it difficult for low-income working families in many areas to find housing that does not consume excessive portions of their income.
The paper then explores some of the key issues involved in designing and funding housing assistance programs targeted on families attempting to navigate the transition from
welfare to work. The third section of the paper describes eight state and local initiatives that use TANF or MOE funds to help subsidize the housing costs of families attempting to make this transition. The final section of the paper discusses the rules that apply to the use of federal TANF or state MOE funds and how those rules affect the design of housing assistance programs. (Authors)
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