News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Hand in Hand program loss a blow to independence

Many politicians fail to understand that helping people lift themselves out of poverty isn't a six-month turnaround. It's long term.

They also don't get it when it comes to understanding that some people's lives are so rooted in poverty they are incapable of going out and finding work on their own.

Poverty paralyzes people into being afraid to try. They have no support system, no transportation. They are in psychological poverty, too.

Getting people out of poverty is a process of working with individuals, teaching them life skills, job skills, giving them the emotional support that keeps them going back to their jobs.

Parents and Children Together is losing its successful Hand in Hand program that helps people become independent. The Riley administration is arbitrarily cutting off the $250,000 annual funding to all 10 agencies around the state that have the program.

Somebody in Montgomery isn't considering what effect the loss will have on people such as Geraldine Clark who got the bad news Tuesday at the Parents and Children Together office.

She may be able to make it on her own now because she's moved out of public housing into an apartment and has kept her job for seven months, the longest time she's been employed at one place. But some others won't. Many of those who are now tax-paying workers may not be strong enough to escape poverty without continued support.

Her story, however, is much the same as those of other people who stick with the program for the full 12-month term.

Getting one family off welfare and breaking the horrible cycle of dependency on government is worth more than the entire annual grant.

Politicians, however, fail to look long term.

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