Statewide Poverty Action Network member Nacol shares her powerful story. You, too, can make your voice heard through the Sharing Personal Experience As Knowledge (SPEAK) campaign.
“Five years ago, I fled a domestic violence situation with my two-year-old twin daughters – and one suitcase. I spent two years living in shelters while I searched for resources. One of my biggest barriers to stability continues to be the lack of resources for one of my daughters, who lives with a disability. Because of this disability, I am always on call to pick up my daughter from school and cannot afford childcare. It is hard to find a job that is flexible enough to fit the needs of my children.
I want to work and want the best for my daughters.
I receive $478 per month through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for myself and my family. While this money helps a great deal, it is not enough.
I am forced to choose between school supplies and clothes for my children, and paying our rent and utility bills.
TANF is really important though. Because I receive TANF, I was able to more easily obtain transitional housing, and TANF’s emergency assistance program helped me when I needed it.
I would like to see improvements to TANF, such as increasing the asset limits for TANF recipients. The few times I had any money to save, I didn’t do it because I was worried that I would lose my TANF benefits. I shouldn’t have to choose between saving for my family’s future and accessing resources to meet our basic needs now.
As a person who has life experience, I think sharing my story is so important. Step up and let someone know how you feel. Go down and talk to your representatives. I think it’s the most powerful thing you can do.”
Statewide Poverty Action Network
By stepping up and telling her story, Nacol, along with other members of the Statewide Poverty Action Network, were powerful enough to prevent $87.8 million in cuts to TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) programs. To learn more or share your story, visit povertyaction.org.