Opinion: General assistance in Pa. is too important to lose

From: Philadelphia Inquirer

Danielle, 40, wanted to leave an abusive relationship but relied on her partner for food and housing. When she finally was able to escape, she needed help to afford her utility bills, food, toiletries, medications, and transportation to the doctor. Without General Assistance, she wouldn’t have been able to afford the things she needed to survive.

While Jeanette, 62, from Philadelphia was waiting to be approved for disability she relied on General Assistance to buy feminine hygiene products and toothpaste. She also credits the program with keeping her from becoming homeless during a time she wasn’t able to work.

Vincent, 52, of Upper Darby struggles with a substance use disorder and needs to go to a recovery program three times a week. General Assistance helps him get there, cover his medical copays, and buy deodorant. If unable to get to his treatment sessions, Vincent would be at risk for relapse.

These are real Pennsylvanians who struggle every day to survive. Pennsylvania’s General Assistance program is a last resort for many of them. General Assistance (GA) pays around $200 a month to about 9,000 Pennsylvanians who oftentimes have nowhere else to turn. With this help, folks are able to pay to rent a room in a friend’s house instead of sleeping outside on a bench, buy a bus ticket to escape an abusive situation, or get a warm coat in the winter. It’s not a lot of money, but for many GA recipients it can be the difference between living or dying.

Read the full article here. 

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