I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Applications for government help rise as poor feel the economic pain
Signs are everywhere that the economic slump is affecting those who have the least resources.
And here’s another: applications for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – the government program once known as welfare – has jumped in New Mexico.
“During April 2009 there were 16,625 cases, an 18.9 percent increase from April 2008,” Betina Gonzales McCracken, spokeswoman for the New Mexico Human Services Department, wrote me a couple of weeks ago.
The stats Gonzales McCracken quoted came in response to a question I’d posed regarding the government program that seeks to assist financially struggling families.
The context for my query was a comment Pam Hyde, the state Human Services Department secretary, had made a few days before my e-mail.
The economic slump, Hyde said, had led to a 28 percent increase in applicants for New Mexico’s food stamp program, which helps the needy purchase groceries. The remark came at a news conference announcing that $700,000 in foodstuffs purchased by federal stimulus money was on its way to poor New Mexicans thanks to the Roadrunner Food Bank and its statewide network of food banks and pantries.
Needy New Mexicans relying on TANF might have reason to feel gratitude toward the feds too.
The state of New Mexico anticipates receiving $35 million in federal stimulus money to help pay for the increased costs that come from more people needing help during such rocky financial times.