Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kaine Takes Step in Right Direction

With the economy throughout the country not doing too well, it should come as no surprise that both law makers and the media have been discussing the tough economic situation currently facing the middle class. While there obviously needs to be more than just rhetoric when it comes to helping out those in need, I am most definitely glad most of the focus has been placed on those who are actually making some sacrifices due to the economic downturn. With this attention devoted to working families and their concerns it sure would be great if lawmakers learn that they can no longer simply focus on how the wealthiest Americans are doing in the stock market.

Here in Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has taken some action to help some of the poorest Virginians by announcing that $9 million in grants for 122 homeless shelters operating across the Commonwealth.
“The homeless population in Virginia is among the most vulnerable in the state,” Governor Kaine said. “These grants will help them make positive changes in their lives – to become more productive members of the community, to strengthen their families through times of crisis, and to care for their children.”

Grant recipients are nonprofit and local government providers of emergency shelter and transitional housing for the homeless. The grants are being provided through four program areas: State Shelter Grants, federally funded Emergency Shelter Grants, Child Service Coordinator Grant, and the Child Care for the Homeless Children Grant program.
These grants provide funding for the various operational and administrative needs that homeless shelters face which are desperately needed at this point in time. But the most important aspect of these grants is that a large portion of the funds will be “targeted toward the family environment at shelters” and will help families with things such as child care. This is extremely important because it will allow the parents to go out and receive job training or further their education. In other words, it will allow parents to obtain the skills necessary to obtain a job paying a liveable wage and provide a better home environment for their children.
“For many Virginians, the path toward self-sufficiency can be long and difficult, with many ups and downs,” said DHCD Director Bill Shelton. “The support we provide for our homeless service providers is essential in providing a safe place for individuals, families, and children where they can work toward getting back on their feet with the help that they need.”
During these tough economic times it is important that the government promote programs that provide long term solutions. By having these grants provide parents with the opportunity to master skills necessary to better themselves, these grants are a step in that direction.

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