Wisconsin is the GOP model for ‘welfare reform.’ But as work requirements grow, so does one family’s desperation.

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The Trump administration is using Wisconsin as a model, but hopeful statistics belie the continuing struggles of low-income families trying to meet increasing standards for public assistance.

Image: Washington Post

The shock absorbers in James Howlett’s Ford Fusion were busted, but he and his partner, Nadine, packed their two children inside anyway. They were already homeless, and their time on food stamps was running out. They needed to fix the car and dig up documents to try to get back on welfare.

The suburban homeless shelter where they slept the night before was now in the distance as they made their way through the familiar blight of the city neighborhood that was once home. Howlett dropped Kayden, 5, at kindergarten and Cali, 3, at day care in a community center that stood amid the boarded-up houses and vacant fields surrounded by barbed wire that dot Milwaukee’s north side.

That’s when he found himself gripped by a new worry: His run-down Ford might be another barrier to government assistance.

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Carson’s New Plan Raises Rent for Millions in Public Housing

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Millions of families living in federally subsidized public housing would pay more for rent under a proposal unveiled by Ben Carson

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson talks to reporters at the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles on April 24, 2018.

Image: Time Magazine

Millions of families living in federally subsidized public housing would pay more for rent under a proposal unveiled Wednesday by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

The proposal would have to be approved by Congress, where it could touch off a debate over how best to support some of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable families. Democrats will likely put up fierce resistance and some members of the Republican majority will be reluctant to embrace it ahead of midterm elections in the fall.

— Read on time.com/5255278/ben-carson-public-housing-rent-increase/

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Fifty Years On, MLK’s Call for Economic Justice Rings True

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Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down fifty years ago today on April 4, 1968. It was a turning point of the twentieth century, marking an ending and a beginning. It was the end of one phase of the Black Freedom struggle, and the beginning of one of the most volatile periods of U.S. politics since the Civil War.

 

"King was arguably the greatest progressive leader of the past century."(Photo: AP/Gerry Broome)

Image: Common Dreams

Dr. King was a Baptist minister, a prophetic visionary, a great coalition builder, a moral pillar, a polarizing figure, a movement strategist, a practitioner of nonviolence, a radical reformer. King was arguably the greatest progressive leader of the past century.

One the one hand, King’s life and his assassination seem distant after five decades. At the same time, it is haunting to know that King could be alive today had he lived on. He was only 39 when he was killed.

Perhaps it is a natural obsession to wonder what King could have been had he lived. What would he do today? What would he say about Trump? How would he respond to the issues of the day? Truth is, we don’t know. But we can learn urgent lessons from his life’s work.

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Needs go unmet 6 months after Maria hit Puerto Rico

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Generators are still humming. Candles are still flickering. Homes are still being repaired.

Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria exactly six months ago, and the U.S. territory is still struggling to recover from the strongest storm to hit the island in nearly a century.

“There are a lot of people with needs,” said Levid Ortiz, operating director of PR4PR, a local nonprofit that helps impoverished communities across the island. “It shouldn’t be like this. We should already be back on our feet.”

Some 250 Puerto Ricans formed a line around him on a recent weekday, standing for more than two hours to receive bottles of water and a box of food at a public basketball court in the mountain town of Corozal. Many of those waiting were still without power, including 23-year-old Keishla Quiles, a single mother with a 4-year-old son who still buys ice every day to fill a cooler to keep milk and other goods cold amid rising temperatures.

“Since we’re a family of few resources, we have not been able to afford a generator,” she said. “It’s been hard living like this.”

Crews already have restored water to 99 percent of clients and power to 93 percent of customers, but more than 100,000 of them still remain in the dark and there are frequent power outages. Justo Gonzalez, interim director for Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority, said he expects the entire island to have power by May, eight months after the Category 4 storm destroyed two-thirds of the island’s power distribution system — and just as the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is about to start.

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Brain surgery is no match for running HUD, a frustrated Carson says

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Image: Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Before Ben Carson accepted President Donald Trump’s offer to become secretary of housing and urban development, a friend implored him to turn down the job to preserve the reputation he had earned as a brilliant neurosurgeon and lost, in part, as a politician.

The confidant, Logan Delany Jr., who was the treasurer of Carson’s 2016 presidential campaign, described HUD as a “swamp” of “corruption.” He predicted in an email that Carson’s “lack of a background in housing” would make him prey to the department’s career staff and political appointees, as well as predatory lobbyists.

To drive home the point, Delany appended a link toan obituary of Samuel R. Pierce Jr., the Reagan-era HUD secretary whose reputation as a trailblazing black corporate lawyer was tarnished by accusations that he steered contracts to Republican cronies.

Carson’s efforts to steer the agency toward programs that foster self-sufficiency, one of his stated goals, have been undermined by staffing mistakes, his indecisiveness and a president indifferent, at best, to the department’s mission of helping the poor, according to two dozen current and former HUD and administration officials

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Stamping Out Hunger…No Stomping on Hunger!!!

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I lived in the woods north of Santa Cruz, CA. for part of the summer in 1978.  The rest of those five or six months (it was California) I either lived on the beaches north of the town or was on the road.  Living was cheap and living was easy.  Mostly, my friends and I had to stay a couple steps ahead of the cops and away from the straight and rich white folks.  We weren’t alone in that.  I lived off of fifty bucks worth of food stamps per month and money I made doing odd jobs.

Image result for food stamps

Image: ABC11

Then it was off to the grocery store and then back to the camp in the woods or on the beach.  Since fifty dollars didn’t really cover a person’s food costs even then (and even though we ate lots of beans, rice, cheese and potatoes), we usually pooled our resources with other folks living in the encampments, conjuring up some dandy meals of the aforementioned foods.  Spices can work wonders, as any cook knows.

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Stockton Mayor Touts Experimental Program That Pays Families $500 a Month

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Stockton plans to give several dozen families $500 a month for a year as part of a program to study the economic and social impacts of giving people a basic income.

The so-called “SEED” project will give a small group of low-income residents a modest, no-strings-attached monthly income. Funded by a million-dollar private grant from a tech group called the Economic Security Project — co-led by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes — SEED creates a real-world research model of what’s known as universal basic income.

The yearlong program will track what residents do with the money and how having a universal basic income affects their self-esteem and identity.

Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs is coordinating the effort in his city of 300,000 people where 1 in 4 residents lives below the poverty line.

“They were looking for a city to pilot what would a ‘basic income’ look like? And what could that do for people’s lives,” the mayor said.

More from CBS San Francisco

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