The Senate Human Services Reform Committee heard a presentation this week on our state’s Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP). This program serves some of our lowest-income families with children. Parents are expected to work, and the state provides cash and food assistance to help families meet their basic needs. About 27,000 families and 55,000 children in Minnesota rely on temporary help from MFIP while they seek financial stability through employment. Families participating have had very little access to COVID-19 relief as they are not eligible for unemployment insurance and many did not receive the federal government’s COVID-19 stimulus relief checks.
The Legislature had several opportunities last year to pass a one-time, $500 payment for these families using existing federal money, but each attempt was blocked by Republicans in the Senate. We have the federal money through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant to make this a reality. COVID-19 continues to hit our working families the hardest, these emergency funds could make a significant difference in making sure children stay housed and have food on their table. DFLers in the House and Senate will continue to prioritize investing in our working families, and we are hopeful Senate Republicans move forward on this critical issue.