For More Information:
William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000 firstname.lastname@example.org
March 31, 1999
Announces County Safety Net Participation at Impressive Level
Poughkeepsie, NY - Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus announced that the Safety Net program of the Dutchess County Department of Social Services has continually exceeded the quotas mandated by the state. "If we were not meeting the state mandated quotas we would be subject to fiscal sanctions and not receive our 50% reimbursement," said County Executive Steinhaus. "We now have a participation rate of 127.6 %, far exceeding the minimum required rate of 90%."
The Safety Net program is frequently referred to as part of the Welfare to Work initiative. This program focuses on out-of-work adults with no children. Safety Net provides assistance with rent, living expenses and work related activities.
"What the Safety Net program at the state level expects from the counties is that we move people on assistance into work related activities, and eventually into jobs," Steinhaus said. "Our county Department of Social Services helps these individuals get into training programs and gain work experience. They have been extremely efficient at moving people off assistance because our caseload in now only half of what it was in 1994." English-as-a-Second-Language courses, literacy courses and even enrollment into Dutchess Community College are examples of training activities or job readiness programs. Work related activities are those activities that help individuals receiving financial assistance gain work experience. "If a person is receiving $400 a month in assistance, then this person may be asked to answer the phones at the local library for forty hours a month," said Bob Allers, Commissioner of Social Services. "We will expect that person to report to work on time and on a regular basis. As in any job, if the person doesn't perform they can jeopardize their eligibility for assistance."
Dutchess County's participation rates have grown since the last Public Assistance Employment Program Household Monthly Interim Report, when its participation was at 115.2%. "We count each adult couple only once in our base report when they receive public assistance," Steinhaus said. "But if we get both individuals into work related activities, then we count both individuals in our participation rate. This is how we end up with a percentage over 100." In January of 1992 the county's Safety Net caseload was 1376. By January of 1999 the caseload had dropped to 425.
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