Sunday, February 18, 2007


From Community Voices Heard: "This report highlights the
findings from discussions with over 700 welfare recipients in HRA’s
Wellness, Comprehensive Assessment, Rehabilitation and Employment
(WeCARE) Program as well as in-depth focus groups, one-on-one interviews
and phone surveys with 100 of those participants. The report explores
how effective HRA’s newest program for individuals with mental and
physical barriers to employment has been in serving this population. It
also makes recommendations on how to improve the implementation of this

In 1996, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work
Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), creating the Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grants and establishing time
limits and stricter work requirements as well as limiting education and
training options for public assistance recipients. Ten years later,
while welfare rolls have dropped nationwide, many people remain in
poverty and those still on welfare are struggling with physical, mental
health and substance abuse barriers which prevent them from working or
attaining full self-sufficiency.

In New York City, one in five people live in poverty and welfare agency
officials estimate that 55.7 percent of the welfare agency’s caseload is
partially or completely unable to work. In early 2005, the New York
City Human Resources Administration (HRA), the city agency that
administers welfare programs, implemented the WeCARE Program to
determine which public assistance recipients and applicants have
multiple and complex barriers to employment and provide them with
specialized services that were not available under HRA’s previous
support and workforce development programs. HRA allocated over $200
million over three years to serve an annual 45,600 public assistance
recipients with potential disabilities. This report is a study of how
the WeCARE Program is supposed to work and whether or not it is
providing the support and specialized services it is designed to deliver
to public assistance recipients with disabilities."

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