SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Huge new aid programs are beating back poverty in the Golden State, especially among families with children.
Gov. Gavin Newsom just signed a raft of budget bills, that included another $640 by the end of the month for CalWORKS families, on top of the $600 payments already sent to those in the CalWORKS and Supplemental Security Income programs, and three rounds of federal stimulus payments.
Mike Herald, director of policy advocacy for the Western Center on Law and Poverty, said the supports are a boost to parents who lost jobs during the pandemic.
“We are really lifting up a lot of low-income families,” Herald remarked. “They’re getting real financial assistance in the $5,000-$7,000 range, and really, believe me, it’s going to make a big difference in people’s lives.”
The California Comeback Plan, as Newsom calls it, also puts $5.2 billion toward rental assistance, so families can apply to get all their back rent paid, and even get a few months ahead.
Last week, parents started receiving payments of up to $300 a month per child, as part of the Biden administration’s expanded federal Child Tax Credit.
Herald said because funds are going out monthly, instead of all coming at tax time, it is a game changer.
“This will help to really provide more financial stability,” Herald asserted. “They’re going to have more money every month in their accounts, to be able to pay bills and put food on the table. And this is something that advocates have wanted for a long time.”
And the help for children doesn’t stop there. California has also added 100,000 new slots to the state-funded childcare program and raised what it pays child-care operators, to encourage more of them to reopen as the pandemic subsides. The budget also includes a significant funding increase for K-through-12 schools.