The U.S. Conference of Mayors


WHEREAS, many existing federal government programs intended to help low-income individuals and families reach economic self-sufficiency are not easily accessible or understandable to the populations that could benefit from them; and

WHEREAS, many existing federal government programs intended to help low-income individuals and families reach economic self-sufficiency are not compatible with one another because they are administered by many different federal agencies and have significant differences in eligibility and enrollment processes; and

WHEREAS, the rules governing many federal programs require that individuals receiving benefits are no longer eligible for those benefits when their household income increases even modestly; and

WHEREAS, the nation's poverty system has not kept pace with the latest developments in technology and, as a result, low-income citizens stand in line at counters to receive benefits while the rest of the world is moving faster with new technology; and

WHEREAS, many of the discretionary federal programs intended to help families and individuals achieve self-sufficiency are able to help only a very small portion of those who are eligible to receive them, and many of the entitlement programs intended to assist these same people provide very low benefit levels; and

WHEREAS, there is a widening income gap despite government programs which are helping low-income families lift themselves above the poverty line, and many more low-income families are falling further behind, while the nation's top earners are gaining a larger share of total income; and

WHEREAS, estimates by the Congressional Budget Office indicate that $11 billion in child support payments will go uncollected over the next 10 years as a result of cuts to child support enforcement funding included in the Deficit Reduction Act, including elimination of the federal match on performance-based incentive funds and reduction of the federal match on paternity testing,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the federal government to provide ample funding for existing programs benefiting low-income families; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors calls on the federal government to: Ensure that low-income populations can easily access the tools they need to reach economic self-sufficiency; Streamline and simplify programs to enable more of those who are eligible for them to effectively and efficiently take advantage of them; Adopt standard, complementary eligibility guidelines for income support programs, and ensure that government anti-poverty programs are broad enough to include middle class families at risk of slipping into poverty; Reinvent the delivery mechanisms for the nation's income support programs by using the latest technology and new systems to reach low-income families, and ensure that they receive the full spectrum of benefits for which they are eligible; Make resources available for coordinated and expanded outreach efforts which connect families to the work supports that they are eligible to receive, including the EITC, food stamps, Medicaid, energy assistance, and childcare assistance, through robust community-based centers; Restore federal funding for child support enforcement, including the match for performance-based incentive funds;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,that the Conference of Mayors further urges that federal policies be revised to encourage upward mobility without the threat of withdrawal of services when a modest increase in household income occurs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all levels of government and the private sector identify opportunities to develop collaborative solutions for targeting and serving low-income populations;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Mayors compile, exchange and implement best local practices.

2007 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352