10/04/2012 10:21 am ET

D.C. TANF Redesign Presents Challenges For City, Recipients

Street Sense

By Mary Otto
Street Sense

Past the crowd waiting at the metal detector and the laminated signs pointing to disability assistance and burial assistance, up on the fifth floor of the city Department of Human Services offices on H Street NE, there is a meeting going on.

It’s a TEP meeting. The short acronym encapsulates a very tall order.

The men and women hunched in the chairs are TANF Employment Providers, with TANF standing for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, commonly known as welfare.

They are the cadre of vendors hired by the city to move thousands of District’s welfare recipients into work as part of an ambitious TANF redesign program.

Many of the city's 17,700 beneficiaries have been getting checks for years. But time is running out for them. A year ago, the District of Columbia implemented a 60-month time limit on welfare benefits.

More than 6,000 families who had been on the roles for more than five years saw their monthly stipends cut.

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