Off the Grid: Federal aid that fails to reach our poorest families

Source: Greg Jaffe, Washington Post (Paid Registration)

llinois law prohibited winter utility cutoffs for nonpayment, but Shawna knew that the disconnections would start again soon, and she knew that she would likely be at the top of the power company’s list. “I’ve got a $4,000 light bill that I have no flipping idea how I’m going to pay,” she said. “As soon as it gets warm, we’re going to get shut off.”

Today, the federal government is in the midst of one of the biggest expansions of the social safety net in U.S. history, committing $5 trillion over the last year to keeping American families afloat. President Biden predicted the flood of aid could cut child poverty in half. And yet for all its successes, the trillions in aid have often failed to reach the poorest Americans in places like the south end of Peoria.

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