Minnesota House of Representatives
Minnesota House Looks to Update Minnesota Family Investment Program
ST. PAUL, MN – Today, House DFLers presented a package of bills in the Health and Human Services committee to provide support for Minnesota’s only program that serves low-income families with children and pregnant women. The proposals would update the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), which helps 91,000 families with children meet their basic needs and find and keep a job every month. The cash portion of MFIP assistance has not been increased since 1986.
Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein is the chief author of legislation to increase the transitional standard for families of all sizes by $50 each year through 2022, and by two percent each subsequent year (H.F.799); to increase general assistance cash grants to account for inflation (H.F. 309); and to remove some monetary penalties and sanctions that have significant consequences when families make a simple paperwork mistake or miss an appointment (H.F.522).
“In 1996 I depended on this program to get by, and it simply wasn’t enough to cover my costs while I transitioned to work,” said Rep. Kunesh-Podein. “That was 23 years ago. If it wasn’t enough then, it certainly isn’t now. This legislation will lift up Minnesota families who are trying to improve their lives by looking for work or going to school.”
Representative Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul) is the chief author of legislation to increase MFIP grants by $300/month (H.F. 1272).
“The Minnesota Family Investment Program grants provide an economic lifeline that thousands of Minnesotans rely on,” said Representative Hausman. “It’s a staggering thought that we are marking the 10th anniversary of the legislative commission to end poverty by 2020, and we have yet to make significant progress. The families who depend on these grants cannot afford another session without action.”
“For over 30 years this program hasn’t changed, while the cost of living has increased dramatically,” said Rep. Mohamud Noor, who administered MFIP benefits when he worked at Hennepin County. “These are individuals who need a little bit of help at this point in their lives. This is an investment to help them reach self-sufficiency.”