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August 24, 2010
For Immediate Release
Bridge to Benefits reaches out to St. Cloud area to improve community economic stability.
Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Children's Defense Fund (CDF) –Minnesota will host an informational meeting on their Bridge to Benefits project on Tuesday, August 24 at 10:00 a.m. at the Southside Boys and Girls Club in St. Cloud. Bridge to Benefits is a multi-state project that seeks to improve the economic stability of low-income working families and individuals by helping connect them to an array of public work support programs and tax credits.
The project relies on a website (www.bridgetobenefits.org) that includes an online screening tool to help families determine their potential eligibility for an array of public work support programs, including food support, health care, energy assistance, child care assistance, WIC, and school meal programs, as well as two tax credits. The website also includes detailed information on all the programs, instructions on how to apply, downloadable applications and contact information for the administrating agencies. In other words, the website is a one-stop shop for families in need of assistance.
Public work support programs and tax credits were implemented by the state and federal government to help low-income workers meet basic needs. Yet, thousands of eligible Minnesotans aren’t accessing the programs and claiming the tax credits that could provide an economic boost to their families and to the communities in which they live. All the public programs on the Bridge to Benefits site are federally funded, which means that when someone in Minnesota enrolls in a program, federal dollars flow into the state. These programs can mean hundreds of millions of dollars to local grocery stores, clinics, day care providers and utility companies in Minnesota. In these trying economic times, CDF–Minnesota is trying to ensure more economic stability for Minnesota families and communities by raising awareness and participation in these programs that can benefit so many.
In 2009 more than 9,000 screens were completed across the state on the Bridge to Benefits website and of the families screened, 94 percent were eligible and interested in at least one of the programs. Organizations that work with low-income families and community members who are interested in learning more about how to use the Bridge to Benefits tool to have an economic impact on the St. Cloud area are invited to attend the informational session on August 24 in the RJ Sullivan Room at the Southside Boys and Girls Club, The event is free and sponsored in conjunction with St. Cloud Area Legal Services and the United Way of Central Minnesota.
Elaine Cunningham, Outreach Director