Social Services

How One County Helps Low-Income Homeowners Rehab Their Houses

James City County, Virginia tapped federal housing dollars to fund repairs and rebuilding projects that make homes safe and habitable. "Nothing is more affordable than the house you already have," notes a local official.

Federal Support Has Shored up Nonprofits During the Coronavirus Pandemic, But Many Groups Are Still Struggling

COMMENTARY | Organizations that work in areas ranging from social services to arts and culture have had to scale back their operations and cut staff because of inadequate funding.

What the Rise of Digital Handouts on Venmo and Cash App Says about Our Fraying Social Safety Net

COMMENTARY | There's an uptick of people tuning to Twitter, Instagram and TikTok to ask for financial support during the pandemic.

County Program Offers Grants to Help People Pay for Funerals

Residents in Maricopa County, Arizona, can apply for up to $1,200 toward funeral expenses if they've lost a loved one and also suffered financial losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

City Provides Grants to Help Domestic Violence Survivors Move

The pilot program, a collaboration between the New York City mayor's office and a nonprofit service provider, will help survivors with housing and other emergency needs.

One State Offers Free Calls to Check on Seniors

The Maryland Department of Aging launched the program in January, but retooled and reemphasized it as coronavirus began to spread across the state.

COVID-19 Put Her Husband in the ICU. She Had to Be Hospitalized Next. The State Demanded to Know: Who Would Care for Their Children?

When Laura Whalen went to a hospital with COVID-19, she brought her kids. Her husband was already in an ICU, and she couldn’t risk them exposing their grandma. But the state told her to find someone to take them or it would.

Stay-At-Home Orders Can Be Dangerous for Victims of Domestic Violence. But Help Is Still Available.

Roughly half of agencies providing help to victims of domestic violence are closed during the coronavirus outbreak, but many have transitioned to virtual or phone services.

Fixing Backlogs: An Essential Skill for Leaders in a Crisis

COMMENTARY | As demand for public services skyrockets in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, public officials need to work now to eliminate the bottlenecks and expand capacity and efficiency.

How Food Stamps Can Help People During Hard Economic Times Like These

COMMENTARY | The SNAP food aid program helps low-income families put food on the table and injects money straight into struggling local economies. It will be critical throughout the crisis the coronavirus is stoking.

Cities Rush to Respond as Homelessness and Coronavirus Collide

Homeless people are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. Cities are working to implement protective measures, often with no idea how they'll pay for it.

Cities, States Halt Evictions During Coronavirus Pandemic

Growing numbers of cities and states are pausing evictions to help workers who've lost income during the coronavirus outbreak.

‘Public Charge’ Rule Targeting Immigrants Takes Effect

Prospective immigrants seeking green cards will be subject to new scrutiny of their wealth and possible reliance on public benefits under a new immigration rule authored by the Trump administration.

Facing a Foster Care Crisis, One State Seeks to Increase Payments to Foster Parents

A proposal in the West Virginia Legislature would increase monthly payments to foster parents, pay child-placing agencies for finalized adoptions and create a foster parent's bill of rights.

When Bigger Is Better

COMMENTARY | Validating public policy outcomes is critical, but so is building on the evidence. A new study looks at what’s needed to expand successful programs.

Behind on Child Support? In Some States that Means No Fishing or Hunting

A proposal in Utah would prevent certain people from obtaining hunting or fishing permits if they're behind on child support. Similar policies have been adopted by other states.

One of the Largest U.S. Library Systems Just Eliminated Late Fees

The Los Angeles Public Library will eliminate fees for overdue items this spring, joining a growing number of library systems that have identified fines as barriers to access for low-income residents.

The Ripple Effects of Taking SNAP Benefits From One Person

A new Trump-administration rule will cut food assistance for nearly 700,000 Americans, also affecting many of their relatives and housemates.

A Foster Care and Adoption Shift in a Southern State

Louisiana refocused its efforts on foster care and adoption four years ago. Today, adoption rates are up, particularly among sibling groups and older teens.

Almost 700,000 to Lose Food Stamp Benefits Under Finalized Trump Administration Rule

A new USDA rule, one of several that has been under consideration, would make it more difficult for states to obtain work requirement waivers for the federal food stamp program.