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Pathway to Prosperity

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Public Report on Pathways Toward Prosperity and Well-Being Program led by Olmsted County Community Services
Last modified: April 12, 2019




State lawmakers are being asked to provide $1 million in hopes of putting single parents and their children on a new path out of poverty this summer.



PB Reporting

State lawmakers are being asked to provide $1 million in hopes of putting single parents and their children on a new path out of poverty this summer.

The Pathways to Prosperity and Wellness pilot program will begin rolling out in July with the eventual goal of including 100 families in Olmsted and Dakota counties.

The goal of the pilot program is to test whether the counties can see improved outcomes for families in poverty by using a different approach, part of which is adding flexibility to benefits received through various state and federal programs.

Each program comes with regulations and limits that can hamper success.

As an example, Fleissner points to a single parent who might rely on daycare assistance to be able to work. Program rules limit funding based on income.



“When you get to about $19 an hour, which is really not a livable wage in either Dakota or Olmsted County, you start to lose $7 for every dollar you earn if you get a raise,” he said, noting the result is a reluctance to want to improve in the workforce.

“We have families turn down raises all the time,” he said.

At the same time, Fleissner said, the parent might be eligible for other benefits that aren’t needed, due to the unique circumstances that face any family. Those benefits, whether for housing, food or other basic needs, can’t be tapped for childcare or other uses without triggering violations of state or federal regulations.

That’s where the $1 million state request comes in.

It would be the start of a fund to provide flexible benefits. Another $2.8 million is expected to come from private foundations.

“We’ve had several foundations interested in funding the rest,” Fleissner recently told members of the Minnesota House’s Health and Human Services Finance Committee, noting that the state funds would not be spent until the private funds are raised.

The $3.8 million is key, because it is the amount that would be available to 100 families through existing state and federal programs.






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