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Helping Families Help Themselves


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This week, a member of my staff met with a woman who, like many Americans, has been laid-off and unemployed for several months. But with the help of a federal program, she developed a goal list: find a job, finish school, reduce personal debt, start a savings account and own a home. After six months in the program, she has been able to find a new job, is only four credits away from receiving her Associate's Degree and has started a savings account.

Throughout this tumultuous time, she was able to stay in her apartment and her children were able to stay in their same school. Two of her children are on the Principal's Honor Roll. Without the stability and assistance of the program, called the Family Self-Sufficiency Program, she told us she could have been homeless, her children uprooted and her financial future derailed.

Stories like this remind us that the budget debate -- often had in impersonal terms like "line item" and "appropriations" -- has a real and lasting impact on people and families. I have supported the Family Self-Sufficiency program and will continue to do so as Congress identifies its priorities for the upcoming budget year. By helping Marylanders and Americans achieve financial independence, we will create more taxpaying citizens that can contribute to the economies of their community, state and country.

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