State needs to help strapped residents
In light of the health and economic burden the pandemic places on Blair County, it is the right time to consider a call for the reinstatement of state-level general assistance.
We would all like to see the economy get back on its feet. However, even if our county was able to open up immediately, it will take time, and unemployment will remain high for an undetermined amount of time.
This leaves those whose unemployment runs out, and those who don’t qualify, without any support if they are caring for children in their custody who are not their own.
With over 23% of the Altoona area living in poverty, general assistance would provide immediate relief. It would also help inject money into our local economy.
Research has evidenced the effect of cash assistance, and lack of cash, on residents. Lack of cash results in lack of cognition and long-term planning, leading to increased likelihood of continued poverty. Increased cash flow demonstrated increased levels of health and education with no drop in employment status.
The pandemic shows how volatile our economic lives can be. Let us provide some insurance for those that are the worst off.
It could be any of us sooner or later.
(The writer is a student at Edinboro University.)