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March 27, 2019

To the Members of the Pennsylvania Legislature:

As organizations that serve communities across the Commonwealth, we urge you to vote against
House Bill 33, which would eliminate General Assistance (GA) in Pennsylvania, and to ensure
continued funding for GA in the 2019-20 Budget.

General Assistance is a targeted program that provides a small amount of cash support - about $200
per month - to a small, targeted population of Pennsylvanians in need of immediate, temporary help.
 This support goes only to specific populations; the vast majority of of GA recipients are people with
disabilities, and the remainder are people facing domestic violence, children being cared for by
friends or neighbors, and people being treated for drug or alcohol use disorder.  

GA functions like a short-term loan for many recipients.  It serves as a bridge to a more stable income
for people with serious disabilities who are waiting two years or longer to qualify for Social Security
disability benefits.  GA recipients who qualify for Social Security benefits must reimburse
Pennsylvania for the GA they received while waiting to qualify.

GA is also a critical tool for combatting the opioid crisis facing our state.  It provides short-term
assistance for adults in full-time substance abuse treatment.

While it only provides a small amount of assistance, the GA benefit often makes the difference
between homelessness and being able to rent a room. Our clients also use GA for Medicaid
prescription copayments, deodorant, toilet paper, trips to the laundromat, or winter coats.  

GA is a good deal for taxpayers.  It is a direct investment in local economies:  recipients spend the
benefit in their immediate communities right away, at local grocery stores, pharmacies, and
laundromats. And the limited benefit is far more cost-effective than forcing counties to shoulder the
costs of homelessness.

Over the coming weeks or months, the General Assembly will consider a bill to eliminate GA, House
Bill 33.  The General Assembly will also debate ongoing funding for GA in the 2019-20 Budget. On
behalf of the clients and constituents we serve, we urge you to protect GA and the Pennsylvanians it

Thank you for your consideration.

The Undersigned Organizations (see next page)

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Wolff, Pennsylvania Health Access Network
Phone: 717-969-3000 x704
ACT UP Philadelphia Germantown Life Enrichment Center
Action Wellness Gibson Foundation Resource Center
Adagio Health Global Women’s Strike of Philadelphia
Allegheny Valley Association of Churches Good Shepherd Program
Allentown Women's Center Health Committee for Persons with Disabilities
Allied Associates in Mental Health, of the Consumer Health Coalition
Anna's Place: A Franciscan Hospitality Center Health Federation of Philadelphia
Beth Israel Congregation of Chester County Health, Education and Legal assistance Project:
Blue Mountain Lotus Society A Medical-Legal Partnership
Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia HIAS PA
Brashear Association Hispanic Community Counseling Services
Broad Street Ministry Homeless Advocacy Project
Bryn Mawr Peace Coalition HopeWorx
Bucks County Women's Advocacy Coalition Horizon House
Career Wardrobe Hunger-Free Pennsylvania
Children's Crisis Treatment Center IFA (Insight For All)
Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests Indivisible Berks
of the Elderly (CARIE) Intercultural Family Services
Center for the Empowerment of Women Interim House
Center in the Park Jewish Family & Children's Service
Chester County Food Bank Jewish Family and Community Services
Clinton County Women's Center, Inc. Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia
CLUW of Southwestern PA Jewish Social Policy Action Network
Coalition Against Hunger Joy of Living Recovery Program
Coalition for Low Income Pennsylvanians Just Harvest
COMHAR Justice & Advocacy Committee of the Lehigh
Community Advocates of Montgomery County Conference of Churches
Community Justice Project Juvenile Law Center
Community Legal Services of Philadelphia Kaleidoscope Family Solutions
Congregation Adath Jeshurun Keep It Green - York
CORA Services, Inc. Keystone Research Center
Cumberland County Homeless Assistance Keystone Service Systems Mental Health
Program Kirkbride Center
Dawn's Place Legal Clinic for the Disabled
Disability Options Network Liberty Resources, Inc.
Disability Rights Pennsylvania Linda Creed Breast Cancer Organization
Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania
Organization of Pennsylvania Lutheran Settlement House
Einstein Healthcare Network Manna on Main Street
Every Mother is a Working Mother Network Maternity Care Coalition
Face to Face Mazzoni Center
Familylinks Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Wolff, Pennsylvania Health Access Network
Phone: 717-969-3000 x704
Mental Health Partnerships Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
NAMI Keystone PA Resources For Human Development Inc
NAMI Montgomery County PA RHD/Family Practice & Counseling Network
National Council of Jewish Women - PA Safe Berks
Nationalities Service Center SEAMAAC
NET Centers Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest
New Bethany Ministries Pennsylvania
New Directions Support Group SEIU Local 668
New Life Bread Basket Silver Springs - Martin Luther School
New Voices for Reproductive Justice Social Justice Indivisible
NOAH: New Options for Affordable Housing Southwest CDC
North Central PA ADAPT Southwest PA National Organization for Women
PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry
PA Coalition Against Rape Step By Step
PA Health Funders Collaborative Success Against All Odds
PA Prison Society Supportive Behavioral Resources, Inc.
PA Statewide Independent Living Council The Alliance of Community Service Providers
PARR The Consortium, Inc.
Partners For Progress SWPA The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania/
PATH PRO-ACT Advocacy Leadership
PathWays PA The Men's Center
Pathways to Housing PA The Welcome Church
Payday Men's Network of Philadelphia UESF
Pembroke Philanthropy Advisors Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative
Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans Advocacy Network
Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Center United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Council of Churches Urstorytellers Foundation
Pennsylvania Health Access Network Voice of Westmoreland
Pennsylvania Together Weisbord and Weisbord PC
Philadelphia Jobs With Justice Westmoreland County Food Bank, Inc.
Philadelphia Unemployment Project Women & Girls Foundation
Philly ADAPT Women Against Abuse
Phoenix Rising Counseling Services Women In Transition
Pittsburgh Food Policy Council Women of Color Global Women's Strike
Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates Women's Center of Beaver County
POWER Women's Law Project
Progressive Democrats of America Pennsylvania Women's Medical Fund
Project HOME
Public Interest Law Center
Put People First! PA
Quality Community Health Care, Inc.

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Wolff, Pennsylvania Health Access Network
Phone: 717-969-3000 x704