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August 1, 2019

Dear Members of the General Assembly,

Thank you for again sharing your concerns for the Pennsylvanians who are affected by the loss of
General Assistance (GA). Since reinstating General Assistance last year, I have repeatedly advocated for its
funding and continuance and I continue to do everything in my power to help the recipients of the program.
Further, my staff and agency personnel have been in near constant contact with many of you regarding the
end of the program.

Over the last month, our agencies have coordinated with social service agencies to help the
approximately 11,000 people affected by the legislature eliminating general assistance. While we have
specific limitations to the amount of data we can share based on state and federal law, we have worked
closely with partners to ensure that accurate and helpful information is reaching recipients of General
Assistance. To the best of our ability, we are connecting people with available resources and making the
nonprofit community aware of the potential for increased need. PA 2-1-1 is available as a resource for people
affected. Although cash assistance is not available from community-based organizations, 2-1-1 can connect
people to services that may be able to help people meet basic needs such as food and housing. The
Department of Human Services and my administration as a team will continue these efforts and help to make
sure we assist all Pennsylvanians to the best of our ability.

Under the circumstances, a Disaster Declaration would not have an effect beyond the work we are
already doing. A Disaster Declaration cannot be used to create new appropriations or fund programs that
have been eliminated by law. We cannot provide additional information to third parties about the recipients,
and we do not have a mechanism to extend non-appropriated funding to this population. Commonwealth
agencies are already focusing on coordination and collaboration to provide relief to these citizens. The
Department of Human Services will be reaching out to all members in the coming days to offer a webinar for
interested members and staff on identifying reputable organizations and resources in your districts.

We understand the frustration and concern that Act 12 has caused, and we will continue to explore
every avenue to help General Assistance recipients, and all Pennsylvanians. I look forward to working with
you in the coming months on efforts to not only protect vulnerable populations, but also those that fix our
schools, invest in our infrastructure, help the working class, and reduce healthcare costs for all



225 Main Capitol Building | Harrisburg, PA 17120 | 717.787.2500 | Fax 717.772.8284 |

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