Last week The General Assistance cash grant program that had been in operation in Harrisburg ever since The Great Depression came to an end due, of course, not surprisingly, to a lack of funding. This is going to be a huge issue for the approximately 70,000 elderly Pennsylvanians who have been receiving around $200 a month. These include: the elderly; victims of domestic violence; disabled; etc.
I was actually hoping it wouldn’t come to this. A friend of mine is one of the recipients – he has a lot going on – and he told me that it had been continuing these last few weeks even though it was meant to end at the beginning of July. But he just got the official letter that it’s now ending. I don’t know what he’s going to do; he – along with the other thousands who were receiving the money – really relied on it.
We shouldn’t really be so surprised though. A vast majority of social service programs have been cut back or eliminated. Now the question is, how will these people be protected from really going under? What is going to happen? According to DPW spokeswoman Carey Miller, the next address for them will be their caseworkers for each case to be evaluated on an individual basis. There could also be food stamps and access to medical assistance to cushion the blow as well. Whatever happens, I seriously hope the city and the Mayor have thought this through properly.