Advocacy Day: 2015

We urge legislators to restore the TANF grant to its 2011 level and help families get out of poverty faster. Remove TANF’s lifetime limit, reinstating some of the previously eligible families who either cannot work or cannot find work due to factors beyond their control. Please support HB 1875, which expands allowable vocational education from one year to two years in the TANF program.


  • Refugees need immediate cash assistance to provide for the basic needs of their family, such as food, clothing, and housing
  • Obtaining TANF resources is the first step in a refugee succeeding in America
  • Those who are eligible for TANF are also eligible for other programs such as WorkFirst and State Food Assistance (SFA)


TANFFleeing war and seeking stabilization, Lina Wek, a refugee from South Sudan, came to the Tacoma area over 5 years ago.*

She quickly realized that she needed to find work because even with a working partner the income was just not enough to live on and care for 5 children. Lina received assistance from the State Family Assistance Program, part of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which gave her some income stability while she learned English and gained the skills needed to find a stable job.

Over the course of 5 years, Lina advanced in English classes, obtained her citizenship, and was soon ready to get a job. Last month, Lina landed part time employment with Cascade Park Vista as a housekeeper. Lina is excited about her journey and has been recognized as a model citizen for her hard work and take charge attitude in gaining complete autonomy and agency in matters pertaining to her life.

Lina wouldn’t have been able to make it this far without the help of the State Family Cash Assistance grant under TANF. Lina shared that having extra money helped her pay bills, buy food, and even pay for field trips for her children to help with their cultural immersion. Lina hopes to return to her English studies soon when her work schedule allows, but for now is grateful for her job and for the progress she has made.


TANF recipients are people with very limited means and they need money to provide for their basic needs.


Resources to check out:
Case Study- Washington State Implements Pilots to Promote Self-Sufficiency Among Refugees with Low English Proficiency


*Tacoma Community House is a partner organization on the Refugee and Immigrant Legislative Day