But at the Women’s Resource Center, Executive Director Sharon Caldwell-Newton predicts it will only hurt the most vulnerable. The nonprofit agency helps low-income women with employment preparation and career planning through connections to local employers.
“You make these kind of cuts and you are putting women into poverty, and you are taking the children right along with them,” she said. “I don’t think there’s an argument about the need to break the cycle of poverty. The question is, if you eliminate the safety net, how is that breaking the cycle of poverty?
“These women will still be poor. Those children will still be poor, but they will be in much more distress than they are in now.”
Caldwell-Newton conceded some recipients can be comfortable staying on cash assistance.
“But our experience at the center is that that is a very, very small percentage. Most of them are very motivated to make a better life, not only for themselves but especially for their kids.”
But she said many recipients are hindered by a lack of education needed for higher-paying jobs, lack of transportation or other handicaps. On top of that, West Michigan’s economy continues to sputter, with unemployment near 10 percent in Kent County.www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/01/advocate_republicans_vow_to_en.html