Roughly 17,000 Colorado families enrolled Colorado’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program could soon get a little more cash to meet their basic needs. Since the last increase in cash assistance occurred almost a decade ago, Colorado has become one of the most expensive states to live and raise children.

On June 1, the Colorado State Human Services Board tentatively moved to proceed with a proposal to raise basic cash assistance for participants in Colorado Works, Colorado’s TANF program. Currently, a Coloradan with two children only receives $462 per month in assistance, an amount barely enough to cover food and hygiene products, let alone rent.

One participant of the program, Antoinette Weed of Denver, said she uses the cash assistance to defray the costs of rent, electricity, hygienic products and transportation for herself and her two boys, ages 9 and 5. Currently, Antoinette is enrolled in Center for Work Education and Employment, a nonprofit organization that helps low-income family gain the skills and education needed to transition off public assistance and gain long-term employment.

But while Colorado Works and the Center for Work Education and Employment are giving Antoinette the skills needed to find better job, the cash assistance she gets from Colorado Works barely keep Antoinette and her family afloat.

“I have nothing after groceries, day care, and all my other monthly expenses,” she said.

Antoinette is not alone. For the roughly 17,000 Colorado families enrolled in TANF, making ends meet while they strive to reenter the workforce is a constant struggle — and it gets tougher every year.

If given final approval by the board during its July 6 meeting, TANF recipients will receive 10 percent increase in basic cash assistance — providing an additional $46 per month for a three-person family like Antoinette’s. Those additional funds

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