Honolulu Advertiser, December 28, 2007: Welfare recipients finding work

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Advertiser Staff

The number of Hawai’i welfare clients who have jobs increased by nearly 34 percent, while the number of clients who are not working decreased by 29 percent for the federal fiscal year 2007, according to data released by the state Department of Human Services.

During the same period, from Oct. 1, 2006, to Sept. 30, 2007, the number of clients who work 40 or more hours per week increased nearly 100 percent, according to DHS data.

DHS Director Lillian Koller said the statistics show that the agency is making progress in helping welfare clients find jobs and increase their hours of employment.

DHS compiled the employment statistics as part of an initiative launched in 2006 to track numerous performance measures at the agency’s 10 First-to-Work units across the state.

“The pathway out of poverty is through employment, preferably full-time employment, and all our First-To-Work units are making significant progress in this regard,” Koller said in a news release.

Clients need to transition from welfare into the workforce as soon as possible because there is a five-year lifetime cap on receiving federal benefits through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, Koller said.

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