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Poverty-ville at MN state capitol

By staff

Members of Welfare Rights Committee demand increase in welfare grants.

St. Paul, MN – Members of the Welfare Rights Committee and supporters brought dozens of cardboard boxes into the capitol rotunda here, April 15, to construct a ‘Poverty-ville.’ The homeless village was a warning to the ruling Democrats that, if they carried through with their current budget cuts to health and human services, they would be adding to the homelessness caused by the economic crisis. They called on the Democrats to increase the welfare grants.

This year, the Welfare Rights Committee (WRC) has a bill to increase the welfare cash grants. Those grants have not been increased since 1986 – 27 years ago. After a continuous high-power pressure campaign at the capitol, there is a version of the WRC grant increase bill in current house and the senate budget proposals.

The WRC statement notes, “Despite the fact there will likely be tax increase on the rich, there is no talk of helping the poor. The DFL [Minnesota’s Democrat party] appears to be carrying on the Republicans’ history. Both the House and the Senate budget targets cut over $150 million from an already devastated Health and Human Services budget.”

If Minnesota welfare grants had kept up with the cost of living since 1986, they would be double what they are now. “The grant increases in the house and senate proposals are not enough,” said the WRC’s Linden Gawboy. “We are glad they are doing something, but we need a substantial increase this year, and we won’t give up fighting for that until the session is over. 27 years is too long. The welfare grants must be increased now.”

For more on the battle to “Raise the Grants!” go to

Poverty-ville in the rotunda of MN state capitol

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