EarnBenefits: Helping Memphis Families Make Ends Meet

When families with young children can count on a steady income, they are better able to support their children’s early brain development. This is a particular issue as unemployment rates hover around 10 percent in our Memphis community. Potential stresses such as poverty have many negative effects on the early cognitive development of our younges citizens.

The Memphis EarnBenefits Program is an initiative supported by Seedco, a national nonprofit organization that works with local partners to create economic opportunities for disadvantaged job seekers, low-wage workers, and neighborhood entrepreneurs. The aim of the program is to help low-income individuals enter the workforce and advance in their careers. EarnBenefits is implemented through partnerships with employers, faith and community-based organizations, government agencies and foundations. There are EarnBenefits Counselors at community organizations throughout Memphis that can help figure out which benefits are most helpful to families in need.

Because caring for a family and young children especially, can be very expensive, there are multiple programs that can help. With the proper economic, educational and nutritional resources, our youngest children can achieve optimal brain development. Healthy and nourishing conditions are essential to counter the many negative effects poverty can have on children. The following programs offer specialized services for child care, education and nutrition to families with children:

  • Temporary Cash Assistance - cash assistance to help make ends meet
  • Child Care Subsidy Program - help paying for child care
  • Early Head Start- education and childcare program for pregnant women, and children to age 3
  • Head start - education and childcare for children ages 3-5
  • Families First - help families going though financial difficulties
  • Transitional Child Care - childcare subsidies for people leaving Families First
  • WIC - supplemental nutritional program for pregnant women, infants and children

Other programs available to Memphis families without children include:

  • Ways to Work - low interest loans for families for needed assets
  • Child Support Payment Incentive Program - reduction in child support debt
  • Unemployment insurance - temporary income for eligible workers

THE TAKE AWAY:  As Memphis suffers from 10% unemployment, families with young children are increasingly likely to live in poverty. It is important that local families are aware of the multiple resources that are available to them. EarnBenefits provides a wide array of assistance, from educational programs to supplemental nutrition to employment services. By helping low income families in times of need, EarnBenefits is helping to reinforce the importance of early cognitive development, and ultimately, the well being of our youngest children. For more information, see http://memphis.earnbenefits.org/page.php?pageID=539.