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9. GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE

MAJOR FINDING: In the 12 months prior to entering Cook County Jail, 29 percent of women had been cut off from, or had an application denied for, government assistance.

Of the women surveyed, 38 percent reported having received some form of benefits or cash assistance from the government. The most common forms of assistance were food stamps, medicaid, SSI, and TANF.

  • 69 percent said they received food stamps.

  • 59 percent said they had received medicaid.

  • 34 percent said they received SSI disability assistance.

  • 34 percent said they received cash assistance from

TANF.

ASSISTANCE WITH HOUSING

Of all women surveyed, 54 percent stated they were homeless in the 30 days prior to entering Cook County Jail, but only 10 percent reported ever receiving Section 8 housing assistance vouchers.

BENEFITS DENIED

Twenty-nine percent of women said they had been cut off from, or had an application denied for, government assistance in the 12 months prior to entering jail. Of those:

  • 50 percent were cut off from food stamps.

  • 34 percent from medicaid.

  • 33 percent from TANF.

  • 19 percent from other forms of public assistance.

  • 15 percent from SSI.

  • 10 percent from unemployment benefits.

Top Reason for Being Cut Off: Missed Appointment Women were asked in their own words to describe why they had been cut off from or denied government assis- tance. Although the reasons varied, the most common given were missing appointments with a caseworker and detention in jail.

10. SOURCES OF INCOME

Regardless of employment status, many women patched together a variety of income sources to make ends meet. The most common sources reported were drug dealing and prostitution.

Chart 19: EMPLOYMENT STATUS AND OTHER SOURCES OF INCOME

Employment status in 30 days prior to entering jail

Full Time

13%

26%

Part Time

25%

35%

Not Employed

30%

39%

Key:

Drug dealing

Prostitution

Other sources of income for all women surveyed, regard- less of employment status, were family or friends (33%), some form of government assistance (38%), shoplifting or theft (20%), and panhandling (13%).

Photo by Anice Schervish

CHICAGO COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS 13

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