Lawmakers Challenged to Help
The Missouri Association for Community Action, or MACA, is trying to get the legislature to help support low wage workers. Some low income workers are having to choose between paying their utility bills and buying food for their families.
MACA hopes legislators will throw taxpayer money at the problem. The organization hopes the aid will move low wage workers toward self-sufficiency.
"It's the old adage of give a person a fish and they'll eat for a day, or teach a person how to fish and they'll eat for a lifetime. When a person is able to achieve that self-sufficiency they no longer have to rely on government assistance and most people feel a whole lot better about themselves when they're not taking assistance," MACA member Ann Graff said.
MACA hopes to increase the amount of affordable housing, provide additional help with utility bills and improve healthcare access for low-income families.
"It's harmful to their dignity to say they need help but the reality is, is that we have people that do not have enough money to pay for just their basic expenses, let alone have anything extra," MACA member Elaine West said.
The plan is in conjunction with the state's Utilicare program which provides funds to aid home heating costs for the poor. MACA wants the state government to help $225,000 people, and 82 percent of those people live below the federal poverty guideline.