Pennsylvanians affected by end of assistance program make plea to lawmakers to bring it back

Justin Udo
August 11, 2019 - 1:16 pm
Pennsylvania Capitol Building in Harrisburg.

Bodhichita/Getty Images

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The end of a government assistance program in Pennsylvania is hurting many throughout the commonwealth while also taking a toll on an organization who helps those who lost their benefits.

The General Assistance program for low-income Pennsylvanians officially ended about two weeks ago after the state voted to shut it down.

For Gregory Jakes, who was one of about 10,000 Pennsylvanians who received $200 a month through the program, this leaves him in a difficult situation as he already struggles to find food and housing. 

The end of the program is putting him in even more of a tough spot.

"It affects me a lot financially. It affects my food, to buy my clothes, get my deodorant, my lotion." 

"This is going to affect a lot of people, this is going to hurt people," said Brian Jenkins, executive director of the Chosen 300 Ministries, an organization that provides help to the homeless and less fortunate.

Jenkins says since the end of General Assistance, they're seeing a lot more people like Jakes.

"It's also affecting our organization. Our numbers are going through the roof," he added. 

Related: Advocates file suit to save cash assistance for low-income Pennsylvanians

Jakes says even though a court rejected a request to extend the program, he hopes lawmakers can do something to bring it back.

"We need assistance. It's a fact we need assistance."

General Assistance was for people with disabilities, domestic abuse victims and others who have no source of outside income.