Historic MFIP Increase to Take Effect February 2020

Jessica Webster, Legal Services Advocacy Project

Jessica Webster, Legal Services Advocacy Project

For the first time in 33 years, Minnesota’s most vulnerable will see an increase in their Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) benefit. Minnesota was one of 3 states that hadn’t increased its cash assistance benefit to low-income families since 1986 (Oklahoma and Arizona being the others). The historic increase of $100 per month will take effect in February of next year, thanks in part to the long-standing efforts of Jessica Webster and the Legal Services Advocacy Project (LSAP), Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota, other community advocates and bipartisan state legislators.

“Minnesota should reform the program with regular cost-of-living adjustments of 1 or 2% so another couple of decades do not pass without an increase,” said Webster, staff attorney with LSAP.

For more about how Minnesota got here and what is sought for the future, read the full article in the Star Tribune: Minnesota's neediest families to see first MFIP cash increase in 33 years.

Legal Services Advocacy Project Report: The Consequence of Doing Nothing

Jessica Webster, staff attorney, with the Legal Services Advocacy Project (LSAP) has written a powerful new report on the effects of inflation on direct assistance to poor families. Published earlier this month by LSAP, the report shows the devastating consequences of a 30-year delay in increasing cash assistance for MFIP families, and what this erosion has meant for those struggling to meet basic needs. 

For example, in 1986, the $532 grant covered rent and possibly a little bit of transportation money.  Today, $532 does not pay for a habitable fair market rent anywhere in the state.  The report also posits that the opportunity before Minnesota - of raising the grant by $100 per month - while unable to resolve 30 years of stagnation, would be a meaningful step to address this level of poverty.  Read the full report.