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Gov. Jan Brewer orders DES to direct $650K to needy families

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer ordered the Arizona Department of Economic Services on Monday to transfer $650,000 of its budget to support a federal program for needy families that has been closed because of the government shutdown.

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families has not received funding since the federal government shutdown more than one week ago.

“Since the initial threat of a federal government shutdown, my primary concern has been how critical federal programs aimed at assisting Arizona’s most vulnerable families would be impacted, and whether the state could afford the costs to cover until the deadlock in DC ended,” Brewer said in a press release. “I have instructed DES to redirect funds to cover the remaining TANF beneficiaries who did not already receive a monthly benefit through the end of October, so that more than 3,000 needy and low-income Arizona families continue to receive their much-needed cash assistance.”

About 13,300 families — 80 percent of those on the program — had received their monthly check before the shutdown. About 3,200 families did not.

Should the shutdown continue until November, Brewer said Arizona’s needy will be greatly affected.

“If the federal government remains at a stalemate come November, Arizona may be faced with catastrophic budgetary challenges and choices as we figure out how to salvage TANF and other critical programs. The failure of leadership in Washington is placing a heavy burden on our state, our core services and our citizens most in-need.”

Arizona is one of 11 states that relies solely on federal funds to pay for the program.