FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 4/22/09
WORCESTER – An unexpected job loss and long unemployment throws a once-financially stable family into poverty. An unemployed mother of three receives a food stamp check for $7 – barely enough to cover a meal for her whole family, much less a month’s worth of food. A mortgage company talks a struggling family into paying the $500 fee to apply to refinance their home – only to reject their application and deny them a refund on the fee.
These are just some of the stories that were heard Tuesday afternoon by the Massachusetts Asset Development Commission at a public hearing in Worcester to seek the input of local families about the financial struggles facing them, and ways the state government could help.
“At a time when families are facing potential jobs losses, foreclosures, skyrocketing health care costs and ballooning debt, our state government needs to listen to the concerns of people affected and respond by working on proposals to build financial security for these families,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge, Co-Chair of the Asset Development Commission. “That’s what this hearing was all about.”
The hearing was an opportunity for the Commission to hear about the ways state government could better help low-to-moderate income families build and retain the financial assets they need – such as housing, a car to drive to work, job skills, or modest savings — to achieve long-term financial stability. Numerous local residents came to testify about their lives, and the struggles they face when trying to survive financial hardships and get ahead.
The Massachusetts Asset Development Commission, which is made up of 30 members, including advocates, representatives of the Patrick Administration, legislators, practitioners, and academic expert, has been meeting for over a year, and has already held two public hearings in Boston and Lowell.
The Commission was formed by legislative decree in 2006, and is charged with studying and making recommendations concerning the development of financial assets of low and moderate income families to ensure that all people in Massachusetts have the opportunity to achieve long-term, sustainable economic security and self-sufficiency and enjoy economic opportunity. The Commission will issue a final report in June 2009.
Members of the public looking to provide further testimony to the Commission can do so by contacting the office of Senator Eldridge at 617-722-1120, or James.Eldridge@state.ma.us. More information about the Asset Development Commission can be found here.