OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – The Muscogee Nation Social Services Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program has been awarded funding in the amount of $805,692.72 from the Department of Human and Health Services, Administration for Children and Families, American Rescue Plan act of 2021, Pandemic Emergency Assistance Funds.
According to NCA 21-101, the PEAF grant funds will allow the TANF program to provide non-recurrent, short-term (NRST) benefits to assist needy families impacted by the pandemic.
Tribal TANF Program Manager Mark Pendergrass claimed the program has developed a plan for distribution once funds are available.
“First, we are going to give a one-time assistance to all our current TANF participants,” Pendergrass said.
The PEAF grant funds will also benefit the tribe’s Women, Infant and Children program.
“They (WIC participants) are categorically eligible for TANF,” Pendergrass said. “So we are able to provide them with some subsidy.”
Pendergrass claimed since WIC provides nutritional benefits, the PEAF funds will be able to provide a different form of benefit.
“We want to make sure they can get other items that they may need like bottles or diapers,” he said.
According to Pendergrass, the department had conversations regarding the PEAF Funds and will make determinations on what needs participants are lacking.
He said the third and final plan for distribution is a “back-to-work” assistance for current TANF participants.
“We are going to give a one-time payment if they gain employment,” Pendergrass said. “If they keep that employment for more than six consecutive months, they will receive another one-time payment.”
He stated this makes participants eligible to receive up to $1,000 for the “back-to-work” assistance.
At this point, TANF’s plan has been submitted to make sure it complies with federal regulation.
The grant also requires the non-recurrent, short-term benefit must be expended by Sept. 30, 2022.
The department plans to hire two temporary staff members who will help with workload of the PEAF grant.
Although this is part of ARPA funds, Pendergrass reiterated these grant funds were made available for application for tribal TANF programs.
“They have to be enrolled in our program to receive assistance from us,” Pendergrass said. “We do encourage citizens and non-Muscogee tribal citizens in our area to reach out and see what we can assist them with.”
The MN TANF Program assists all federally-recognized tribal members within the Muscogee Reservation boundaries.
For more information regarding the TANF program or the PEAF Grant Funds, contact the TANF office at: 918-732-7985, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an eligibility form for the TANF program.