Program to help people get off public assistance could be phased out

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An anti-poverty program which helps people get off of public assistance could be in danger.

If federal funds dry up for the Fresno Bridge Program, it could be phased out.

The program aims to get Cal Fresh recipients off food stamps. It includes the Reading and Beyond workforce program which has benefitted both kids and adults.

Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) went before Fresno County supervisors to praise the program for helping people find work.

Costa explained they were, "Long-term jobs that provide for them the self-subsistence that they need to save the county, to save the state and save the federal government money so that they're no longer on assistance. That's what we're doing, and that's why this program is so important."

The Fresno Bridge Academy was one of ten pilot projects funded by a $12 million grant in the 2014 Farm Bill.

Its renewal depends on the outcome of current farm bill talks in Washington DC.

Pete Weber of the Fresno Bridge Academy told supervisors, "The potential scenario is that Congressman Costa is in there trying to negotiate an extension of the pilot and trying to negotiate more funding for outcome-based programs at the same time that we here in Fresno County have cut off the program as of the end of December."

Supervisors voted to extend funding for the program while federal negotiations continue.
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