How government can design a human-centered social safety net
For those in need of social services – unemployment, housing, healthcare, food – the safety net isn’t easy to navigate or access.
And the COVID crisis has exacerbated this reality. There has been a dramatic spike in benefits claims, especially in communities of color and those that were already teetering on the edge. This pandemic has spotlighted the extreme inequities of the haves and have-nots, and the very broken social safety net meant to provide benefits and assistance to people in need, particularly when disaster strikes.
In this episode, we talk with Code for America Executive Director Amanda Renteria. Code for America’s mission is to build “a 21st century government that effectively and equitably serves all Americans.” As part of its Social Safety Net Portfolio, CfA has produced a ‘Blueprint for a Human-Centered Safety Net’ aimed at “transforming the delivery of public benefits in the digital age.” It also manages digital social service tools like GetCalFresh, ClearMyRecord, ClientComm and GetYourRefund.
As Code for America says of its Integrated Benefits Initiative, “In the United States, the social safety net is composed of more than 80 services that together aim to lift almost 50 million Americans above the poverty line each year. Today, tens of millions of those people are still falling through the cracks.”
Amanda talks with The Government We Need about how government can build a more responsive and dignified social safety net to support those who need it most.