D.H.S., school partnership in Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls, Ore. – The lesson for reducing public dependence on welfare may be found in a Klamath Falls grade school.

Dr. Reginald Richardson oversees assistance and food stamp programs for the Oregon Department of Human Services.

Richardson toured Mills Elementary School in Klamath Falls Thursday…a school with a high percentage of students from low income families.

“We know that the number one way that you uplift from poverty is education.”  Says Richardson.

The Klamath Falls D.H.S. office has been working with local school districts on ways to boost student attendance.

D.H.S. District Manager Jeremy Player says staff have met one on one with more than 30 families to discuss attendance obstacles.

“It could be food, shelter, clothing.”  Notes Player.  “We would like to address those barriers – it transportation’s an issue, let’s figure out a way to make transportation happen.”

With 80% of the kids at Mills from those families, attendance has improved.

Dr. Richardson says the Klamath Falls D.H.S. office has also made other big gains over the past year…

“For our TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program, there’s been 84 families moved to self-sufficiency.  And at least 132 families moved off of our SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.”

And they’re hoping the next generation will be even more self-sufficient.

Dr. Richardson also met with officials from Klamath Community College, the Klamath Works group, and the housing coalition during his visit to Klamath Falls.


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