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Applications for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families open

Crowd applying for funds

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A large crowd of local residents showed up yesterday at the Afioga Tufele Li’amatua Cultural Center at Suigaula o le Atuvasa Beach Park in Utulei to fill out applications for a short-term cash assistance program for qualified children from low income households through the American Samoa Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund (AS-PEAF) — administered by the Department of Human and Social Service.

The program is funded by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program. And was authorized through section 9201 of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021.

The ARPA funding to American Samoa is to provide certain non-recurrent, short-term benefits to deal with specific crisis situation or episodes of need, and is not intended to meet ongoing needs, according to a news release last week by DHSS. Registration runs through the end of this month.

Because of the limited amount of money available to American Samoa, the AS PEAF will give first priority to extremely low-income families of mixed immigration status and will issue a one-time, non-recurrent cash assistance payment of $200 per child for up to $800 for four children per household to purchase clothing and back to school supplies, or for short-term utility payments.