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Kristy Postal

2015, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Kristy Postal

Kristy Postal

Name of Host Organization: The Legal Aid Society of Columbus
City, State: Columbus, Ohio
Issue area: Public Benefits/Welfare Reform
Sponsors: The Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation

The Project

Kristy will provide community education, legal representation, and support to work-eligible individuals under the Ohio Works First (OWF) program in Franklin County.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
OWF is the financial assistance portion of Ohio’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. OWF is intended to promote self-sufficiency by assisting recipients in overcoming barriers to finding employment. Understanding and following OWF requirements is usually the lifeline that keeps low-income families from falling further into poverty. Ohio relies upon federal funding to maintain the OWF program and must meet federal workforce participation rates in order for this funding to continue. Currently, Ohio is meeting the federal requirements not because OWF recipients have found employment but by decreasing its OWF-enrollment numbers through increased OWF work requirements and imposing strict penalties for even minor infractions. This fellowship will focus on OWF policies and procedures and provide much needed education and representation to those work-eligible individuals under the OWF program. By focusing on the true intent of OWF -- removing barriers to employment through adequate training and employment opportunities – these individuals can become truly self-sufficient.
The Right Person For This Project
Kristy is the right person for the project because:
• She has legal experience and exposure to a variety of public benefit programs
• She has prior education and experience in both law and human resources management
• She believes in providing those in poverty with the legal representation that they cannot otherwise afford
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship
In the first six months, Kristy will:
• Review the current OWF work assessment program
• Provide direct representation to work-eligible OWF individuals who have been improperly sanctioned or denied benefits
• Create tools to educate OWF-eligible recipients on the program’s policies and procedures, as well as gather feedback on case management
• Meet with agencies to understand other available resources in the community