I'm sure Patrick McIlheran would tell you that this, too, is a sign of the booming economy, and you're all too busy believing the media hype to realize how great the economy is:
Milwaukee County's welfare office has been overwhelmed with a record number of people seeking public assistance and doesn't have the staff to deal with the crush.There's lots of blame to go around for this--Republican legislators targeting Milwaukee County, a county executive unwilling to stand up to those legislators or meet the needs of his residents, a federal government pursuing welfare-for-the-rich strategies. However, let's all keep this in mind the next time McIlheran wanders through to tell us how fantastic the economy is. You can also remind him of the increasing Milwaukee foreclosure rate (mirroring national trends) and the skyrocketing consumer bankruptcy rates we've seen in the last year.
For those seeking services, that means they wait. On the phone. At the welfare office. And they sometimes go without benefits for longer than they should, the Public Investigator Team found.
The county's budget for administering its income assistance program has shrunk by about $1.7 million, or 10%, since 2002, according to the state. But the number of people seeking food stamps has risen by about 10.5%.
It has been since November that McIlheran has tried his "the economy is great" schtick, which I suppose might mean he's given it up. Or it could just mean we're due.