DC Mother Blows $10,800 Taxpayer-Funded Free Handout On Luxurious Miami Vacation

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by blueapples
Saturday, Feb 24, 2024 - 15:51

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Like many other Democrat run cities, Washington DC is no stranger to blowing taxpayer money on free handouts to push its progressive agenda. That tenet of its liberal agenda was exemplified by its Strong Families, Strong Futures program which doled out $1.5 million to 132 mothers struggling to make ends meet. Recipients of the no-strings-attached payments from the pilot program received $10,800 each with the option of a single-lump sum payment or 12 monthly installments of $900. While most recipients of the funds elected the latter of the two payment arrangements in a prudent decision to budget the financial assistance to pay bills and the expenses of everyday essentials which have become unattainable to many of them due to rampant inflation, one beneficiary of the program undermined those success stories with her avarice.

Canethia Miller, a 27 year-old mother of 3, blew through the nearly $11,000 taxpayer funded handout in a matter of a few months. Over half of the taxpayer-funded handout was spent by Miller on a luxurious vacation to Miami for herself and her 3 kids. In total, the trip cost her $6,000 including travel, lodging, dinners, and more, including buying each of her children 5 new outfits; one to wear for each day of their time in Miami.

The Strong Families, Strong Futures program began in 2022 with the mission of providing new and expecting mothers with financial assistance. Miller, having just given birth to her third child, thus qualified for the program. Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser expounded on the program's goal "to address disparities in maternal health outcomes, make high-quality child care more affordable and accessible, and ensure women are at the heart of our equitable economic recovery strategy.” Bowser tasked the administration of the program to a nonprofit organization named Martha's Table, led by president and CEO Kim Ford. However, Miller's case brought the integrity of Martha's Tables oversight on the program's administration was brought into question.

Miller submitted her application to the program late yet was approved for the $10,800 payout nevertheless. Despite applying to the Strong Families, Strong Futures program on the basis of need, Miller had already been benefiting from several other social assistance programs. Her two-bedroom apartment was paid for through DC's Temporary Assistance To Needy Families program which she qualified for by virtue of having children. The housing assistance covered her rent which cost a mere $120 due to already being subsidized. In addition to the free rent, Miller received SNAP payments for food and other groceries. Despite this array of assistance, Miller still rued her struggles detailing how groceries would only last her family the first 3 weeks of the month before she'd spent the entirety of her SNAP payments.

Miller's circumstance was one shared by other recipients of the program. Yet, unlike them, Miller had wanton disregard for the opportunity the lump sum payment offered. Her lack of appreciation for the payout was summed up in the attitude she demonstrated in an interview with The Washington Post in which she shamelessly stated "I wanted to blow it. I wanted to have fun." Miller opined that the trip was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her and her family, giving her children the chance to aspire toward a better life. At least that is how Miller justified her decision when explaining the motive behind the luxury mansion tour she and her children took during the trip.

However, spending the money on her children wasn't the only indulgence Miller took. She also spent $180 on a make over for the trip, including $180 to get her hair and nails done. After returning from the trip she finally put the funds to practical use by paying off bills and buying a used car. By then the whole lump sum of $10,800 had been spent given the vacation alone cost more than half of it.

Unfortunately for those other than Miller, her example creates irreparable doubt in pilot programs promising free hands outs to the detriment of those who actually benefit from them and demonstrate gratitude and responsibility for the life-changing amount of money they are given. Fellow Strong Families, Strong Futures recipient Erika James took a diametrically opposed approach to Miller. James, a working mother, spent all but the whole of the $10,800 she received on bills and the cost of everyday living. The lone exorbitant spending James made was spending $600 on her son Loyal's first birthday party. When hearing about Miller's reckless spending, James did rued not being more advantageous herself, stating "I think I should’ve took at least $200 and spent on myself. But every time I blink my eye it’s a bill,' she said.

Yet fortunately for Miller, a brighter future lies ahead as she's slated to start a new remote job that will pay her $30 an hour. With an eye to the future, she credits the Strong Families, Strong Futures program for improving her financial literacy. “A lot of communities in my area don’t know the financial gain of credit [or] saving for your kids; that’s why we’re broke. That’s why we don’t have nothing to pass down or no house to give down,” Miller stated.

While Miller has proclaimed she has taken away a valuable lesson from her experience, hers is a cautionary tale highlighting the abuses that programs like Strong Families, Strong Futures are vulnerable to. Despite that, the lack of oversight exercised by these programs conveys that politicians promising free handouts in the hopes of casting a wider net for social services have learned nothing when it comes to being accountable for how they spend taxpayer's hard-earned money.

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