Dozens Celebrate Grand Opening of New Center to Aid Low-Income Native American Families in San Bernardino County

Ribbon-cutting ceremony marks expansion of program overseen by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians that will now serve Native American families in need in San Bernardino County.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Tribal and elected officials gathered with local families today to celebrate the grand opening of the new Morongo Tribal TANF offices that will help low-income Native American families in San Bernardino County achieve self-sufficiency.

Operated locally by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is a federal- and state-funded program that provides short-term assistance to eligible native families with children who are in need of cash assistance and support services such as job training, child care and counseling. Morongo Tribal TANF, which already operates at the Morongo Indian Reservation, was recently approved for expansion to serve up to 1,000 Native Americans in need in neighboring San Bernardino County.

“TANF offers a lifeline to struggling Native American families with children, providing them with the support and tools they need to overcome poverty, secure employment and become self-sufficient,” Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We are honored and humbled to have been selected to provide this vital service to put struggling tribal families on the pathway to success in San Bernardino County.”  

James Ramos, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, applauded the opening of the new TANF office to serve tribal families.

“Morongo’s Tribal TANF program has a long history of success, and its new office in San Bernardino County will greatly improve our safety net for Native American families in need,” Ramos said.

To help introduce the new 20,000-square-foot TANF branch to potential employers, Morongo invited local businesses and chambers of commerce members to the grand opening of the new offices at 720 E. Carnegie Drive in San Bernardino.

 

Funded by federal and state grants, TANF offers an array of programs to help impoverished Native American families end their dependence on government benefits. 

In addition to temporary financial assistance to meet basic needs and provide child care for parents who are working, in job training or in school, Morongo’s Tribal TANF program provides job readiness courses, career counseling, and cultural instruction. TANF also encourages the formation and preservation of two-parent households as a key building block toward economic self-sufficiency.

Morongo has provided TANF services to dozens of tribal families in Riverside County since 2005. Morongo Tribal TANF’s new office serves eligible Native American families, including their children and descendants, who reside in San Bernardino County.

Morongo’s oversight of the San Bernardino County program was endorsed by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, the

 Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe and the Colorado River Indian Tribe.

“TANF promotes strong Native American families and strengthens efforts for Indian self-sufficiency, and we were delighted to support Morongo’s oversight of the TANF program in San Bernardino County,” said Lynn Valbuena, chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

Darrell Mike, chairman of the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, agreed: “Morongo’s program in Riverside County has been a model of success. We welcome the San Bernardino County branch and know TANF will help bring an end to the cycle of poverty for many Native American families.”

Families seeking information on TANF eligibility, services and participation guidelines are asked to please visit www.morongonation.org/content/morongo-tribal-tanf or call (844) TANF-411