When Genivive Jones lost her job last year and started bouncing between friends’ homes and motels with her toddler daughter, she inadvertently joined one of the fastest-growing groups of state welfare recipients: homeless families who receive aid known as CalWorks.

Over the last five years, the number of CalWorks families without a permanent place to live has grown by 98%. That’s nearly four times the growth of non-homeless families who are also getting assistance.

The increase shows how difficult it is for people on the lower rungs of the financial ladder to improve their situation in the current tough economy, experts say, especially because the average amount that Los Angeles County families get from the state has shrunk from $560 a month three years ago to $490 last October.

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