FRAC WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
President’s Proposed Massive Cuts to SNAP Would Greatly Increase Hunger, Poverty, and Ill Health - FRAC, May 22, 2017
Widespread news reports based on administration sources indicate that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will suffer drastic cuts in the president’s budget, planned for release tomorrow. FRAC will work with Congress to stop these cuts in order to prevent untold harm to the millions of people in this country who struggle against hunger. Those harmed will be children, seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, and adults struggling with low wages, temporary joblessness and involuntary part-time work — SNAP’s beneficiaries.
Do we really want to ask, ‘Who goes hungry?’ – Salt Lake Tribune, May 20, 2017
Utahns Against Hunger (UAH) urges the state’s congressional delegation “to strengthen, not weaken, national anti-hunger programs and to oppose cuts to these critical programs that would weaken their integrity and responsiveness,” writes Gina Cornia, executive director of UAH, in this op-ed. SNAP kept 53,000 Utah residents — 29,000 of which were children — out of poverty between 2009 and 2012, and in 2016, the program generated nearly $550 million in economic activity in the state. “Undermining the federally guaranteed entitlement of anti-hunger benefits” would force states to decide who would be eligible for food assistance and who would not, notes Cornia.
Key Trump Official Signals Strong Support for Food Stamps – The Huffington Post, May 17, 2017
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently told the House agriculture committee during a hearing that SNAP has “been a very important, effective program,” and “[a]s far as I’m concerned we have no proposed changes.” His comments come as Republicans and the current administration are eyeing significant cuts to SNAP. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) said after the hearing, “I think it was a pretty full-throated, strong defense of SNAP and I was encouraged to hear it.”
Huge cuts to food stamps part of Trump’s budget proposal – Minneapolis Star-Tribune, May 22, 2017
The president’s budget, slated for release on Tuesday, May 23, includes cuts of $193 billion to SNAP over the next decade, a cut of more than 25 percent. The proposal would drive millions out of the program, partly by cutting back on eligibility. The SNAP cuts are the bulk of the administration’s 10-year, $274 billion proposal labeled as welfare reform.
Immigrants' fear cited in declining food stamp use in SF – San Francisco Chronicle, May 16, 2017
In March and April of this year, 150 households with at least one non-U.S. citizen withdrew from SNAP in San Francisco, according to the city’s Human Services Agency. The normal monthly withdrawal rate in that group is fewer than 60 households. Fears born out of recent immigration crackdowns and statements from the current administration are spurring the increase. Legal residents, including green card holders, are eligible for SNAP benefits, but recent events have raised concerns that accepting SNAP and other benefits could block obtaining a green card for some.
Farmers market program boosts CalFresh users’ access to produce – The Press Democrat,
May 16, 2017
Since the start of Market Match, a program that offers SNAP recipients incentive to shop at farmer’s markets in California’s Sonoma and Marin Counties, low-income shoppers have increased the amount of CalFresh (SNAP) dollars used at farmer’s markets from about $3,800 in June 2015 to $6,222 in July 2016. Through the program, CalFresh recipients using their benefits at the farmer’s markets can receive an additional dollar for each dollar they spend, up to $20. “The community benefits, and [the market’s] growing customer pool makes it worthwhile,” said Suzi Grady, program director at Petaluma Bounty.
Summer Food Service Program
Central Texas school districts strive to fight hunger in community – KXXV, May 11, 2017
This summer, 30 sites in Texas’ Killeen school district will offer free summer meals to all children; during the year, 61 percent of the district’s students receive free or reduced-price school lunch. The district is looking for additional sites, and encourages churches, daycare, apartment complexes and other facilities to call 254-336-2822 to find out how to get involved in offering free summer meals.
School Breakfast Program
Lawmakers consider statewide free breakfast in schools – WWLP, May 12, 2017
More than 65 percent of western Massachusetts lawmakers are supporting a state bill which would require public schools with more than 60 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price school meals to serve free breakfast in the classroom to all students. Although 4,000 West Springfield children receive free or reduced-price school meals, only 20 percent participate in school breakfast programs. “Families are struggling. Kids are going to school hungry,” said State Rep. Aaron Vega (D-Holyoke). “Sometimes … the only good meal they’re getting is at school[.]”
School Lunch Shaming
Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina to tell principals to give lunch to all students, even those who can’t pay – New York Daily News, May 16, 2017
Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said she would “put in writing to all principals that no child any time should be deprived of lunch.” Although the majority of the city’s public school students qualify for free school lunch, not all take advantage of it due to the stigma attached, and families of children that do not qualify may still struggle to afford to pay for school lunch. All of the city’s middle schools provide free lunch to all students, but the de Blasio administration has resisted a City Council proposal to expand free lunch citywide.
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
Gov. Edwards announces Trump Administration lift of Moratorium on Louisiana’s WIC Program – KALB, May 16, 2017
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards received a letter notifying him that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) listed a federal moratorium on new vendor authorization in the Louisiana WIC Program. The state was notified in May 2014 that a federal moratorium on new WIC vendor authorization would be imposed until Louisiana could ensure that federal funds were being used effectively by making improvements to its vendor management system. Gov. Edwards said the state Department of Health has “done a remarkable job working diligently to ensure that the federal dollars we receive are used effectively and efficiently.”
Hunger and Health
Major hospitals, doctors address food insecurity in patients, treat it as priority in patient care – Healthcare Finance News, May 16, 2017
Starting in fall 2015, clinicians at the Houston, Texas-based Memorial Hermann Health System began asking patients at four medical sites if they had run out of food in the previous month or thought that they would; 11 to 30 percent answered that they did. Memorial Hermann will expand the effort to its entire 15-hospital system, and its roughly 225 affiliated physician practices, this summer.
Poll says blacks less likely to have enough for retirement – WFTV, May 18, 2017
African-Americans and Latinos will rely on fewer income sources during retirement and have less financial security than whites, according to a recent survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The retirement readiness disparity stems from issues that the unemployment rate for African-Americans is twice that of whites and blacks with similar education and experience earn less than whites. In addition, older whites are more likely to collect Social Security benefits, benefit from inherited money, or receive home sale income.
From FRAC Chat
Older Americans Month Part 1: Understanding Food Insecurity Among Older Adults - FRAC Chat, May 9, 2017
May is Older Americans Month — an opportunity to raise awareness of important issues facing adults 50 and above across the nation.
Older Americans Month Part 2: Impact of Food Insecurity on the Health of Older Adults - FRAC Chat, May 19, 2017
Imagine having to choose between food, medicine, and other basic necessities. This is a reality for millions of Americans age 50 and older who struggle to afford the food they need to support their health and well-being.
The Impact of Food Insecurity on Women’s Health – FRAC Chat, May 19, 2017
Data consistently show that women are especially vulnerable to food insecurity and its health consequences. Research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveals that household food-insecurity rates for households with children headed by a single mother (30.3 percent) and for women living alone (14.7 percent) are particularly high.