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Issue #39, October 9, 2018

Proposed Public Charge Rule

Trump’s ‘Public Charge’ Rule Could Mean Life-And-Death Decisions for Legal Immigrants — WBUR, September 28, 2018
Massachusetts primary care physicians working with immigrant families are hearing from patients that they’re not applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or health insurance for fear of the government coming after them, write Drs. Sara Kimball, Nicolette Oleng, and Elisabeth Poorman in this op-ed. A proposed regulation would penalize legal immigrants applying for green cards for using public benefits, such as SNAP. Should the rule be approved, “[i]t will be impossible for us to promote the health of our communities when so many are fearful of accessing basic care,” note the authors.

LA County pushes back against Trump administration’s ‘public charge’ rule — LA Daily News, October 2, 2018
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently voted, unanimously, to oppose the proposed “public charge” rule. Fear of accessing services would force immigrants to choose between getting a green card and accessing healthy food, say county health and social services officials. Such fear “will also result in an increase in the number of people who are not immunized against flu and other communicable diseases” that can be transmitted easily, said Barbara Ferrer, head of the county’s Department of Public Health.

Farm Bill and SNAP Cuts

Significant numbers in Illinois struggle to get enough food — Gazette Chicago, October 5, 2018
According to FRAC’s recent report on food hardship, 17.4 percent of Illinois households with children experienced food hardship in 2016–2017, and the state’s overall household food hardship rate of 14 percent did not improve from 2015–2016. “The data from FRAC … quantifies what [we have] seen … in the past year,” said Diane Doherty, executive director of the Illinois Hunger Coalition. “The numbers show that weakening SNAP would only serve to exacerbate the problem of hunger faced by children and hard-working families both throughout the state and nationwide.”

Peterson standing up for Minnesota families — Marshall Independent, October 2, 2018
While food shelves in Minnesota help ensure needy residents have enough to eat, “they can’t do it alone,” writes Colleen Moriarty, executive director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota, in this letter to the editor. “For over 600,000 people across Minnesota, SNAP … plays a key role in helping families put food on the table.” The House of Representatives proposed changes to the program that would leave “working families, children, seniors, and veterans” without groceries and facing possible poverty. “That’s why I’m grateful that Congressman Collin Peterson is working to defend SNAP against drastic cuts,” concludes Moriarty.

Keep eligibility rules for vital nutrition program — NorthJersey.com, September 24, 2018
About 35,000 New Jersey residents would lose their SNAP benefits through more restrictive eligibility requirements proposed by the House of Representatives, write Adele LaTourette, director of Hunger Free New Jersey, Dr. Marlene Herman, president of the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations, and Rabbi Joel Pitkowsky, in this op-ed. These SNAP cuts would also “prove devastating to millions of Americans and would drastically increase the problem of hunger in this country.” The authors urge Congress “to maintain program eligibility and benefit levels so that we, as a nation, can all thrive.”

Abraham’s position on SNAP is unworkable — The Advocate, October 1, 2018
U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA) represents one of the state’s poorest congressional districts, and for the district’s residents, SNAP is vital, writes Daniel Mintz, policy advocate for the Louisiana Budget Project, in this letter to the editor. Louisiana has one of the nation’s highest food insecurity rates, and unemployment rates in parishes in Abraham’s district are much higher than the national average. However, Abraham supports increased SNAP requirements that would “kick thousands of Louisianans off the federal food assistance that keeps their families healthy.”

Proposed changes to work requirements for food stamps could mean more struggle to get food — News 5 Cleveland, October 3, 2018
Congress has pushed back its vote on the Farm Bill, and proposed changes in the House version of the bill would increase requirements for SNAP benefits. Should the requirements be enacted, food banks would not be able to step in and cover the need generated. SNAP provides 12 times as many meals as the Greater Cleveland Food Bank provides, said Mary O’Shea, director of advocacy for the organization. “We can’t make up the difference,” she said. “It’s not possible.”

Throw support behind Senate’s farm bill — Grand Forks Herald, September 30, 2018
“Concerned North Dakotans should urge our senators to hold firm in their support of SNAP, and ask Rep. Cramer to abandon his support of requirements that ultimately would undermine nutritional health in our nation,” writes Kathleen Ness in this letter to the editor. SNAP assisted 54,000 North Dakota residents — 7 percent of the state — in 2017, and more than 72 percent of participants are families with children; 12 percent of North Dakota children lived below the poverty line in 2017.

Alaska not immune to struggle — Frontiersman, October 3, 2018
“Making cuts or changes to SNAP won’t help anyone find work or move out of poverty — it will just make people hungry,” writes Mariah Seater of Anchorage, Alaska, in this letter to the editor. Congress is considering cuts to SNAP, which helped lift 21,000 Alaskans (including 11,000 children) out of poverty in 2017. The cuts would make it harder for people to access the program; currently 73 percent of Alaska SNAP participants are in families with children, nearly 26 percent are in families with members who are elderly or have disabilities, and more than 42 percent are working families.

Disaster SNAP (D-SNAP)

Thousands receive D-SNAP food stamp benefits — Daily News, October 3, 2018
On Tuesday, October 2, 4,460 people had applied for D-SNAP benefits at the Onslow County Department of Social Services in North Carolina, in the wake of recent storms. One family had lost $350 worth of food due to power outages and flooding. Other applicants noted they could not afford food until they get paid from their jobs — and were not reimbursed by their employers for time they missed due to the storms. The wait time to apply decreased from five hours the first day D-SNAP was offered to less than two hours a few days later.

Community Eligibility Provision

School-Wide Free Nutrition Program Attracts Fewer Rural Schools — Daily Yonder, October 2, 2018
According to recent data from USDA’s Economic Research Service, only one-third of schools eligible for the Community Eligibility Provision are offering schools meals through the provision, while 46 percent of eligible urban area schools are participating. “I think the report reinforces a lot of the important aspects of community eligibility, the need for growth, the room for growth,” said Crystal FitzSimons, director of School and Out-of-School Time Programs at FRAC. “Community Eligibility can definitely help support delivery of … school breakfast and lunch in high-need rural districts.”

From FRAC Chat

The Data Are Clear: SNAP Matters for Americans — FRAC Chat, October 2, 2018
Despite benefits generally agreed to be inadequate for a healthy diet through the month, SNAP helps lift millions out of poverty by increasing their purchasing power to afford adequate food. That’s according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), an annual report released by the Census Bureau. In September, the Census Bureau released the SPM as well as its report on income and poverty in the U.S., and the U.S. Department of Agriculture published the latest national rates of food insecurity. Collectively, the statistics vividly demonstrate how critical it is to continue to protect SNAP from proposed cuts.