Be An Advocate

November 26, 2018
Proposed Public Charge Rule

Raising our voices for charity’s sake — Stamford Advocate, November 25, 2018
People are moved to donate to charity during the holiday season, but this year “acting in charity … means speaking out in support of policies that help millions of families put food on the table in times of need,” writes Lucinda Winslow, volunteer/advocate with the Coastal Connecticut Chapter of RESULTS, in this op-ed. Congress is proposing “punitive requirements on SNAP,” and the president’s administration proposed a rule that would make legally-residing immigrants have to choose between SNAP and their families. Winslow urges readers to tell Congress to protect and strengthen SNAP.

Baltimore sues Trump administration over immigrants’ access to benefits — CNN, November 28, 2018
The city of Baltimore is suing the Trump administration over the proposed public charge rule, noting it is a violation of federal laws governing administrative agencies and the Constitution’s Equal Protection guarantee, according to a statement from Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh. President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and the State Department are named as defendants. “Baltimore’s residents, immigrant or not, will be less healthy and less well-off as a consequence of Defendant’s unlawful actions,” states the lawsuit.

Peduto calls for united front to oppose federal rules on immigration — Tribune Live, November 28, 2018
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto joined local immigration officials recently in calling for a united effort to oppose the proposed public charge rule, which the mayors and others have said has spread fear among the region’s immigrants. “What we’re talking about right now is nothing more than hatred,” said Peduto. “It’s hatred of those that look different, pray different or come from a different part of the world.” Peduto urged citizens to speak out against the proposed rule, and a number of local organizations are holding a “public comment party” opposing the rule on December 3.

Food banks see impact of Trump’s immigration policies — ABC News, November 21, 2018
The Department of Homeland Security estimates that the proposed public charge rule would mean more than 500,000 people would remove themselves from public programs, while Children’s HealthWatch reports that mothers born outside the U.S. are exercising extreme caution in applying for food assistance. At the Spanish Catholic Center in Washington, half of the families that case worker Rodrigo Aguirre talks to aren’t comfortable applying for benefits. The proposed rule “is a blunt instrument — it’s spreading hunger among an incredibly vulnerable population, and it’s just really an unacceptable public policy,” said Stephen Knight of the Alamada County Community Food Bank. “It’s not like things were hunky-dory for immigrants before then, and now it’s just gotten so much worse,” said Joel Berg, head of Hunger Free NYC.

Holiday charity good, food stamps vital — Columbus Dispatch, November 24, 2018
While charity efforts are critical, the root causes of poverty also need to be addressed, writes Roy Wentzel of Columbus, Ohio, in this letter to the editor. SNAP helps more than 40 million people afford food, but a proposed rule “would punish legally residing immigrants for receiving SNAP or other basic assistance.” Wentzel urges readers to join him in telling policymakers to protect and strengthen SNAP.

Trump’s attempt to limit who’s really welcome — Kitsap Sun, November 28, 2018
The proposed public charge rule would allow consideration of SNAP participation in green card application decisions, and rumors of the change earlier this year have already caused many eligible legal residents to avoid public assistance programs. Immigrants pay billions of dollars in U.S. taxes each year, and many work essential jobs,” writes Nancy Houston in this letter to the editor. Houston urges readers to submit their comments on the rule by December 10 at regulations.gov.

Remember this December – Hunger is Solvable

Remember this December that hunger is solvable with the federal nutrition programs. Download and share these graphics to help spread the word!

Farm Bill and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Cuts

Proposed changes to House farm bill could worsen the hunger problem — Baltimore Sun, November 27, 2018
The House Farm Bill would deny SNAP benefits to thousands of Marylanders and millions of Americans through time limits on program participation, unlike the bipartisan Senate version of the bill. “Most of the people who are on the food supplement program are children, seniors, and people with disabilities; no one expects them to work,” writes Michael J. Wilson, director of Maryland Hunger Solutions, in this letter to the editor. Most of the remaining participants already have jobs, yet don’t make enough or receive enough hours to make ends meet. “[I]t is important that Maryland members of Congress insist on the Senate version of the bill to ensure struggling Marylanders are not denied the nutrition assistance they need,” Wilson concludes.

Support policies that support veterans — Roanoke.com, November 26, 2018
In Virginia, 31,000 veterans rely on SNAP, but some in Congress are proposing removing that support for many, writes Salaam Bhatti, public benefits attorney for the Virginia Poverty Law Center, in this letter to the editor. The House Farm Bill includes cuts to SNAP affecting 2 million Americans, including veterans, children, and seniors, while the Senate bill protects and strengthens SNAP. “We owe veterans more than just lip service,” Bhatti concludes. “It’s time to support policies like SNAP that support them here at home.”

Pass the Farm Bill before year ends — Bismarck Tribune, November 24, 2018
North Dakota family farmers Sheila and Tim Ostrem, in this letter to the editor, encourage passage of the Farm Bill by the lame duck Congress not only because the bill is important to their work, but because they believe it’s important to pass a bill that protects and strengthens SNAP. “[W]e urge our congressional delegation of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Sen. John Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer to get it done,” the authors write.

SNAP

Advocates for the poor warn about two House bills — Athens News, November 26, 2018
A bill in the Ohio legislature would forbid the state from applying for SNAP time limit waivers for able-bodied adults without dependents. If passed, the bill would force those low-income Ohio residents who lose SNAP benefits into food pantries, soup kitchens, and food bank lines “because they can’t stand in grocery check-out lines,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. Already, SNAP limitations have meant 500,000 Ohioans have lost their SNAP benefits in recent years, and the state lost $2 billion in federal SNAP funding, said Hamler-Fugitt.

A lawsuit and an entrepreneurial approach in Denver helped move Colorado from troublingly bad at food aid to earning federal bonus money — Denverite, November 19, 2018
In 2008, Colorado ranked 52nd among 53 states and territories for processing SNAP cases in a timely manner; in 2016, the state earned a nearly $800,000 bonus from the federal government for ranking 2nd among states and territories. In addition, Denver Human Services has been working with Hunger Free Colorado and other nonprofits to lessen the stigma around receiving benefits, in order to encourage more eligible people to sign up for benefits.

Homelessness

The Homeless Crisis Is Getting Worse in America’s Richest Cities — Bloomberg Business, November 20, 2018
Big-city homelessness is most visible in the West, where shelter shortages are forcing many to sleep in their cars. The number of Seattle’s “unsheltered” homeless on a single night in January 2018 jumped 15 percent from January 2017, while the value of the city’s dominant employer, Amazon, increased 68 percent. The number of California’s homeless increased 14 percent from 2016. The combination of slow wage growth and skyrocketing rents has created a housing market out of reach for increasing numbers of people. In Los Angeles, a 5 percent rental rate increase results in 2,000 additional homeless people.

From FRAC Chat

SNAP Matters for Seniors Everywhere — FRAC Chat, November 27, 2018
Within the growing senior population, many older Americans struggle to afford the basics. With that in mind, making a case for protecting and strengthening SNAP for Americans 60 years and older is more critical than ever. FRAC, in collaboration with AARP Foundation, recently created and launched state and county maps to demonstrate that SNAP matters to seniors across our nation.