Food Insecurity is a Big Problem in the North State

House Republicans are introducing new work requirements for adults who receive food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as SNAP.

Posted: May 23, 2018 5:43 PM

House Republicans are introducing new work requirements for adults who receive food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as SNAP.

In a nutshell the requirements say many able-bodied adults would have to work a minimum of 20 hours a week to get the SNAP benefits.

The Farm Bill is a legislation that determines what foods are accessible and affordable for all.

CalFresh is California’s version of the SNAP program, formerly known as food stamps, and assists low-income individuals and households to purchase nutritional food; According to the California Food Policy Advocates, it helps about 1 in 10 Californians.

“People who are hungry and might be low income, they don't wear a name tag. These could be your neighbors, these could be your family members,” said CalFresh Outreach Director for the Center for Healthy Communities in Chico Jenny Breed.

She says food insecurity is a huge problem in the North State, and may soon become an even bigger one.

In the new bill, able-bodied adults between 18 and 59 who don't have kids ages 6 or under must work at least 20 hours a week to receive Cal Fresh benefits.

If the hours fall to under 20, the person would be banned from Cal Fresh for one year.

Breed says that would affect about 20% of the population, many of whom don't have any control over their schedules.

She says this would be bad news because the people who receive funds for food actually stimulate the whole economy

“It doesn't just affect the individuals, it affects the community; it affects the store owners, and it affects the farmers,” she said.

Stephanie Bianco is also with the Center for Healthy Communities in Chico, and she says CalFresh dollars generate 1.8 times the amount spent in overall economic activity, and that loss would directly impact local businesses, which is why they're encouraging 1st congressional district Representative Doug LaMalfa to oppose this version of the bill.

“This version is making drastic cuts to the snap programs, and we do not want him to support this bill. We want him to support the expansion of the Farm Bill and the SNAP program in the Farm Bill,” Bianco said.

Breed also says right now, more than 40% of college students in the state are eligible for food pantry resources or Cal Fresh assistance.

She says most CalFresh recipients are working, but rely on the program to make ends meet.

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