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Daily News Coverage on Hunger Crisis Echoes CCC Transition Plan Recommendations

Two full pages in the Daily News today were devoted to the hunger crisis in New York City. Notably, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, penned a column about the many concrete steps the City will be taking to tackle food insecurity.

Barrios-Paoli states that since the Great Recession in 2008, food insecurity has been a growing problem. The chart above illustrates how the largest federally-funded program addressing food insecurity – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps) – has expanded as need has increased. The number of food stamp recipients in New York City rose sharply with the start of the recession in 2008, and has continued to rise even as the City has seen signs of economic recovery, such as lower unemployment rates. Today more than 1.8 million New Yorkers rely on food stamps, including about 700,000 children.

One key component of the City’s strategy, says Barrios-Paoli, will be demanding a stronger commitment from City agencies to improve the programs that already exist, like SNAP, as well as establishing new ones.

CCC has long advocated to protect and to expand government programs that provide meals to children and help families purchase food, such as SNAP, WIC (Women, Infant and Children), emergency food programs, as well as schools and summer meals programs. In our transition plan, Recommendations to Make New York City A Better Place for Every Child, one of our core recommendations is to facilitate access to SNAP, and to streamline the eligibility and reauthorization processes to ensure that those who are entitled to these benefits receive them. We are pleased that addressing these issues is a top priority for our City’s administration, and we look forward to working with them to realize these reforms.

Our recommendations also include expanding the use of mobile markets in areas of the City where there are limited grocery store and transportation options, as well as equipping all farmers markets and GreenCarts with EBT machines so families are able to use SNAP to buy healthy, fresh produce.

In addition, we believe that investments in the economic stability of all New Yorkers are critical to the well-being of our City’s children. As you can see in the chart below, the share of households without children that rely on food stamps remains significantly lower than the share of households with children (although both groups have seen an increase in recent years). This fact is not surprising given that eligibility is dependent on family size, and able-bodied adults without dependents are limited to receiving food stamp benefits for three months within a three-year period. This is why we recommend pursuing a federal waiver that extends benefits for this group in areas with high local unemployment rates, providing a needed economic boost in struggling neighborhoods in New York City.

You can explore more food stamp and other income support data at Keeping Track Online. And read more about our Recommendations to Make New York City a Better Place for Every Child.

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