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Arizona committee approves measure to ease SNAP requirements for ex-felons

A bill, sponsored by Snowflake Republican Rep. Walt Blackman, to help individuals in Arizona with drug-related felony convictions keep food on the table cleared the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, taking its first step toward becoming law. ... Read more»

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Ex-inmates would face less food insecurity under Az GOP proposal to ease SNAP restrictions

Arizona Republican Rep. Walt Blackman is backing legislation that would expand access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for recently released felons by requiring only that the formerly incarcerated person follow their terms of probation to qualify for food assistance.... Read more»

More Americans can use food stamps for restaurants, prepared meals

In the past two years, six states, Including Arizona, have opted in to the little-used federal Restaurant Meals Program that allows older adults, people with disabilities and people experiencing homelessness to use their food benefits on select, low-cost restaurant meals.... Read more»

Rise in food-stamp benefits is partly undercut by end to pandemic aid

More than 900,000 Arizona food stamp recipients saw an increase in their monthly benefits starting Friday, but recipients will not see the full 21% increase in their pocketbooks because it comes at the same time that a 15% pandemic-related boost in benefits is scheduled to end.... Read more»

Analysis

Trillions in infrastructure spending could mean hundreds of billions in fraud

The U.S. government may be on the verge of spending as much as US$4.5 trillion in what could be one of the biggest investments in infrastructure and the social safety net in decades – but some of the money will undoubtedly be lost to fraud.... Read more»

Poverty rate climbed in 2020, but pandemic assistance blunted losses

The U.S. poverty rate rose from 10.5% to 11.4% last year, reversing years of steady declines, but that increase in poverty was offset by pandemic relief funds and other benefits, according to new Census Bureau data.... Read more»

'A cliff effect': As federal benefits drop, food insecurity may once again rise

As cases of COVID-19 rise in many parts of the country, the federal government has not promised any further extension of heightened benefits and an expanded food safety net, leaving those who have received emergency aid in a state of uncertainty.... Read more»

Safety net policies help reduce the number of Americans below poverty line – but that’s not the whole story

Poverty declined even though fewer people were employed because the government stepped up, strengthening the safety net - but the way the government measures poverty is outdated - and the share of Americans experiencing food insecurity rose to an estimated 13.9% in 2020.... Read more»

Analysis

The U.S. is taking a bite out of its food insecurity – here’s one way to scrap the problem altogether

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is set to permanently increase the value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits by 25%, but to solve America's food insecurity problem, SNAP should be reconfigured as a universal basic income program.... Read more»

COVID relief highlights complexity of issues facing Native Americans

For some Indigenous communities, the historic amount of federal funds allocated to tribes through the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act was beneficial - for others, the pandemic highlighted deeper systemic complexities that federal funding cannot fully address.... Read more»

Outbreak of inequality: COVID-19 magnifies decades of injustices, inequities in U.S.

COVID-19 has laid bare the devastating cost of inequality in the U.S., with more than 600,000 people having died from the virus - but Black and Hispanic people are at least twice as likely as white Americans to die of the virus, showing the crisis didn’t hit everyone equally.... Read more»

Biden administration announces 25% increase to food program

The Biden administration today announced a 25% increase in food stamp benefits, the largest jump in the history of the program which will increase the average monthly benefits under the program now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to $157.... Read more»

Grijalva, Mass. congressman tour Tucson food bank while working on national hunger program

Working on a “a national effort to end hunger,” a Massachusetts congressmen joined Rep. Raul Grijalva on Wednesday for a tour of a Tucson food bank that has seen the daily demand for assistance double during the pandemic.... Read more»

Black women with children excluded from federal cash assistance program, report finds

Experts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities outline how states can remove restrictive requirements placed on Black families to receive cash assistance for food, bills or rent, after research found that Black women with children were repeatedly excluded from the programs.... Read more»

Farmers markets are growing their role as essential sources of healthy food for rich and poor

For many Americans, buying fresh local food at one of the estimated 9,000 farmers markets across the U.S. is one of summer’s pleasures, but farmers markets aren’t just nice amenities: Over the past 18 months, many have filled food supply gaps caused by COVID-19 shutdowns.... Read more»

Need amid plenty: Richest U.S. counties are overwhelmed by surge in child hunger

The financial fallout of COVID-19 has pushed child hunger to record levels. Counties seeing the largest increases in child food insecurity in 2020 generally have much higher median household incomes than counties with the smallest increases.... Read more»

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