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NY Immigration Coalition

Policy Brief: Expanding Food Benefits for Immigrants: Charting a Policy Agenda for New York City

Policy Brief: Expanding Food Benefits for Immigrants: Charting a Policy Agenda for New York City

By Anabel Perez-Jimenez and Nicholas Freudenberg, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute

 

In the United States, a century of social reforms has yielded several national programs that help people avoid hunger and food insecurity. In 2015, the Supplemental Assistance Program (SNAP) provided benefits to more than 44 million low-income U.S. residents at a cost of about $70 billion; the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) offered healthy food to about 6 million women and their young children at a cost of $6.2 billion; and USDA’s School Food served lunches to about 30.5 million school children and breakfasts to about 14 million at a total cost of about $17 billion.  These food safety net programs, however imperfect in their scope or implementation, mitigate the effects of poverty and food insecurity, improve health and help the United States join the club of civilized nations that aspire to make access to the food needed for well-being the norm rather than a privilege.