In February, the Trump Administration released the FY 2019 Budget. It reduces support for mandatory and discretionary spending on domestic programs, while boosting spending on military and immigration enforcement. President Trump is proposing a 30% cut to nutrition programs including SNAP and WIC of $213.5 billion over 10 years. It will restructure how benefits are given and will reduce eligibility for millions of Americans. This is especially relevant since SNAP benefits 44 million people each month. At one point, the average monthly benefit for SNAP recipients was $133.85, which has gone down to $125.79 per person in recent years. The proposed cuts would decrease that further. Other cost-cutting strategies include restricting time-limit waivers, capping benefits to large households, eliminating SNAP nutrition education, eliminating the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and raise the age for those eligible for work requirement related time limits from 49 to 62.
By Craig Willingham, Deputy Director, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute
43 million Americans utilize SNAP benefits and about 1.7 Million of them live in New York City. In Fiscal Year 2015, the federal government spent about $75 billion on SNAP. The impact of this program is both large in the number of people it reaches and in its purchasing power. A recent USDA study looked at the foods typically purchased by SNAP households. It found many similarities between the diets of SNAP and non-SNAP recipients but in some categories SNAP recipients spent a higher portion of their food dollars on unhealthy food than did non-SNAP recipients. As we move into the Trump era we as advocates need to be careful about what we take away from studies like this and how we can use them to our advantage.
by Maggie Dickinson, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Guttman Community College, CUNY
The recent election poses a grave threat to federal nutrition programs and the millions of low income families they serve. This January, Republicans will control the presidency and both houses of Congress. Republican speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, has been pushing to block grant SNAP (formerly food stamps) for several years. Ryan’s proposed changes have the potential to undo much of the progress we have made in addressing hunger in the United States since the 1970’s.
By Nevin Cohen, Nicholas Freudenberg and Janet Poppendieck, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute
Trump’s inauguration, coupled with Republican Congressional control, requires every constituency to analyze the threats to the gains of the last eight years. This is particularly urgent for New Yorkers seeking to advance three broad food goals: eliminating food insecurity and hunger, fighting malnutrition and health inequality, and ensuring a sustainable food system with good jobs. Anticipating efforts to undermine food justice enables advocates, researchers, and policy makers to choose priorities in our work and forge strategic partnerships. In this policy brief, Nevin Cohen, Nicholas Freudenberg and Janet Poppendieck from the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute analyze likely changes in these three areas and propose strategies to promote food justice in the coming years
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.
In May 2016 the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute posted at eatingineastharlem.org the complete report Eating in East Harlem An Assessment of Changing Foodscapes in Community District 11, 2000-2015. The report, which we presented at the CUNY Urban Food Policy Forum on March 24th, analyzes changes in five domains -- food retail, food insecurity and food benefits, institutional food, food and nutrition education, and diet-related health conditions -- in East Harlem from before the election of Michael Bloomberg through the first two years of the de Blasio Administration.
Its goal is to assess the ways in which food environments in East Harlem have improved, stayed the same, or worsened in this 15-year period in order to inform setting food policy goals for the next 5, 10 or 15 years.