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FRAC Alert - USDA Report Reveals Unacceptable Levels of Food Insecurity in 2020; Reminder re 9/14 Special SNAP Coalition meeting and Afghan evacuee benefits

We want to be sure you saw this important statement (below) from Luis Guarda, President of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)  highlighting USDA's recently released 2020 food insecurity data. Please take note of this very troubling data point: 
  • Black (21.7 percent) and Latinx (17.2 percent) households were disproportionately impacted by food insecurity in 2020, with food insecurity rates triple and double the rate of White households (7.1 percent), respectively.  
FRAC is also hosting a webinar on September 20th at 2 PM EST, “Hunger, Poverty, and Health Disparities During COVID-19 and the Federal Nutrition Programs Role in an Equitable Recovery,”  They will discuss the recent USDA food security data and action steps. To register, go here.
 
Special SNAP Coalition meeting on Tuesday 9/14:  
Again, our next SNAP Coalition meeting is this coming Tuesday, September 14th from 10 AM to 11:30.  (We neglected to include the time in yesterday's eblast).The newly appointed FNS Northeast Regional Office Deputy Administrator Libzeth Silbermann will be joining the first part of the meeting. We will also have a regular SNAP Coalition meeting on Tuesday, Sept 28th (10 - 11:30). Here's the Zoom link for you to join the meeting. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/209236814?pwd=WVRjdGc3YUZkVElPTjlCWmdhd2NjUT09
 
Afghan evacuees and Federal Benefits
Please let MLRI know if you are working with any of the Afghan evacuees who need SNAP, cash or other benefits. Local and statewide news stories are continuing to report inaccurate and confusing information about the scope of benefits available. The Biden's Administration for Children and Families has issued guidance about the wide range of resettlement and other benefits available to both Special Immigrant VIsa (SIV) and Special Immigrant Parolees (SQ/SI) holders. 
 
The SNAP eligibility rules are different for Afghan evacuees who enter just with "humanitarian parole" but are not eligible to apply for SIV status. Humanitarian parolees can still receive SNAP for their children under 18 and for certain adults with disabilities without the 5-year waiting period. Humanitarian parolees can also get all health care benefits and state benefits like EAEDC, EA etc. If you are working with this population, we can help you figure this out.  
 
Recording of House Rules Committee Roundtable on College Student Hunger:
If you missed the Rules Committee Roundtable yesterday, 9/8 hosted by Congressman McGovern, here's the video. It is EXCELLENT and all of the speakers were top notch, with just excellent comments/reactions from  McGovern and other Rules Committee members: https://rules.house.gov/video/ending-hunger-america-examining-hunger-college-campuses  
 
 
 
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Food Research & Action Center <nsmall@frac.org>
Date: Wed, Sep 8, 2021 at 4:36 PM
Subject: USDA Report Reveals Unacceptable Levels of Food Insecurity in 2020
To: Vicky Negus <vnegus@mlri.org>
 

Media Contact:      

Jordan Baker                                                                       
jbaker@frac.org
202-640-1118

USDA Report Reveals Unacceptable Levels of Food Insecurity in 2020

Statement attributable to Luis Guardia, President, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)

WASHINGTON, September 8, 2021 — A report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) underscores the unacceptably high levels of food insecurity driven by COVID-19 during 2020, especially among Black and Latinx households and households with children.  
  

Key findings from the ERS report:

  • Over 38 million Americans lived in households that struggled against hunger.
  • One in 10 households (10.5 percent) in America experienced food insecurity.
  • The rate of food insecurity for households with children increased from 13.6 in 2019 to 14.8 percent in 2020.
  • Black (21.7 percent) and Latinx (17.2 percent) households were disproportionately impacted by food insecurity in 2020, with food insecurity rates triple and double the rate of White households (7.1 percent), respectively.
  • In rural areas, 11.6 percent of households experienced food insecurity.
  • Rates of very low food security were 3.9 percent in 2020.  

The data collection for the food security survey is complex and may have been disrupted by COVID-19. USDA recommends that “more research is needed to understand the dynamics of food insecurity and other food hardships in U.S. households during the pandemic.”  
 
These rates may underestimate the extent of America’s hunger problem. These findings may not truly reflect the rates of food hardship, given that most of the research during the pandemic indicates that food hardship has increased, but we know that things would be far worse without federal nutrition programs.  
 
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s first line of defense against hunger. The study clearly shows that boosts to SNAP benefits have gone a long way in ensuring tens of millions of households across the country can better afford to put nutritious food on the table while also stimulating the economy, yet we see more needs to be done to address the racial and ethnic inequities in food and economic security.
 
Households with children who missed out on school meals and child care were able to access meals due to child nutrition waivers issued by USDA that allow families to access free meals through alternative means such as “grab and go” school meal pickup sites.  


The new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program helped lift millions of children out of hunger during nationwide school closures. P-EBT provides nutritional resources to families who have lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to school closures.
 
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) improves participants’ health, dietary intake, birth, and health outcomes. During the first year of COVID-19, WIC waivers made the program and its services more accessible by allowing families to enroll and receive services via telehealth (includes phone calls, video chats, emails, and text messages).   
 
USDA has implied substantial investments in safety net programs like these may have contributed to mitigating hunger during the pandemic. However, more work needs to be done — 1 in 10 households is still unacceptably high. Greater investments are needed as more families face a looming hunger cliff. While SNAP baseline benefits were recently adjusted after years of inattention, supplemental unemployment benefits have expired, the 15 percent boost to SNAP benefits will expire later this month, and other pandemic-related boosts to SNAP could also end over the next several weeks.  
 
As millions of families struggle against hunger, we strongly encourage lawmakers to continue making additional strides to strengthen federal nutrition programs.
 
Hunger is solvable. We just need the political will to make it happen.

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The Food Research & Action Center improves the nutrition, health, and well-being of people struggling against poverty-related hunger in the United States through advocacy, partnerships, and by advancing bold and equitable policy solutions. To learn more, visit FRAC.org and follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

 

  

About Us

FRAC is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States. Visit our websiteto learn more.

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Food Research & Action Center
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Washington, District of Columbia 20036
(202) 986-2200
nsmall@frac.org

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