The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

New SNAP calculator, SNAP Gap #Food4Tech, Working Groups - LOTS of Updates !

Thanks again to all of you who participated in yesterday’s SNAP Coalition meeting – 92 participants, WOW!  And huge thanks again to DTA for keeping all the SNAP engines firing with the SNAP supplement, waiving interviews  and pursuing additional flexibilities around Interim Reports and Recerts (more to follow).  And here is MLRI’s flow chart - designed by the fantastic Vicky Negus - on when a SNAP applicant needs an interview during COVID (as in, barely never if they household gets the proofs in!)

New simplified online MA SNAP Calculator!! 

SNAP math was never so easy!  We are delighted to share a new, sleek, mobile-friendly online SNAP Calculator- designed by MLRI’s  website team, Lily Yang and Rochelle Hahn.   Check it out!  Direct link HERE, and MLS link here: https://www.masslegalservices.org/content/online-snap-calculator . (Reminder, during COVID, all SNAP benefits are “topped off” to the maximum level.)

MLRI analysis of Governor’ House 2 Budget:

In January, Governor Baker released the FY21 House 2 budget… and then COVID released itself. Governor Baker released a revisedslimmed down FY21 House 2 Budget last week. Here’s MLRI’s analysis of selected sections of the Guv’s Revised House 2 budget.

SNAP Gap and #Tech4Food Campaign – Please weigh in with Guv Baker!

In August, Governor Baker approved Chapter 151 of the Acts of 2020 which, among other authorized financing, includes Legislative permission for the Baker Administration to borrow $5M in financing to make the systems changes to allow low-income health care consumers to apply for SNAP at the same time.  As reported recently, 90 Senators and Representatives - lead by Senator Sal DiDomenico and Rep Jay Livingstone- sent a letter on 10.19.20  to the Governor . On Monday, 10.26-20, 92 Massachusetts  organizations also sent a letter to Governor Baker urging him to use the IT Bond Bill funding (see attached)!

ACTION STEPS: 

·         Please use your FB, Twitter and other social media to urge Governor Baker to move forward on the IT Bond financing. Use the hashtags #Tech4Food and #CloseSNAPGap   We need to keep the noise level up!  Stay tuned for additional actions post 11/3.  Here's the Governoir's twitter handles:  @MassGovernor @CharlieBakerMA

·         And at NOON today, the Boston City Council Is taking up a SNAP Gap resolution, #1077 offered by Councilor Wu, urging Governor Baker to implement the IT Bond Bill funding. Please tweet this out as well. #Tech4Food  Hearing at Noon can be found HERE.

MA Congressman Jim McGovern honored by New England Council!

Our beloved anti-hunger champ Jim McGovern was honored this week by the New England Council (a consortium representing the interests of business organizations throughout NE). Speaker Nancy Pelosi also attended the event virtually and spoke eloquently about Jim McGovern and his work. Here’s a link to the NEC tweet  highlighting his award.   

ACTION STEP: Please take a moment to shower Jim McGovern with lots of love and appreciation for all he does for the nation’s lowest income households . Thank him and Speaker Pelosi for their fight to #BoostSNAPNow. Here’s their hashtags: @RepMcGovern @SpeakerPelosi

Two SNAP Coalition WORKING GROUPS

·         MA Anti-Hunger WORKING GROUP on “Transition Planning.”  As each federal election cycle grinds toward the finish line, it is traditional for advocates and stakeholders to identify important issues for the next federal Administration to tackle. On yesterday’s call we discussed pulling a group of advocates and individuals with lived experience to come up with priority recommendations from Massachusetts that are specific to SNAP and anti-hunger programs. We hope to share these priorities with the next federal Administration’s Transition Team – whichever Party wins. Note - Transition planning moves FAST.  If you would like to be part of this Working Group, please send a quick email to Pat Baker PBaker@mlri.org

 

·         DTA Closed Offices and Client Access WORKING GROUP.  Also at yesterday’s meeting, DTA and advocates discussed the challenges low income families and individuals are facing accessing DTA services, especially homeless, phoneless households, individuals with limited English proficiency, disabilities and/or other barriers that require more in-person access. DTA is clearly open to input from the SNAP Coalition, Legal Services advocates  local DTA Advisory Boards.  If you would like to join a working group to further discuss this issue, please reach out to Pat Baker at MLRI. PBaker@mlri.org

October SNAP emergency allotment:

Just a reminder, the October SNAP emergency allotment will get released @ November 2nd.  If your clients are getting less than the maximum SNAP benefit, tell them to check DTAConnect for their balance after the weekend. 

Halloween in Salem upended with COVID, food pantry lines triple

Just flagging yesterday’s Boston Globe story of how Salem is not only losing a vital element of its annual economy with the shuttering of most Halloween activities due to COVID, the Salem Food Pantry has seen a tripling of the food pantry clients, from 900 to over 2,400 in the past few months.  This is exactly why we need Congress to pass the HEROES Act as soon as possible – if not now, then in Lame Duck session!  Keep up the noise!  #BoostSNAPNow  Amplify my tweet HERE.

More media statement on federal ABAWD litigation:

If you did not have a chance to read it, this Politico article is a very good read on the DC District Court decision stopping the Trump Administration from implementing the horrid ABAWD waiver rules. And here’s a link to MLRI’s statement on the DC litigation (link in last eblast did not work).

As Ellen Vollinger of FRAC said on yesterday’s call, the volume of comments from community organizations and impacted households, including from Massachusetts, was HUGE in the Judge’s decision!  THANK YOU!  Take a bow!! And never-ever underestimate the power of an informed comment! 

 
NO Coalition meeting on 11/3.  Next SNAP Coalition one is Tuesday, 11/10/20.

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