We hope you are gearing up for a relaxing Thanksgiving break with family and friends. We are writing to share important resources for the Massachusetts families you work with, and resources to help you continue to raise awareness of food insecurity.
1. USCIS issues updated guidance 11/16 on public charge
We know that many immigrant households still remain fearful of getting SNAP, WIC, NSLP, TEFAP, health care, housing and other non-cash benefits for which they qualify. USCIS issued an updated interagency letter on 11/16/21 that reiterates that receipt of nutrition, healthcare, housing, childcare and other non-cash benefits are not considered in “public charge” determinations. The interagency letter also states: “Additionally, we do not consider special-purpose cash assistance not intended for income maintenance such as medical treatment or preventive services for COVID-19, including vaccinations.”
We often hear from immigrant households that they would like to have copies of “official” government guidance that addresses USCIS public charge policies, in addition to community org fliers. We hope this helps.
2. Short videos in 9 language dispelling myths on immigrant receipt of vaccinations and public charge
Though vaccination rates have improved, research and experience show that many immigrant families continue to avoid vaccination and other health and social services because of concerns about immigration consequences. Our national partners at the Protecting Immigrant Families coalition (PIF) developed this video in partnership with organizations that work directly with immigrant Black, Latino, and AAPI families. The vaccine outreach video directs families to vaccines.gov.
The full-length video is about 2 minutes and there are 60-second and 30-second versions also available in 9 languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Haitian Creole, English, French, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. We’ve also posted the video on MassLegalServices here and shared the video with DTA, DPH and DESE. We hope you will help get the video in front of families who need to see it.
3. Congressional Hunger Center toolkit
The Congressional Hunger Center has just rolled out a new resource to help small groups and individuals spark discussions about hunger and advocacy in the U.S. "Food Insecurity in the U.S.: Problems, Programs, and Policy" is a 10-minute video which covers the definition of food insecurity in the U.S. and its root causes, introduces SNAP, WIC, and child nutrition programs as the most effective policy solutions to food insecurity, and shows ways viewers can get involved in advocacy at the local and federal level. The accompanying guide provides discussion questions and ways for small groups to take action or continue exploring topics of interest.
· Video and discussion guide: https://hungercenter.
· Blog post / media release introducing the resource: https://hungercenter.org/
NEXT SNAP Coalition meeting: Tuesday, December 7th from 10 to 11:30. Look out for an agenda link after the holiday weekend. Zoom link here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/