skip to main content

Thursday, June 1, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

WI working family advocates shine a spotlight on Reps' voting records; a new report says that Phoenix area can't meet groundwater demands; Nevada sporting community sends top 10 priorities to Gov. Lombardo's desk.

play newscast audioPlay

The Senate aims to get the debt limit spending bill to President Biden's desk quickly, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis makes a campaign stop in Iowa, and a new survey finds most straight adults support LGBTQ+ rights.

play newscast audioPlay

Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

WA Bill Provides Food Assistance in Face of Federal 'Cliff' to Aid

play audio
Play

Tuesday, February 14, 2023   

The pandemic-era boost to federal food aid is scheduled to end soon, but legislation in Olympia aims to help fill the gap in hunger relief. The emergency allotments for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, increased food assistance during COVID-19 but will expire in March. House Bill 1784 in the Washington State Legislature would provide $28-million in food aid as soon April, if it passes.

Jake Garcia, public policy manager for Northwest Harvest said the end of emergency allotments will mean drastic cuts in aid for vulnerable populations.

"It's going to hurt folks who are seniors and people with disabilities the most, and so they'll actually go from receiving $218 a month to about $23 a month in basic food benefits," he said. "So, it's a cliff."

The bill in Olympia would allocate funds for hunger-relief organizations and programs for older Washingtonians and create incentives for fruit and vegetable purchases for low-income Washingtonians. It had a public hearing on Monday and is scheduled for an executive session on Thursday.

Mike Cohen, executive director of the Bellingham Food Bank, said people are in need, and that will increase once emergency allotments for SNAP end. He added when other pandemic benefit programs started winding down in 2022, the change was significant.

"We really saw a sharp spike in shopper visits to our food bank that we were not prepared for," Cohen said. "We thought we might get busier but we doubled our weekly number of visits and continue to hold that pace, and it's growing."

Garcia said Washingtonians are struggling with high food prices, too, and urged lawmakers to consider people's lived experiences with hunger, adding the local conversations about families are more dire than those happening in the Capitol.

"The conversations at dinner tables is, 'Hey, we don't have milk. We don't have eggs. We don't have the staples.' It's a radically different conversation, and I think that's something is getting lost on some of our legislators in Olympia," Garcia said.

Disclosure: Northwest Harvest contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Poverty Issues, Sustainable Agriculture. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
A new park, San Vicente Redwoods, opened up late last year near Santa Cruz, Calif., in an area previously ravaged by fire and logging. (Nadia Hamey)

Environment

play sound

This Saturday, June 3, thousands of Californians will be among hundreds of thousands of Americans heading into the great outdoors to celebrate …


Social Issues

play sound

A coalition of Wisconsin groups is asking Gov. Tony Evers to reject bills it contends would make it harder for people struggling to get by to bounce …

Social Issues

play sound

Two months from today, Minnesota will begin the process of removing low-level marijuana convictions for those who have them on their criminal records…


Alabama is one of only three states still applying its full state sales tax on the purchase of groceries and food items. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Groups working to fight poverty in Alabama are urging state senators to approve a bill aimed at lowering food costs for families. House Bill 479 …

Social Issues

play sound

Navigating college can seem overwhelming for first generation students, but an early outreach program at Arizona State University aims to change it…

Nebraska was one of 10 states to further restrict abortion access in the 2023 legislative session. At least 48 bills were passed involving restrictions for LGBTQ+ individuals. (Yurii Kibalnik/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

play sound

A new Nebraska law is now the subject of a lawsuit filed in the District Court of Lancaster County. In its amended form, Legislative Bill 574 …

Social Issues

play sound

A proposal from the federal government could provide a better path toward student loan debt repayment, but a new survey finds many borrowers don't …

Environment

play sound

Maine lawmakers are considering two pieces of legislation which supporters said are needed to ensure "responsible" development of offshore wind projec…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021