Food insecurity exists in every county and congressional district in the country. But not everyone struggling with hunger qualifies for federal nutrition programs.
On Long Island 42% and 35% of food insecure people in Nassau and Suffolk County respectively, are not eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or other Nutrition Programs. This means 69,533 Long Islanders struggle to put food on the table for their families. This includes 43,944 children. Almost half of food insecure children on Long Island are not eligible for help accessing food.
The House Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill (H.R. 5003) that was voted out of committee on May 18th would further put children’s food security at risk. The bill adds a NEW block grant provision that was added just before markup and remained intact despite efforts by Democrats to strike the provision. It also weakens community eligibility by raising the percentage of identified student threshold from 40 to 60 percent. This includes 5 Long Island schools that would lose Community Eligibility and about 72 schools that are currently eligible that would never get the chance to implement CEP if the bill is approved on the House floor.
However, on the State level, there has been an effort to address the gap between food insecure people and the percentage of those who are eligible for food assistance. As part of the 2016 State-of-the State, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State will raise the income level from 130% to 150% of the federal poverty level for the SNAP program. Raising the income guidelines is estimated to bring in $688.5 million in additional federal SNAP benefits to New Yorkers each year, with an estimated annual economic impact of $1.27 billion. The new FPL guidelines will go into effect on July 1, 2016.
Contact Members of the House Education and Workforce Committee letting them know your outrage and opposition to the committee passed bill (H.R.5003)
Find out more about food insecurity in Nassau and Suffolk County using Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap project