Food security advocates warn against proposed restriction to SNAP program
As budget negotiations at the Ohio Statehouse continue, food security advocates are sounding the alarm over what they say is a threat to families that rely on SNAP benefits. The Ohio Association of Foodbanks says more than one and a half million Ohioans rely on SNAP benefits to help them get nutritious food every week, and new restrictions proposed in the Ohio budget could limit who gets food and how often.
Opponents warn proposed SNAP changes would 'devastate' low-income Ohioans
A late addition to the Ohio Senate's budget proposal would place greater restrictions on the eligibility of SNAP benefits -- also known as food stamps -- for tens of thousands of Ohioans. The proposed provisions, which are similar to those included in a standalone Senate bill that died in committee earlier this year, have been met with fierce opposition from food banks, community advocacy organizations and churches.
"This may be the first summer without child hunger in Ohio, but it’s only thanks to temporary assistance from Congress. We must enact permanent and long-term policies in order to keep disaster from striking those most vulnerable. Next year will be worse unless we use this time to examine the policies that work and make long-term change. The time is now to invest in the future of Ohio’s families."
"Quite frankly, we could not have delivered the tremendous response without their leadership and assistance. We will never forget this gift of service," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, Ohio Association of Foodbanks executive director.
"One year ago, several hundred Ohio National Guard and Ohio Military Reserve members were deployed on a humanitarian mission at Ohio’s foodbanks. I can say, without hyperbole, that their arrival at foodbank warehouses, as the state implemented its stay-at-home order, was a lifesaving event."
On Tuesday, food bank operators, the counties’ Ohio Department of Job and Family Services association director, anti-poverty advocates and others urged lawmakers against cutting the social safety net during a still-raging pandemic that has destabilized the economy and increased unemployment rates. They said more paperwork requirements on top of an already cumbersome application process would cause needy families to slip through the cracks.