L.A. Lawmakers Want More People On Food Stamps

A special unit has been created to help boost enrollment in the state's CalFresh food stamp program. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors say they want to help ease pressure on local food banks, as well as secure $1.8 billion in federal funding. 

The vote from the L.A. Board of Supervisors came on the same day President Trump's proposed budget was released that include nearly $191 billion in cuts (over ten years) to food stamp programs nationwide. 

The sponsors of the measure, Supervisor Sheila Kuhl and Janice Hahn said in a statement that the CalFresh program was important for those families in need.

“The CalFresh Program is the first line of defense against poverty and food insecurity for low-income families and communities,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “This motion helps ensure that the County is doing its part in ensuring that residents can put nutritious food on the table and lead healthy lives.”

“There are families going hungry in LA County despite the fact that they qualify for help,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “CalFresh can make a world of difference for a family in need and we have to do a better job in LA County making sure our most vulnerable residents know that help is available.”

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps or SNAP, (CalFresh here in California), provides assistance to families who are out of work, or in poverty. Those individuals and households that earn a gross monthly income that is 130% (or less) of the federal poverty level qualify for benefits. As an example, a household of four, the SNAP eligible gross monthly income is $2,552 or less. 

Taxpayers spent around $70 billion for the more than 44 million Americans that took part in the food stamp program nationwide last year according to a report from the USDA. 

Lawmakers also say that by getting more families to participate in the food stamp program, it would also result in a $2 billion bump in economic activity for the county. 

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