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Don’t Let the Administration Shrink the Poverty Line: Submit a Comment Today!

June 21, 2019

Today is the last day to submit a comment regarding the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) request for comments on switching to a different measure of inflation for recalculating the poverty line each year. The California Association of Food Banks represents 41 food banks and 6,000 charitable partners working to end hunger in California. Every day, we stand on the front lines of hunger and see the challenges low-income Californians face to afford food and make ends meet. Yet, as hard as we work to help those struggling with hunger in our communities, we could never meet the need without federal nutrition programs like SNAP and other safety net programs that help low-income Californians meet their basic needs.

A change to the thresholds would affect a number of programs that are essential to mitigating the impacts of hunger and poverty, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, school meals, and other core safety net programs that help low-income Californians make ends meet. These programs rely on the federal poverty line to confer eligibility and even with the programs operating as they are, people are going hungry every day. Changing the threshold would only worsen the hunger crisis facing nearly 4 million low-income Californians, including 2 million children. According to Feeding America’s most recent Map the Meal Gap Report, approximately 4.3 million Californians are food insecure with more than a million hungry Californians currently not eligible for nutrition assistance—any change to the poverty rate would exacerbate hunger and poverty in our state.

We know that households just above the official poverty line report higher than average rates of food insecurity and have difficulty paying for rent, utilities and other basic needs. Shrinking the annual rate of increase in the Official Poverty Measure will artificially push people over the poverty line even though they struggle to make ends meet. 

Please take a moment today to submit a comment via Coalition on Human Needs and help push back against the latest efforts to cut assistance and redefine poverty. 

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