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Governor Newsom Proposes Significant Investments in Anti-Hunger Programs

January 11, 2022

Yesterday morning, Governor Newsom released his proposed budget blueprint for 2022-23, which outlines a wide range of important investments towards fighting hunger, including a landmark investment of $50 million for CalFood. We applaud Governor Newsom for continuing to center the needs of low-income Californians in his vision, especially as we work towards an equitable recovery from the pandemic which has been so devastating for millions of Californians.

We are grateful to Governor Newsom for the $50 million one-time investment in CalFood for food banks to purchase California-grown foods— a win-win in fighting hunger and supporting California farmers. Additionally, Governor Newsom’s budget blueprint proposes over 1 billion dollars for realizing the vision for School Meals for All, broadening access to food benefits for older adults regardless of immigration status, and expanding the impact of critical anti-poverty programs like CalWORKS and the Young Child Tax Credit. Taken together, these and other proposals are a promising and significant step toward a hunger-free California for all.  

These investments are especially critical because the unfortunate fact remains that one in five Californians are still experiencing hunger, with the disproportionate impact being felt in Black and Latinx communities.

CalFood is a critical program that provides food banks throughout the state discretion to purchase the unique foods that best meet their communities’ needs. The Governor’s proposal for a $50 million, one-time investment is in addition to the ongoing $8 million CalFood investment that food banks have received in recent years. While CAFB member food banks indicate the need for at least $120 million of additional food to meet the sustained need throughout the state, this is a promising recognition of the network’s needs

Two other key investments in anti-hunger programs from the Governor’s budget announcement:

School Meals:
• $596 million to fund universal access to school meals.
• $450 million one-time over three years to upgrade school kitchen infrastructure and equipment.
• $3 million one-time for Summer Meal Start-Up and Expansion Grant Program.
• $60 million one-time over two years for Farm to School

California Food Assistance Program (i.e., Food4All campaign):
$35.2 million to expand the CFAP program to Californians 55 and older regardless of immigration status.

Additional important investments in broader anti-poverty and anti-hunger programs include:

CalWORKS: Estimated $200 million to fund a projected 7.1% increase to the Maximum Aid Payment levels, and estimated $187 million in annual “pass-through” to formerly assisted families of child support payments.

Young Child Tax Credit: Expansion of the $1,000 per household tax credit for families who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and have a child who is age 5 or younger.

Medi-Cal: $53.2 million annually to reduce Medi-Cal premiums for ~500,000 pregnant women, children and disabled working adults. 

Non-Profit Hospital Community Benefits: Requiring non-profit hospitals to demonstrate how they are making investments in local health efforts, specifically community-based organizations that address the social determinants of health. 

Circular Economy: $270 million one-time over two years to support a circular economy, to support implementation of goals to reduce short-lived climate pollutants including edible food recovery.

SSI/SSP: No additional investments were made. This is a missed opportunity to reduce poverty and hunger for seniors and people with disabilities. Today’s budget summary reiterates the investment in the previous budget, which is a partial reversal of Great Recession era cuts effective January 2022, and an intention to increase SSP grants further in 2024 (though not enough for an individual grant to reach today’s federal poverty level). We will continue to fight for this intended SSP grant increase to be accelerated to January 2023 and for the increase to be enough so that the full grant is above the federal poverty level in the current year. Ultimately, grants must establish grants at the Elder Economic Index, as stated in California’s Master Plan for Aging, that sets a minimum level for a dignified life.

CAFB will continue to advocate for $60 million ongoing CalFood funding and $60 million one-time for 2022, as well as $180 million one-time to support food bank capacity and climate resilience. We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to secure these in the final 2022-23 budget act.

In the meantime, you can find more information about CAFB’s 2022 State Policy Agenda and the fact sheets for our three food bank budget requests (CalFood, Capacity & Climate Resilience, and State Disaster Food Assistance Program (SDFAP)):

Follow us on Twitter for more policy-related updates: @cafoodbanks

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