All Bad News for the Food Stamps Program
Bad: On November 1, there was a cut to benefits that had been put in effect at the start of the downturn. This cost each household a small amount of their monthly allocation by about 5%. This was tough to absorb and we know that Cosgrove and some of the other meal programs have seen a sharp increase in people requesting help with food. The Plain Dealer had a nice guest column from Daniel Saltzman of Dave's Supermarket about this issue earlier this week, and an editorial condemning the cuts.
Worse: By the first of the year, the State of Ohio has decided not to accept a waiver for the local community that was available to exempt the work requirements. The State legislature has only granted a waiver for six rural communities. These waivers went into place during the Great Recession when unemployment shot up and people could not find work. Now, these workers will have to volunteer or conduct work activities for 60 to 80 hours per month in order to get the chump change in food assistance available. This means that Cuyahoga County will have to interview 29,000 people who receive help to see if they have a disability or some other reason they should be exempt from the work rules. Some counties are just informing people that they have to do work or they will be cut from the program. The County has set a meeting to discuss these changes with those who participate in the program next week--details are below:
Cuyahoga Job and Family Services Community Forum
Food Assistance Policy Changes and the Reinstatement of Federal Work Requirements
CLEVELAND –Cuyahoga Job and Family Services is hosting a Community Educational Forum on the new food assistance policy changes and accompanying work requirements, on Tuesday, November 19th, from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. The Forum will be held at Cuyahoga Community College (CCC) Institutional Advancement Building (formerly VNA), at 2500 E 22nd St, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.
The Forum will educate the community about changes to the Food Assistance Program and the reinstatement of federal work requirements for the population consisting of able bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD).
Registration is online at www.cjfs.cuyahogacounty.us/. For information call 216-987-7010.
Disaster: There are competing proposals at the federal level to cut the Food Stamp program even more. The Senate is proposing $4.5 billion cut over 10 years which would be rough on the population. The House has proposed a $40 billion cut over 10 years with a lifetime ban on felons ever receiving food stamp assistance. So much for rehabilitation. Any further cuts are not defensible, but a $40 billion dollar cut is a dismantling of the program and an assault on hungry people.
Cuyahoga County Councilman Dan Brady is hosting a forum next Wednesday to discuss all these changes to the Food Stamp program. They will have presentations by the Foodbank and the Hunger Network and other advocates in the community. This is in Council chambers in the Justice Center Wednesday November 20 at 1 p.m. It is hoped that the County will have a unified voice to oppose these cuts at the federal level.
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