A report from the Hamilton Project highlights the lingering effects of the Great Recession on food insecurity…
There’s considerable state-by-state variation in food insecurity levels across the country, demonstrating once again that geography matters if you’re poor.
Here’s what Vilsack had to say about some states’ approach to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and whether SNAP should be eliminated in favor of a block grant (as House Speaker Paul Ryan has proposed):
I’m leery about block grants, just simply because I haven’t seen governors step up.
I alluded earlier, when we came in in 2009, there were states where a little over 50 percent of eligible people were actually receiving SNAP because that particular governor, that particular administration, did not care enough to make sure that people knew about these benefits, did not care enough to make sure that their bureaucracy was getting information out in languages that people could understand, did not care enough to simplify the process, so I’m skeptical.
The Obama administration has successfully increased overall SNAP participation levels to 85 percent, but Vilsack’s comments illustrate how seemingly minor local political decisions around SNAP education and outreach can affect enrollment in a program that effectively reduces food insecurity.