Thursday, October 6, 2011


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Senator urges feds to boost funds for SNAP benefits, emergency food

WASHINGTON – Citing census data she says show more than 700,000 New Yorkers living in poverty, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, called for more federal funding for the nation’s food stamp and emergency food programs to aid impoverished New York families and underserved communities. For many families trying to survive on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or monthly food stamps, their benefits only last until the third week of the month while many soup kitchens and food pantries continue to experience chronic food shortages. Gillibrand proposed an increase in SNAP benefits levels under the 2012 Farm Bill’s Nutrition title, increasing monthly assistance for a family of four by an estimated $144 and also pushed for more emergency aid for food banks running out of meals for hungry children and communities.   

“Hunger and food insecurity in New York have reached disturbing, historic highs and food bank shelves have gone bare,” said Gillibrand. “We must take immediate action to make sure we’re helping New York children and families during these difficult times.” 

According to new Census data, between 2009 and 2010, 702,000 households across New York state live in poverty, an 11% increase from the 2007 to 2008 period and the highest level since the mid-1990s. In New York City, 75,000 residents are living in poverty, pushing the poor population to more than 1.6 million. Poverty among New York City residents rose to 20.1%, with nearly 1 in 5 city households relying on food stamps. 

The Census Bureau also showed that SNAP has lifted 3.9 Million Americans above the poverty line.  New York was the state where SNAP made the largest percentage point difference in lifting households above 101 percent of the poverty level.