Mayor Young Leads USCM Mayors to Oppose Potential Cuts to SNAP
Friday Aug 23rd, 2019
USCM Food Policy Taskforce Sends Letter to USDA against Proposed Categorical Eligibility Provision
BALTIMORE, MD. — On August 21, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young joined his co-chair of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) Food Policy Taskforce, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (Washington, D.C.), and chair of the Children’s Health and Human Services Standing Committee, Mayor Levar M. Stoney (Richmond, VA), in taking action to issue a joint letter to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) opposing the proposed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) categorical eligibility provision. 70 mayors across the country signed on. These mayors joined over 100 members of Congress, including Baltimore’s delegation, in opposing the rule to revise the use of broad-based categorical eligibility for SNAP, which will make it harder for millions of individuals to get the nutrition assistance they need.
Today, Mayor Young joined local leaders and advocates to discuss this proposal in relation to Baltimore. “SNAP is proven to reduce food insecurity in the most vulnerable populations, help lift residents out poverty, and spur our local and regional economies,” said Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. “Therefore, I oppose any proposed policies that restrict SNAP. USDA is using executive action to change what Congress reauthorized in the Farm Bill. Deliberate measures to reduce SNAP will only increase hunger and place additional burden on residents, especially older adults and children.”
Nationally, 3.1 million individuals will lose SNAP benefits with this proposed ruling. The vast majority of SNAP benefits go to households with children, seniors, or a person with a disability.
Baltimore would be impacted in the following ways:
- Escalate Food Insecurity: In Baltimore, 166,000 residents receive SNAP each month. Based on USDA’s national estimate, approximately 9%, or 15,000 Baltimoreans, will no longer be eligible for SNAP.
- Disproportionately Impact Older Adults: 13% of households receiving SNAP with one or more older adults would lose benefits, putting seniors in a position of having to choose between food, medication, and housing.
- Exacerbate Child Food Insecurity: For food insecure children, receiving SNAP and eating free school meals are linked to improved school performance, better health, and childhood development. SNAP participation is a factor in school meal reimbursement rates and poverty-based education funding streams at both the state and federal level, such as Federal Title I Funding and Maryland State Compensatory Education and the new Concentration of Poverty Grants. Lower SNAP rates mean fewer resources for school meals and potentially the elimination of universal free meals if the drop in SNAP is significant enough. Additionally, fewer school families in SNAP can result in less money for academics and school-based programming.
- Damage Baltimore’s Food Economy: SNAP is an economic driver for supermarkets, small food stores, and farmers markets in Baltimore City. This is especially true for food outlets in and near Healthy Food Priority Areas, many of which report the majority of their customers pay with SNAP. SNAP has a multiplier effect that bolsters the economy at-large and without it, Baltimore businesses will suffer.
- Increase Healthcare Costs: SNAP participation is proven to save money in the long run on health care costs, both for the participants and for our healthcare systems such as Medicare and Medicaid. SNAP participants incur nearly a quarter less in medical costs than low-income non-participants.
“We know that SNAP is a preventive strategy both in terms of health outcomes as well as healthcare spending. Proposals like this and others that jeopardize the future of SNAP are not about saving money or balancing a budget. These are calculated attacks on our proven safety nets and are meant to keep people poor, hungry and sick so that they cannot fully participate in our democracy,” said Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young.
Mayor Young rejects the short-sighted nature of this and other attempts to undermine SNAP. As co-chair of the USCM Food Policy Taskforce, he commits to protecting the programs that serve the most vulnerable populations and will hold leaders accountable during the upcoming reauthorization of the Older Americans Act and the Child Nutrition Reauthorization.