Struggling Long Islanders face further pain in Republican bid to cut food aid
Recession-battered low income families on Long Island are facing more pain in a Republican drive to cut funding for federal food programs.
One out of 10 Long Islanders, including 110,000 children, are facing severe food shortages, reports Island Harvest, a food bank which provides food and supply to a network of over 550 local food pantries, soup kitchens and non-profit organizations working with at-risk families and the homeless.
In New York State the food stamp program known officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, serves almost one out of six residents monthly – in Nassau County alone it serves around 62,000 people.
Over 40 percent of all recipients are children. That’s according to Dawn Secor, a food stamp specialist from the Nutrition Consortium of NYS.
Families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population and over 40 percent are families with children. Long Island activists say that 12 percent of American families are only two paychecks away from becoming homeless.
In April the House approved a Republican proposal to overhaul the $65 billion food stamp program, SNAP, in the general effort to cut on public spending.
This legislation still has to pass the Senate but the proposal has created an outcry among local authorities, food agencies and non-profit organizations working with at-risk families and homeless people on Long Island.
“The proposed cuts to the nutrition assistance programs – as well as cuts to housing, child care, and other safety net programs – would make it harder for families to recover from the recession and add demand to already over-strapped food banks,” said Eric Olsen, Senior Vice President, Goverment Relations, Feeding America.
INTERACTIVE: MORE FACTS ABOUT HOMELESSNESS ON LONG ISLAND