August 12, 2013 |
Life may get harsher and hungrier for nearly three million people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on Nov. 1, when food-stamp benefits will be cut overnight for the first time in U.S. history. It will mean 21 lost meals per month for a family of four - devastating arithmetic for families already living either on the edge or within the abyss of poverty, according to experts on food stamps, now called SNAP for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Why now? The federal stimulus of 2009 had temporarily boosted SNAP benefits to combat the recession.
August 7, 2013 |
With food-stamp benefits soon to drop and the prospect of an additional $40 billion in cuts to the federal program looming, New Jersey antihunger organizations worry that the need will grow and they won't be able to meet it. Across the country, food-stamp recipients will see a decrease in benefits Nov. 1, with the expiration of an increase that went into effect in 2009 as part of the federal stimulus. In New Jersey, where 858,000 people - about one in 10 residents - receive food stamps, a family of three will likely see benefits decrease by $29 a month, according to New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal-leaning think-tank.
July 28, 2013 |
In what advocates for the poor perceive as a puzzling irony, a Republican lawmaker from western Pennsylvania has embarked on a statewide tour to examine and discuss poverty. Rep. Dave Reed of Indiana County, chairman of the House Majority Policy Committee, said it was time "to truly re-evaluate government's approach to fighting poverty," adding that "a discussion on poverty is long overdue. " All too often, Reed said, "Republicans fail to recognize poverty as a real issue. And Democrats think that throwing more money at issues solves problems.
July 25, 2013
See the person behind the sign Finally, the individuals scouring the city streets are getting a voice and the ability to present their perspective to those who do not understand, or are quick to pass judgment and shame ("Life on the median," July 19). Several times over the past couple months, I've ventured into the city with my sister for doctor appointments and each time witnessed individuals similar to Samantha, who was profiled by Inquirer reporter Melissa Dribben. When I looked at them, to me, they were not addicts simply working the streets in order to pay for their addiction.
July 22, 2013 |
For the first time in 40 years, Congress has decided to give subsidies to farmers - many of them rich - while offering nothing to fund the food-stamp program that experts believe keeps poor Americans from starving. The decision last week comes after conservative Republicans in the House blocked a bill that would have slashed $20 billion from the food-stamp budget, saying the cut was too small. The antipoverty community in Philadelphia and throughout the nation is convulsed with anger.
July 19, 2013
AS A SYMBOL of the dysfunction of Congress - and of this country - you can't do much better than the steaming cowpie that is the farm bill. It's a complicated bill that is supposed to establish agricultural policy for the country every five years, but is seen by many to be a corporate-welfare program, providing price supports, loans and insurance subsidies, including hefty subsidies for cotton, sugar and peanut farmers and other big agribusiness....
July 12, 2013
DURING A crowded launch of Mayor Nutter's new anti-poverty initiative yesterday at the Free Library, someone observed, "It costs a lot to be poor. " And that, among the many dispiriting facts and helpful observations uttered yesterday, might be the most meaningful. Poverty extracts a huge price tag from individuals - in health, well-being, future potential and general living conditions, to name just a few. But poverty also extracts a high price from all of us in the city. Some of those costs can be measured specifically, like the nearly $300 million that the city spends for "health and opportunity," which includes public health and housing (but not the library, or parks and rec)
July 9, 2013
Pennsylvania and New Jersey should be ashamed to be among the worst states in the nation in meeting federal rules by getting food stamps to the needy within 30 days. Their bureaucratic delays create more hardships for families struggling to put food on the table. An Inquirer analysis found that New Jersey processes food-stamp applications within 30 days only about 74 percent of the time. Only Guam, Tennessee, Vermont, Hawaii, and Connecticut are worse. Pennsylvania ranked 39th on a list of 53, meeting the federal timeliness requirement only 81 percent of the time.
July 8, 2013 |
New Jersey is one of the slowest states in the nation in getting food stamps to needy people. Its performance is so poor, in fact, that the federal government is directing the state to improve, according to an examination of federal data by The Inquirer. States are required by U.S. law to get food stamps to people within 30 days, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the food-stamp program, now called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
June 27, 2013 |
Already under scrutiny for taking too long to process unemployment checks and home-energy assistance claims, Pennsylvania is also too slow in approving food-stamp applications, compelling the federal government to order the state to improve its performance. Pennsylvania ranks among the worst in the nation for getting food stamps to the needy within 30 days, as required by federal law, according to an Inquirer examination of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the food-stamp program.