Crucial Anti-Hunger Bills Passed by D.C. Council
March 7, 2023
By Blake Turpin, Anti-Hunger Program Associate
This blog is Part 1 in a two-part series. Part 1 focuses on the impact of the end of SNAP Emergency Allotments in Washington, D.C. Part 2 highlights two anti-hunger bills passed by the D.C. Council to address food insecurity in the District — the Give SNAP a Raise Amendment Act and the No Senior Hungry Omnibus Amendment Act.
In December 2022, the D.C. Council passed two anti-hunger bills to address food insecurity in the District — the Give SNAP a Raise Amendment Act and the No Senior Hungry Omnibus Amendment Act. These bills come at a key moment, as many D.C. families have recently seen will soon see their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit amounts decrease as a result of the end of SNAP Emergency Allotments.
When it comes to food insecurity in the District, SNAP is our first line of defense to combat this issue. The Give SNAP a Raise Amendment Act, introduced by Councilmember Christina Henderson, is an important step in increasing these benefits and improving access to healthy, nutritious foods.
According to a press release from Councilmember Henderson, the current average SNAP benefit “leaves most participants about $100 short each month of what they need for an adequate healthy diet, resulting in a $160 million SNAP food security gap citywide.” This act would increase the monthly SNAP payment a household receives by providing a locally-funded benefit equal to 10 percent of the household’s maximum federal monthly benefit. This additional benefit would bring SNAP benefits for D.C. residents to a level consistent with food expenses under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Low-Cost Food Plan.
Give SNAP a Raise makes crucial investments in SNAP and promotes food security for the more than 141,000 residents participating in the program. This much- needed increase in SNAP benefits will ensure District residents have more equitable access to healthy food, assist individuals and families as temporary pandemic-era benefits come to an end, and make Washington, D.C., the first city in the U.S. to establish a local SNAP supplement for its residents.
No Senior Hungry
The No Senior Hungry Omnibus Amendment Act, introduced by former The act includes:
- the creation of a Senior Food Security Plan that describes the state of senior food security in the District, identifies available senior nutrition services, and recommends strategies to improve the nutrition quality of foods served to seniors;
- the establishment of a Senior Nutrition Services Communications Plan to describe and address outreach needs, share best practices for reaching seniors, and update District agencies’ websites and application portals;
- the creation of an Interagency Senior Food Security Taskforce to regularly evaluate the District’s programs and policies related to senior food security and advise new programs and policies; and
- the adoption of the shorter, more accessible SNAP Elderly Simplified Application Project application, along with a standard medical deduction for older adult applicants to simplify the collection of medical expense information.
This act is a major step in addressing food insecurity among our communities, working to support the thousands of older adults in the District whose hunger needs are not being properly addressed. It will also ensure they are connected with the services they need.
D.C. Hunger Solutions applauds the D.C. Council for passing these important pieces of legislation, and we urge D.C. Council to fully fund these initiatives.