Please read these questions and let us know what your organization and others in our nation’s capitol are doing to move legislation and policy in a direction that helps those in need.
Virtually all states have budget deficits and extensive financial problems this year and beyond. The states are also the custodians and administrators of multi billions of dollars of federal assistance programs. State policies related to hunger and poverty contain a great deal of state money that is in short supply right now but much more federal money that can grow as the use of the programs grows.
These state policy questions are meant to begin a conversation about how states can deliver more services to their citizens who are facing extreme long term unemployment, hunger, home foreclosures and loss of health insurance and pensions.
Please read them and let us know what your organization and others in your state are doing to move legislation and policy in a direction that helps those in need, especially the poorest of the poor, the millions of new poor, seniors, returning vets, children and the homeless.
Our intention is to create a place on our website that will highlight policy actions that state based organizations are taking and how they are proceeding. We also hope to host a WhyHunger State Policy Award for the best state policies in the U.S.A.
hat other statewide policies or programs are you aware of that are helping to fight hunger and poverty, or are there any that are responsible for increasing it?
1) Washington D.C. has the highest income per capita in the nation. It is also the most unequal state in terms of income distribution. It has the 5th highest percentage of its population living in poverty and the highest percentage of its population living in extreme poverty. Children living in poverty is the 2nd highest percentage among all the states at 31.3%. What efforts are being made to combat poverty in this state? Who is involved?
2) Although the percentage of eligible people participating in SNAP is one of the highest in the nation, participation among the working poor is one the worst rates. Is there any effort to target those that need SNAP most and increase participation among the working poor?
3) Washington D.C. has some of the highest seasonal benefits available for the WIC and Senior Farmers’ Market Programs. However, the number of farmers markets participating in these programs is low. How is participation in these programs being bolstered? Who is involved?
4) Washington D.C. has the highest infant mortality rate in the country at 13.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. What is being done to reduce this rate?
5) Unemployment at 9.7% is the 13th highest rate in the country. However, only 20% of those eligible to receive unemployment insurance do so. Are there any efforts being taken to increase the number of people receiving unemployment insurance? If not, what can/should be done?
6) The percent of the population that is homeless is the highest in the nation. A large percent of mortgage holders and renters spend 30% or more of their income on monthly owner costs/rent and utilities. What efforts are being made to decrease the number of people who lose their homes? Is there any work being done to increase the amount of low-income, affordable housing available?
7) There is currently no State LIHEAP. Is there any effort being made to introduce one?
8) There is no state Pre-K program. Is there any movement to establish a one?
9) Washington D.C. leads the nation in the number of children in the Summer Nutrition Program per 100 in the School Lunch Program. Are there any special features of this program that lead to these high levels of participation?
10) Washington D.C.’s High School completion rate (68.8%) is more than 15% lower than the national average. What is being done to insure that more children stay in school and earn their diplomas? Have any of these efforts been successful?
11) What other statewide policies or programs are you aware of that are helping to fight hunger and poverty, or are there any that are responsible for increasing it?
Please let us know what your organization and others in your state are doing to move legislation and policy in a direction to address these questions by contacting Executive Director and Co-Founder Bill Ayres at [email protected].
Feel free to inform us of any mistakes we may have made in any of these questions. Also we would appreciate any comments on policies or statistics that might have been overlooked.