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August 24, 2021

Florida missing out on millions of dollars in federal aid for childhood hunger

This post was last updated on December 8, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Katie Santich writes:

"Florida has “made no effort” to apply for $820 million in pandemic SNAP benefits intended to help more than 2 million low-income children have enough to eat during the summer, making it one of only a handful of states ignoring the program, advocates said Tuesday.

The funds, made available under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, would cover up to 90 days of summer break between school years — a one-time bonus of $375 in benefits per child under SNAP, the Supplemental Food Assistance Program, or food stamps. The benefit can be awarded retroactively.

...

'Given the enormous impact that COVID-19 has had on our state’s most vulnerable families, it doesn’t make sense just to leave this money on the table,' said attorney Cindy Huddleston, a senior policy analyst with the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added]. 'We don’t want that window to close.'"

Read more at orlandosentinel.com

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