August 30, 2021

Organizations From Across Florida Sign Letter Urging State Action on Summer P-EBT Proposal

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.

Diverse coalition of signees includes regional food banks, faith groups, farmers markets, and United Ways

ORLANDO, Fla. - Eighty-one organizations from across the state are calling on state leadership to act quickly or risk losing out on $820 million in federal food assistance for over 2 million children in Florida.

In a letter spearheaded by the nonprofit Florida Policy Institute (FPI), groups urge Gov. Ron DeSantis and Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris to help fight food insecurity among low-income children through the Summer Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program (Summer P-EBT), noting that “it is not too late” to help families “who have already carried much of the burden of meal costs for their children over the summer and are playing catch up from added food and other pandemic-related costs.”

“The well-being of children is of the utmost importance as we all continue to navigate policy solutions amid the pandemic,” said Sadaf Knight, CEO of FPI. “These federal dollars for Summer P-EBT are an integral part of reducing food insecurity for families who are struggling to make ends meet.”

Florida is one of only a handful of states that have not submitted a plan for Summer P-EBT, which provides federal funding at no cost to states to deliver grocery benefits to children who missed out on free or reduced-price meals while their school or child care facilities were closed during the summer.

Children of color are disproportionately harmed by delaying P-EBT. The letter highlights this disparity, stating that nationwide “roughly 51 percent of children in Black households, 47 percent in Latino households, and 30 percent in white households live in families that have trouble covering typical living expenses, such as food, housing, car payments, and medical expenses.”

FPI is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing state policies and budgets that improve the economic mobility and quality of life for all Floridians.

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