State's New Outreach Program and SNAP Related Training for Direct Service Partners

State's New Outreach Program and SNAP Related Training for Direct Service Partners
By Laura Milliken, Executive Director at New Hampshire Hunger Solutions
 
The cornerstone of the federal food assistance safety net is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (also known as food stamps). It is our country's first line of defense against hunger and food insecurity. 
 
We know that:
  • New Hampshire is now 39th in the nation in SNAP participation.
  • Analysis of SNAP participation by NH Hunger Solutions shows that only about half of eligible people are enrolled
  • The majority – 60% - of eligible older adults in NH are not enrolled.
  • Estimates are that as many as ⅓ of eligible children may not be enrolled.
  • In the week ending June 13:
    • 79,912 NH residents said they didn't have enough food
    • More than a third of NH residents reported it was somewhat or very difficult to pay for usual household expenses (that's nearly 400,000 people). (US Census Pulse Survey).
  • The rising inflation that we've all experienced is also affecting food prices, which have increased by 12%.
NH Has not had a SNAP Outreach Program since September 2017. Senate Bill 404 to establish a SNAP Outreach Plan, passed in the last legislative session, will ensure that NH will always have a SNAP outreach plan in years to come. DHHS recently released an RFP for a SNAP Outreach contractor who would help eligible people know about and access the program.
 
SNAP not only keeps our neighbors from hunger, but communities gain from the multiplier effect of SNAP dollars being spent in the local community. For every SNAP dollar that comes into our state, it is estimated to stimulate at least $1.50 in local economic activity. For example, in a recent research report, the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute estimated that 17,000 children may have been eligible for SNAP benefits in 2019 but weren't enrolled. If they had been, that would have brought nearly 38 million dollars in economic stimulus to New Hampshire in a single year. Outreach and education are powerful tools in overcoming barriers to SNAP participation. Even a small increase in SNAP participation can have a substantial impact on families and local communities. 
 
Our system of food and nutrition supports is like a power grid that moves nutritious food to communities throughout the state, but that grid now is patchy in some communities and nonexistent in others. This bill will help us plug more communities into the grid, ensuring more children, older adults, and other eligible Granite Staters benefit from the nutrition support they deserve.
 
New Hampshire Hunger Solutions (NHHS) is a statewide advocacy organization working to connect New Hampshire residents to federal nutrition programs such as SNAP, WIC, and School/Summer Meals. One of the ways in which they hope to reach those who are eligible but not enrolled in SNAP is through SNAP training for community health workers. NHHS is collaborating with New Hampshire Legal Assistance to provide these training sessions.
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