Issues

Current Issues

The House has drafted, H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  The legislation provides paid leave, establishes free testing, protects public health workers, and provides important benefits to children and families, including strong protections for nutrition programs.

Anticipating imminent passage of this bill in the House, we ask you to please call your Senators today and ask them to take action.

Excerpted from a letter written by the Alliance to End Hunger tp Sonny Perdue Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

In order to provide immediate relief to poor and hungry people in the United States during this uncertain time, there are key recommendations provided by members of our coalition which we urge you to consider as you forge an effective and valuable strategy that is sensitive to the needs of the most vulnerable people in this country:

  • Promote flexibility throughout emergency food programs. Feeding America suggests a blanket national waiver to expand income eligibility for The Emergency Food Assistance Program(TEFAP) and Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) so that food banks and states can utilize these programs as resources for impacted community members.
  • Benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) should be expanded to increase immediate purchasing power of beneficiaries seeking to plan ahead for COVID-19 response measures. Further, pending administrative rules decreasing the number of eligible SNAP recipients – specifically the recent rule concerning Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents – should be put on hold during the current public health crisis. Feeding America suggests that USDA consider providing broad flexibilities, and also consider supplemental benefits to SNAP recipients as needed to ensure individuals and families have the food resources they need. Beneficiaries who are asked to plan for extended time periods would benefit greatly from a temporary increase in assistance.
  • Local and community health concerns are leading to school closings and dismissals. While these decisions are prudent, many children rely on school-provided breakfasts and lunches to stabilize the threat of food insecurity. Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry suggests waiving the congregate feeding requirement in areas experiencing school closures and dismissals due to COVID-19, giving school food authorities and community organizations the authority to serve reimbursable meals and snacks to children through the SFSP, SSO, or CACFP At-Risk Afterschool component with meal pick-up, meal delivery, and other service options. It is also suggested that eligibility rules for children be loosened temporarily, and reimbursement to authorized entities providing meals and snacks during school closures and dismissals be guaranteed. We were encouraged to see the USDA Secretary commit to many of these recommendations during a hearing in the House of Representatives. We urge you to follow up to ensure changes are being made immediately.
  • Both Feeding America and Share Our Strength strongly suggest that advance planning concerning food distribution within communities prior to imminent school closures be encouraged. This should include allowances for bulk food distribution and distribution through alternative sites as options to minimize contact between individuals.
  • COVID-19 has proven to be exceptionally virulent among older populations, and will disproportionally impact older Americans facing food insecurity. Meals on Wheels America urges access to supplemental funding and emergency guidance for Older Americans Act (OAA) programs and support. This includes additional emergency funding for senior nutrition programs to replenish and expand the supply of shelf-stable meals, frozen meals and/or other nutrition services that are being or have already been provided in communities.
  • Meals on Wheels America also strongly suggests that federal funding be provided for activities related to the lessening of contact risk posed by COVID-19. This includes options to deliver meals to seniors who usually receive meals in group settings, such as senior centers and community dining sites. Funding should also be provided for additional training of volunteers who deliver meals regularly to vulnerable older Americans.

Position Papers

Letters and Testimony Before the Idaho Legislature

IIRAH’s Spring & Fall Events

Program:  The Rent Eats First (spring 2019)

Program: What Shall We Do About ALICE? (spring 2017)

Program: Exploring Justice in the Food System (spring 2016)

Program: Food Deserts in Idaho (2015)

Newsletter Archive

IIRAH actively communicates with the public during the Idaho legislative session to increase awareness of key issues as they arise. Please visit our email archives for a recap of our advocacy efforts, and subscribe to our mailing list for future updates.

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