One in seven Michigan residents relies on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to access the nutritious food their families need to grow and thrive. Join us in telling our elected officials to protect SNAP in the final version of the Farm Bill.

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Act now to keep millions from going hungry

One in seven Michigan residents relies on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to access the nutritious food they need to live healthy lives. The majority of SNAP participants are seniors, children and people with disabilities. Others are struggling working families who need support during times of crisis.

At United Way, we work to build strong and healthy communities. SNAP helps achieve this goal by pulling families in Southeastern Michigan out of poverty, bridging gaps in household income, increasing participation in local economies and ensuring that children have access to fresh, nutritious food.

This program has traditionally received strong bipartisan support, but it is at risk. The changes to SNAP proposed in the U.S. House version of the Farm Bill would weaken all these efforts and make it harder for families in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties to put food on the table.

Specifically, the bill passed by the House would:

  • Increase red tape for parents and schools, which could lead to more than 250,000 children losing access to their free or reduced-price school meals.
  • Eliminate “Heat and Eat.” Removing this connection between SNAP and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) would reduce food support for those in need and dramatically increase red tape and administrative costs.
  • Impose strict work requirements, which would leave millions of families struggling to make ends meet. The bill would require all SNAP recipients to prove they are working a minimum of 20 hours per week. While this approach might seem reasonable in concept, it disregards many of the barriers that are keeping people from securing steady, gainful employment. Many people who are over 50 are struggling to find a job due to changing technologies and different demands for skills. In addition, many low-income individuals work in positions that are seasonal or have irregular hours. This bill would punish recipients who fail to verify they have met the work requirements by eliminating their benefits for one to three years—even due to an error in their documents.

The proposed changes to eligibility and benefit restrictions would result in millions of people losing access to food assistance altogether. Not only will this harm SNAP recipients, it will negatively impact entire communities. For every $1 spent, $1.70 in local economic activity is generated. These changes to SNAP will reduce spending in local grocery stores which may lead to reduced hours for their employees.

By contrast, the Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill is a bipartisan compromise that protects access to SNAP, supports household food security and will strengthen the economic stability of our communities. A conference committee is negotiating a compromise between the two bills. Join us in urging our representatives to protect SNAP in the final version of the Farm Bill.