Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Proposed Budget Cuts for Overburdened Emergency Food Programs

Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed city budget includes a $3.2 million cut in emergency food aid as part of a $235 million reduction in the funding for the Human Resources Administration. Bloomberg cites state and federal aid cutbacks as the impetus for these reductions. Councilman Bill de Blasio questioned the prudence of pulling funding from already-strained emergency food programs while the declining economy promises a future influx of more food pantry customers. The proposed cuts add insult to injury as the city continues to enforce finger-imaging requirements for food stamp applicants; a policy, which the state has allowed despite its recent waiver of finger-imaging requirements for working families, and which complicates the application process. Both the finger-imaging policy and the proposed cuts could further erode support networks for food insecure households.

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