Monday, October 19, 2020

Federal judge strikes down Trump rule that could have cut food stamps for nearly 700,000 unemployed Americans

(CNN) A federal judge Sunday struck down a Trump administration rule that could have stripped food stamps from nearly 700,000 people, saying the US Department of Agriculture has been "icily silent" about how many Americans would have been denied benefits had the changes been in effect during the pandemic.

"The final rule at issue in this litigation radically and abruptly alters decades of regulatory practice, leaving states scrambling and exponentially increasing food insecurity for tens of thousands of Americans," Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the US District Court in Washington, DC, wrote in a 67-page ruling, saying the agency has not adequately explained how the rule comports with federal statutes nor how it "makes sense."
A coalition of attorneys general from 19 states, the District of Columbia and the City of New York filed a lawsuit in January, challenging the USDA rule. See the story here

Friday, October 16, 2020

Effects of poverty on childhood development seen in children as young as 5

Date:
October 9, 2020
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Summary:
Researchers have found that health inequities can be measured in children as young as 5 years old. The research contributes to a growing body of literature finding that children of color who are also poor face greater health inequities than their white counterparts.
In a nationwide study, UCLA researchers have found that health inequities can be measured in children as young as 5 years old. The research, published in Health Affairs, contributes to a growing body of literature finding that children of color who are also poor face greater health inequities than their white counterparts. Full Story Here

The Hardest Hit in the South Call for Help

From Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

What makes this policy report a little different from most is that it features the voices of people who are among the hardest hit by the health and economic crises. 

As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signals that no coronavirus relief package will be considered before the election, Southerners are speaking out. Spearheaded by Stacey Abrams, the SouthStrong coalition—175 Southern organizations, scholars, and community groups working for an equitable pandemic response—has released a new report, “2,300 SOUTHERN VOICES Call for Help.” It lays bare the urgent need for additional pandemic aid.

What makes this policy report a little different from most is that it features the voices of people who are among the hardest hit by the health and economic crises. We know from data who is being hit the hardest, but we rarely hear from them directly about the policy solutions they want from their elected representatives.

SouthStrong, along with Propel (maker of the Fresh EBT app that helps users manage their public assistance benefits), heard from 2,300 SNAP-recipients in 12 southern states about their experiences during the pandemic, public policies that have helped them, and what they want to tell policymakers at this moment.

The people surveyed differ in terms of the particular circumstances that led to their struggles—from job losses or cuts in work hours, to child care needs, illness, disability, and more. However, they overwhelmingly tell policymakers that what they need right now is help with rent, utilities, and food. To be sure, there are other pressing needs such as child care assistance, transportation, and help with medical bills, but none are cited with the consistency of these three basic needs. This is not a surprise considering deepening hungerhousing insecurity, and rising utility costs as people spend more time at home.

Here are just a few of the responses found in the surveys:


Trump claims credit for food; letters land in trash

Hundreds of food boxes the federal government sent to help needy Luzerne County families contained something more than the usual milk, eggs and produce — a signed letter from President Donald Trump taking credit for providing the sustenance.

The recipients at the Al Beech/West Side Food Pantry in Kingston, however, didn’t get the president’s message during the weekly distribution Wednesday.

Volunteers removed and discarded the letters before doling out the food. See the story here

USDA extends waivers for free school meals

Schoolchildren across the United States can continue receiving free school meals through the end of the academic year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“As our nation recovers and reopens, we want to ensure that children continue to receive the nutritious breakfasts and lunches they count on during the school year wherever they are, and however they are learning,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said Monday in a statement.

In March, the USDA began offering waivers to some requirements to school lunch programs and other services. The agency had extended some waivers in late August, allowing schools and community partners to serve meals to children at no charge until funding runs out, or as late as Dec. 31. This latest action extends them again, this time through June 30.  Read more here

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Infants in Food Insecure Homes at Greater Obesity Risk, Study Finds

From Very Well Family

Babies in households where food is scarce—referred to as food insecurity—have a higher obesity risk than infants in homes with enough for everyone to eat, a new study suggests.1

The finding comes after researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tracked 666 low-income infants in their first year of life, a novel move since previous studies examining the link between food insecurity and obesity have largely focused on adults.1 As joblessness grows in the wake of the coronavirus, so does the likelihood of babies living in food insecure households that raise their risk of obesity.

See What the Study Found

U.S. advisory panel: prioritize low-income minority groups for COVID-19 vaccine

From the Associated Press

A U.S. advisory panel made recommendations Friday for who should be first in line to get COVID-19 vaccine, including a plea for special efforts by states and cities to get the shots to low-income minority groups.


As expected, the panel recommended health care workers and first responders get first priority when vaccine supplies are limited. The shots should be provided free to all, the panel said. And throughout the vaccine campaign, efforts also should focus on disadvantaged areas to remedy racial health disparities.

“Inequity has been a hallmark of this pandemic, both locally and globally,” said the report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), noting “an awakening to the power of racism, poverty, and bias in amplifying the health and economic pain and hardship imposed by this pandemic.”

Read more here: