Case Study on Out-of-Office Food Stamp Applications
CAFB and the Congressional Hunger Center (CHC) have partnered to create a case study documenting how out-of-office Food Stamp application practices have been implemented in ten California counties. The report features detailed profiles of Food Stamp outreach and application assistance programs, online application systems, and innovative county practices. Click here to download the report. (If you have trouble opening the document, right click on the link and select Save As).
Research and Statistics About Hunger and Food Stamp Participation
Hunger Studies Compiled by California's Food Banks:California’s Food Banks have been coordinating comprehensive surveys of hunger and food insecurity in their communities for decades. To find the most recent survey results and recommendations for policy changes, follow these links:
America’s Second Harvest Study 2006
Find copies of hunger studies at:
Food Stamp Participation Data:
The USDA publishes a Performance Access Index for each state, and the California Food Policy Advocates uses their methodology to calculate a PAI for each county. If you wish to learn more, you can start by going to USDA's explanation of their methodology. There is a step-by-step guide on the website. The PAI is meant to look at how well each state's Food Stamp Programs are operating; it is NOT originally meant to look at participation. We can, however, use it as a very rough estimate for participation. A very simple explanation of the process is that it is calculated by dividing the number of people using Food Stamps by the number of people below 130% of the federal poverty line in each state.
- The USDA also estimates the participation rate by state, after accounting for many factors (such as assets). The October 2006 report estimates participation rates for 2004. This methodology is much more complicated, as the process involves using mathematical models. You may also go to the agency's website to read more detailed analyses on participation rate amongst subpopulations with particular characteristics, such as the working poor.
- Because of the lack of participation measurement for urban areas, Food Research and Action Center has devised its own Local Access Indicator. Click here for the most recent national report. The FRAC methodology is explained inside the report. The LAI is calculated by dividing the number of Food Stamps recipients by the number of potentially eligible people. The latter figure is obtained by first looking at the number of people below 130% of the poverty line, and subtracting from the figure the number of people with certain categories of immigration status, with assets above a certain limit, or with SSI (issue specific to California). If you would like help in roughly estimating the participation rate in your city, CAFB can help put you in touch with appropriate experts. You may attempt to calculate the LAI by looking at the FRAC report (link above). To find the tables named in the FRAC methodology page, follow these instructions: Go to www.census.gov, click on American FactFinder on the left-hand toolbar, then click on Data Sets on the left-hand toolbar on the FactFinder webpage, and select the appropriate section - Census tables or American Community Survey tables.
California Nutrition Network MapViewer: The California Nutrition Network offers a comprehensive site where you can find information about Food Stamp Participation in a visual context through it's GIS MapViewer. This tool will allow you to overlay participation rates with food stamp office locations, schools and other potential outreach sites. Click on “Launch MapViewer” at the bottom of the website to enter the Map Viewer. First, select the scope of data you want in the “Jump to a new location” box; for example, you may want to limit the information to one county. The map will then reflect the parameters you indicated. Second, on the right-hand tool bar, click on any of the categories under the Map Layers tab to map the type of information you wish to see. For example, to map all the WIC clinics in the area, click on the category “Health, Nutrition” and select WIC. To view Food Stamp data, click on the category “Demographics” and scroll down to the buttons relevant to Food Stamps. Third, to view all the selected information in a table for downloading, click “Go” in the Summarize Data box at the bottom. You may need to press the Control button while you do this so that the pop-up box can appear. If you are interested in a county map, almost all of the color coding will be done by 2000 Census blocks, which are groupings of census tracts.
Quick Facts about the Food Stamp Program : Below are some statistics about how the FSP affects particular populations of people. These are the latest fact sheets from the USDA.
Hunger Free Community Reports: For more than 12 years, The Congressional Hunger Center has recruited college graduates into its Hunger Fellowship. It is a unique leadership training program, named the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship, that places fellows with grassroots anti-hunger organizations across the country (six months) before allowing them to work in national policy organizations in Washington, DC (six months). Each year, the Fellows publish a report of their findings and recommendations for the local organization for which they worked. Below are the Hunger Free Community Reports of recent Emerson Hunger Fellows.
- Anyu Fang's Recommendations for Food Stamp Outreach in Sacramento County offers a demographic profile of eligible non-participants in California's Sacramento County and recommends strategies to increase participation. This report is complete with maps and a checklist of activities for the County and their outreach partners to employ.
Sean Coffrey's Hungry in Florida: Three Options in the Food Stamp Program to Help Alleviate Poverty and Improve Food Security examines three federal options that Florida can adopt to dramatically improve its Food Stamp Program. The report recommends that the state agency administering Food Stamps change its sanctions policy, automate short-term Food Stamp benefits to families leaving welfare, and restructure its vehicle restrictions.
Rachel Lopez's Serving Up Solutions: A Guide To Customer Service And Expanding Access To The Los Angeles County Food Stamp Program was designed to assist local and national partners to increase participation in the Food Stamp Program by improving customer service. The report documented best practices and recommended improvements to County procedures for outreach, accessibility, courtesy standards, application process, and complaints and appeals.
Rajiv Magge's Benefits Outreach Resources is an online resource library developed to assist organizations in designing outreach initiatives that link work support programs (such as Food Stamps and energy assistance) with the Earned Income Tax Credit and free tax preparation services. The online library (www.tax-coalition.org/Library/Benefits) highlights important research and catalogues the approaches of various benefits outreach initiatives nationwide.
Rebekah Park's Unnoticed, Unaddressed & Unacceptable: Revealing and Attacking Washington State's Persistent Hunger Problem outlines six solutions to reduce hunger, including increasing participation in School Lunch, Breakfast, and Summer Food programs; lifting the lifetime ban on Food Stamps for people with former drug felony convictions; and adopting two Farm Bill options that streamline reporting requirements for Food Stamps.
- Bridget Purdue's Eliminate Hunger: A Guide to Filling Empty Cupboards in your Region is a resource guide for Los Angeles County food pantries highlighting food stamp application procedures, welfare office locations, pantry advocacy tips, and collaboration ideas for food pantries within each of eight smaller geographic divisions of Los Angeles County in order to better serve the specific needs of each region.
Other Research and Statistics about Hunger & Poverty in the U.S.:
- Poverty Amid Plenty: The Unfinished Business of Welfare Reform (includes CA, FL, IL, MA, MI, NJ, OH, PA, TX). NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby. April 1999.
- A Comparison of Demographic Variables, Food/Nutrient Intakes, Level of Food Security, and Food/Nutrient Changes with Intervention Among Food Stamp and Non-Food Stamp Recipients in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Pennsylvania State University, University of Tennessee, and Virginia Tech University. December 2000.
- Initial Synthesis Report of the Findings from ASPE's "Leavers" Grants. The Urban Institute for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. January 2001.
- Welfare to What? Part II. National Coalition for the Homeless and the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness. April 2001.
- Food Insufficiency and the Use of Food Assistance Programs in the South. Southern Rural Development Center. July 2001.
- Food Stamps Out Hunger - Hunger in the West and What Governors and Congress Can Do About It. Northwest Federation of Community Organizations. August 2001.
- Empty Shelves: 1998 Survey of U.S. Food Banks. A report by Congressman Tony P. Hall. February 1998.
- Food Insufficiency Exists in the United States: Results from the Third National health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANESIII). American Journal of Public Health. March 1998.
- Hunger 1997: The Faces and Facts. America's Second Harvest. March 1998.
- Snapshots of America's Families - Income and Hardship: Food Concerns and Affordability. The Urban Institute. January 1999.
- Parish Social Ministries 1999 Welfare Reform Survey. Catholic Charities March 1999.
- Extended Measures of Well-Being: Meeting Basic Needs. US Census Bureau-June 1999.
- Homelessness: Programs and the People the Serve. The Urban Institute. February 2000.
- Racial and Ethnic Disparities - Key Findings from the National Survey of America's Families. The Urban Institute. February 2000.
- Family Economic Well-Being - Findings from the National Survey of America's Families. The Urban Institute. October 2000.
- Catholic Charities USA's 1999 Annual Survey. Catholic Charities USA. December 2000.
- Families Struggling to Make It in the Workforce: A Post Welfare Report. Children's Defense Fund. December 2000.
- Hardship among Children of Immigrants: Findings from the 1999 National Survey of America's Families. The Urban Institute. February 2001.
- National Survey on Poverty in America. National Public Radio, Kaiser Family Foundation, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. May 2001.
- Economic Inequality Seen as Rising, Boom Bypasses Poor. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. June 2001.
- When Work Just Isn't Enough - Measuring Hardships Faced by Families After Moving From Welfare to Work. Economic Policy Institute. June 2001.
- Hardships in America - The Real Story of Working Families. Economic Policy Institute. July 2001.
- How Are Families Who Left Welfare Doing Over Time? A Comparison of Two Cohorts of Welfare Leavers. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Economic Policy Review. September 2001.
- Hunger in America 2001. America's Second Harvest. November 2001.
- The Emergency Food Assistance System - Findings from the Provider Survey. Volume I: Executive Summary. Volume II: Final Report. Volume III: Survey Methodology. Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. for the Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. October 2002.
- What the World Thinks in 2002. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. December 2002.
- A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in American Cities – 2002. (Annual Report) U.S. Conference of Mayors. December 2002.
- Use of Food Pantries by Households With Children Rose During the Late 1990s. FoodReview. Winter 2002.
- Choices. America's Second Harvest. Issue Brief No. 1. Winter 2002.
- Rural Hunger. America's Second Harvest. Issue Brief No. 2. February 2003.
- Hunger: An Emerging Issue - Results and Analysis of Recent National Public Opinion Polling. Alliance to End Hunger. June 2003.
- The Emergency Food Assistance System - Findings from the Client Survey. Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. July 2003.
- Dynamics of Poverty and Food Sufficiency. Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. September 2003.
- Homelessness and Food Insecurity. C. Gundersen, L. Weinreb, C. Wehler, and D. Hosmer. Journal of Housing Economics. Vol. 12, Issue 3: 250-272. September 2003.
- Women's Job Loss and Material Hardship. Institute for Women's Policy Research. October 2003.
- Using a Concurrent Events Approach to Understand Social Support and Food Insecurity Among Elders. E. Frongillo, P. Valois, and W.S. Wolfe. Family Economics and Nutrition Review. Vol. 15, No.1: 25-32. December 2003.
- Diet and food insufficiency among Hispanic youths: acculturation and socioeconomic factors in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. R. Mazur, G. Marquis, H. Jensen. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 78, Issue 6: 1120-7. December 2003.
- A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in American Cities – 2003. (Annual Report) U.S. Conference of Mayors. December 2003.
- Race, Ethnicity, and Economic Well-Being. The Urban Institute. March 2004.
- Trends in Parents' Economic Hardship. The Urban Institute. March 2004.
- Maternal Employment and Children's Nutrition: Volume II, Other Nutrition-Related Outcomes. Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. June 2004.
- Communities in Crisis: A Survey of Hunger and Homelessness in America. National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness (NSCAHH). February 2005.
- Ashiabi, G. (March 2005). Household food insecurity and children's school management. Journal of Children and Poverty. 11(1), 3-17.
- Sharkey, J.R., Schoenberg, N.E. (August 2005). Prospective Study of Black-White Differences in Food Insufficiency Among Homebound Elders. Journal of Aging and Health. 17(4), 507-527.
- Kathleen Gorman et al. (August 2006). Food Security, Hunger, and Food Stamp Participation Among Low-Income Working Families in Rhode Island. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition.1(1), 105-125. This study examines the reasons for the lack of participation by the working poor in the Food Stamp Program. An abstract is available online.
Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
This site contains research on budget and tax policies (see myfoodstamps.org research section for a more detailed description of CBPP). Under the Areas of Research section of the website, there is information on all types of federal assistance programs. To learn more about Food Stamps outreach, proceed to the Food Assistance category. To learn about how to coordinate with outreach efforts on the Earned Income Tax Credit, proceed to the Earned Income Credit category. To order a free toolkit on EITC for your organization, contact the Center.
Food Research and Action Center
This site contains up-t0-date research about hunger in the nation, with state break-downs and useful data about national food assistance programs.
California Food Policy Advocates
This site has information about hunger and food insecurity in California and has up-to-date information about policy and advocacy related to hunger. For a list of California specific research about hunger and government food programs, go to http://www.cfpa.net/reports/link.html.
California Hunger Action Coalition
The California Hunger Action Coalition (CHAC) is a grassroots anti-hunger group that holds advocacy actions each year. They offer scholarships for low-income people from all over the state to come to Sacramento to speak to their legislators and award “Hunger Fighter” awards to local and state officials and advocates who endeavor to end hunger.
Bread for the World
Bread for the World website’s Take Action section recommends strategies for mobilizing your community for advocacy purposes, including sample letters to government leaders.
Center for Food Justice, Occidental College
The Center, located in California, works to improve access to fresh and healthy foods in communities that have trouble with access. Additionally, the Center believes in strengthening the capacity of small family farmers.
Its programs include:
Community Food Security Coalition
The Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) is a non-profit organization promoting access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food. The Coalition believes in regionally based food systems and grounded in the principles of justice, democracy, and sustainability. CFSC has over 325 member organizations.
The website provides the latest edition of the Community Food Project Evaluation Handbook & Toolkit. The Programs section of the website provides detailed training information on how to promote community food security.
The Coalition has various committees in which activists can participate and influence the work of the community food security community. These are:
Farm to Cafeteria Committee
Food and Faith Committee
Food Retail Committee
International Links Committee
North American Initiative on Urban Agriculture
Outreach and Diversity Committee
Training and Technical Assistance Committee
Community Food Security Initiative (USDA) http://attra.ncat.org/guide/a_m/cfsi.html
The USDA's Community Food Security Initiative builds grass-roots partnerships for local food systems. USDA is joining with states, municipalities, nonprofit groups, and the private sector to strengthen local food systems. The contact information for this program is at the link above.
Community Food Share
Community Food Share runs direct service initiatives such as Feed the Future, Feeding Families, Mobile Pantry, Elder Share, Personal Investment Enterprise and Emergency Food Box.
End Hunger Network
The End Hunger Network works with the entertainment community to create media projects, promoting action of end childhood hunger.
Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
USDA’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) operates in all 50 states, designed to assist low-income individuals in acquiring the changed behavior necessary for nutritionally sound diets. Programs include Adult EFNEP and Youth EFNEP. The website includes information on conferences related to this program.
Food and Society Initiative, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Launched in 2000, Food and Society supports community-based food systems that are locally owned and controlled, environmentally sound, and health promoting.
On the website, the Publications section has searchable articles on nutrition, food security, and community based food systems. The Info Center contains toolkits on communications strategy and a calendar of conferences related to community food security.
Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty
The Institute is a nonprofit, non-partisan, research and policy organization located at the Weingart Center, in the heart of downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row. The Institute delivers reliable analysis, data and solutions to institutions and individuals to spark new collaborations and foster new initiatives, policies and programs to better understand and address homelessness and poverty.