Food & Justice News Dec 6, 2019
- Trump Administration To Implement Rule Limiting Childless Jobless Adults to 3 Months of Food Assistance
- And Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Worse: Trump Appointing Homelessness Program Director Who Opposes Giving Food To Homeless
Trump Administration To Implement Rule Limiting Childless Jobless Adults to 3 Months of Food Assistance
What better sign of Christmas than what can only be described as the dogged determination of the Trump administration to deliberately kick as many people who are down as possible? There seems to be a specific fixation on withholding food from hungry people by this president (and as you will see, by people he appoints to other positions.) . This administration does not create policy; it commits acts of war, weaponizing poverty and holding poor people hostage, using sadism as a technique to create grief. “Liberal tears” are the goal; there is no broader purpose to these particular actions.
In spite of (or probably, because of) 140,000 comments mostly in opposition, the administration is proceeding with a policy it created, in total contradiction to what was agreed upon by both parties in Congress during the Farm Bill, that removes (or severely restricts) states’ ability to make their own decisions about whether unemployed or even just under-employed people should get federal food benefits. About 700,000 people across the US including about 70,000 in California could ultimately lose assistance due to the proposed change to the rules regarding work requirements for Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents.
By the existing rule, if you’re between 18 and 50 years old, not disabled, and have no dependent kids, you have to work 20 hours a week, and if not you are limited to 3 months of food assistance in any 3 year period. This rule is harsh, but there are provisions for waivers in high unemployment areas, as well as other waivers states can use for people meeting certain criteria. During the recession most states had waivers of one kind or another, in both Republican led and Democratic led governments.
The Trump administration is making it much harder to get those waivers, essentially re-enforcing the existing rule that will hit part time workers, flex-time workers, women, communities of color, the LGBT community, and rural areas hard, as well as many people who have disabilities but are not receiving disability-based payments (that’s the criteria the government uses to determine if you are “disabled”.)
States can use “workfare” or Employment and Training projects to help people meet the 20 hour per week standard, but most states do not offer such programs. As a result, people who want to work but have a hard time finding a job in 3 months, or can’t find work for 20 hours per week, will also have no federal food aid, adding to stress, anxiety, poor health, and suffering on top of all their other bills and debts.
The rule goes into effect in two months barring any legal action staying its implementation.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a concise analysis here:
Advocates from all over California spoke out on media against these cuts:
Hunger Action LA:
Alameda County Community Food Bank and the Food Bank of Contra Costa
Jessica Bartholow of Western Center on Law and Poverty on NPR:
Nearly 700,000 SNAP Recipients Could Lose Benefits Under New Trump Rule https://n.pr/2qpDgAU
An interview on Telemundo with Silvia Hernandez of the Food & Wellness Collaborative
Telemundo News Story on SNAP Cuts
And Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Worse: Trump Appointing Homelessness Program Director Who Opposes Giving Food To Homeless
Posted by Jonathan on Western Regional Advocacy Project website:
Criminalization hitting the fan at National Level under Trump Appointment of Robert Marbut to USIACH
“Pending final approval at a U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) meeting on December 10, Robert Marbut has been appointed Executive Director of the USICH. Before receiving this appointment, Marbut worked as a Texas-based consultant advising cities on how to decrease the size of their homeless communities. Marbut rejects the widely accepted and proven method of housing first, telling Huffpost "I believe in Housing Fourth." Instead, Marbut follows a set of methods he developed himself, called “The Seven Guiding Principles of Transformation." Marbut's approach can be understood by looking at these principles and how he has applied them across the country.
(Among the principles Marbut believes in as an approach to ending homelessness are) "Reward Positive Behavior" and "Consequences for Negative Behavior," which Diane Yentel, president of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, accurately described as "paternalistic, patronizing, filled with poverty blaming/shaming." These principles fail to account for the structural issues that created the contemporary homeless crisis and instead fixate on blaming poor people for homelessness. The Pinellas Safe Harbor in Florida, which Marbut also helped to design, shows what those principles look like in practice. The shelter is operated by the County Sheriff’s office out of an old jail, and houseless people are required to sleep on the floor before “earning” a bed with good behaviour. The Pinellas Safe Harbor was described in a 2014 report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture as a “cruel, inhuman, and degrading” choice for homeless people there.
In order to make people actually use these shelter-jails, Marbut advised cities to make living on the streets as difficult as possible for houseless people. His sixth and seventh principles are "External Activities Must be Redirected or Stopped" and "Panhandling Enables the Homeless and Must Be Stopped." Early criticism of Marbut came in 2014, after the city of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida arrested 90-year-old Arnold Abbott and Food Not Bombs volunteers for sharing food outside the downtown library. Said Marbut, "If you give food on the street, you end up preventing people from going into 24/7 programming."
Sheriff's department data from the Pinellas shelter indicated that just 7% of those leaving the facility found permanent housing. Marbut employs methods that have been proven not only ineffective but harmful to the very people he is now being tasked with helping.