Hunger relief policies that work

It’s true that CalFresh/SNAP benefits come from taxes paid by working individuals. But, did you know:

  • 55% of food insecure individuals are employed, meaning they are paying into our safety net programs.

  • Red tape and an unnecessarily long application process make the program more expensive.

San Diego Hunger Coalition works with its partners to address barriers to accessing food assistance by streamlining programs like CalFresh. Our most recent victory was the passing of Assembly Bill 494 which eases the requirements for CalFresh applicants to verify their housing costs.

In San Diego, the cost of housing is one of the highest in the nation. The high cost of rent results in some low-income families entering non-traditional rental agreements. When they apply for CalFresh and are told they need to verify their cost of housing, many are scared to ask their landlords for a rent receipt or a signed letter. They worry that they may jeopardize their living arrangements if they draw attention to their need for public assistance. What results is a lengthy application process where people in need get either no CalFresh benefits, or a reduced amount.

When Governor Newsome signed AB 494 into law, he made it so that thousands of Californians would have enough to eat without putting their living arrangements in danger. Now Californians can verify their housing expenses by simply entering it on their signed application. County officials will only require more documentation if something seems amiss, ensuring that people will not be able to take advantage of the new system.

The new law went into effect on September 1st and promises to reduce hunger throughout San Diego County and all of California. Congratulations to all of the incredible Hunger Free Activists and the members of the San Diego County Hunger Advocacy Network who worked with our state representatives to make this bill a law.

Learn more about AB494 and our other state legislative priorities HERE.