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Queens Assemblymember leads coalition in push for higher SNAP benefits in NYS budget

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Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas
Photo courtesy of González-Rojas’ office

Queens Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas is spearheading a campaign, alongside a coalition of business, public health, and agricultural advocacy groups, urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to increase the minimum benefit of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to $100 in New York’s fiscal year 2025 budget.

The coalition’s push follows the Senate’s budget proposal for a minimum benefit of $50 per month and is made up of notable entities such as the Business Council, Instacart, the New York State Association for Rural Health, AARP, American Farmland Trust and the National Supermarket Association.

This initiative is rooted in alarming statistics that highlight the extent of food insecurity across New York State, with nearly one in four adults affected. The situation is particularly dire in the Bronx, where 39% of adults face food insecurity. Recent reports and surveys further illustrate the growing number of households struggling with food insufficiency, emphasizing the urgency of the coalition’s request.

“New Yorkers have increasingly suffered from food insecurity with rising food costs. As our most effective hunger relief program, SNAP not only lifts New Yorkers out of poverty but also brings substantial federal dollars to our state. This is not just about business or agriculture; it’s about addressing the hunger that too many New Yorkers face daily. We have a responsibility to act.” said González-Rojas.

Tom McNeil, Senior Policy Manager at Instacart, also supported the initiative, focusing on the broader goal of food accessibility. “We commend the SNAP increase legislation’s sponsors for their tireless work to expand food access, and we are proud to join these leading hunger advocates, community organizations, and local grocers in urging the legislature to pass the bill. Together, we can make it easier for New York families to access and afford the nutritious food they need to thrive.” he said.

Nelson Eusebio, a representative from the National Supermarket Association, pointed out the economic and social impact of higher SNAP benefits saying, “higher SNAP benefits have proven to be effective in reducing poverty and food insecurity, while also stimulating our local economies and supporting local supermarkets.”

The coalition’s unified stance reflects a critical response to the increasing issue of food insecurity in New York, advocating for a meaningful increase in SNAP benefits as a viable solution to hunger, economic strain, and health disparities across the state.