The official name for food stamps is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. In November, stimulus money that boosted SNAP benefits dried up. The average family in Texas saw its monthly benefit reduced by about $36.
“That may not sound like a lot. But (for) households struggling with food insecurity, that was actually a pretty significant cut in itself.”
That’s Brian Greene, president of the Houston Food Bank. The farm bill cuts SNAP benefits by closing a complicated loophole related to a home heating program. That reduction will be felt by people in more than a dozen states, but not here in Texas.
“And we were looking at the possibility of much deeper cuts that would have impacted Texas. We did avoid that. But we certainly feel very, very bad for people in other states.”
Greene says there is one good thing to come out of the farm bill as it applies to food aid.
“At least it’s a five-year bill. So that at least we can now be done with this particular topic, and, okay, now we just gotta deal with what it is. Hopefully, this will stay stable for five years.”
Greene says one of the biggest challenges going forward is making sure everyone who is eligible for SNAP gets signed up. He says that is the state’s responsibility, so Texas can receive as much in SNAP benefits as it pays into the system.