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How Would Changes To Food Stamp Program Affect Houstonians?

Republicans in Congress want to expand work and training requirements for SNAP recipients

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File
FILE – In this Feb. 26, 2018, file photo, Carl Lewis in his market in Rankin, Pa. About half of Lewis’ customers pay with benefits from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, so the government’s proposal to replace the debit card-type program with a pre-assembled box of shelf-stable goods delivered to recipients worries him and other grocery operators in poor areas.

Lawmakers in Washington are fighting over proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps.

How would those changes affect Houstonians in need?

Last month, 294,770 Harris County households received help through SNAP.

That number could shrink if proposals to add restrictions to the program pass Congress.

Brian Greene, president of the Houston Food Bank, said expanding the existing work and training requirements for food stamp recipients – as envisioned by Republicans – won't solve the problem.

He said it's about low wages.

"People that we see here often, they're working multiple part-time jobs trying to piece it together," he said. "But still, the wages don't match."

Proponents of cuts to the food stamp program say it perpetuates dependence on assistance.

On average, Harris County SNAP recipients got $269 in March.

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