Councilman Bob Blumenfield introduced a resolution Wednesday for Los Angeles to call on Congress to expand the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to help families struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In Los Angeles and across the country, food insecurity is one of the largest issues impacting families during the pandemic,'' Blumenfield said.
"Given rising unemployment rates and food bank data, there could be as many as 60 million people who don't know when or where their next meal is coming.''
"It's time for Congress to boost SNAP benefits, implore USDA to expand SNAP-eligible delivery options and urge the federal government to increase access to SNAP for particularly vulnerable groups,'' the councilman said.
SNAP has proven to be one of the most effective federal programs to mitigate hardships for low-income families, according to Blumenfield.
His resolution specifically calls for Congress to boost the maximum benefit by 15%, double the minimum benefit to $30 a month and allow electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, use on grocery delivery platforms that benefit local businesses.
Every SNAP dollar spent in the local economy contributes to the wagesgrocery workers and food producers depend on to maintain operation, Blumenfield said.
The resolution will first be heard by the council's Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee before being heard by the full council.
Blumenfield said he recently allocated $100,000 from his district's discretionary funds to start an emergency nonprofit grant program to help local nonprofits such as the West Valley food pantry and West Valley YMCA, but he said expanded support to programs like SNAP is essential to help struggling families get by.