by Triada Stampas
Albany's dysfunction is keeping food from people who desperately need it.
The Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) is a state-sponsored grant administered by the Department of Health that provides emergency food programs with funding for emergency food, operations support and equipment. State administrative functions have been so crippled that HPNAP expenses have not been reimbursed since April — causing a serious cash flow crisis for emergency food providers already struggling to keep up with increased need.* And without a finalized state budget for Fiscal Year 2011, new contracts cannot be approved. The result: the state supply of emergency food has been cut off.
The timing for this could not be worse, with demand for emergency food already at crisis levels because of the recession. Last year, nearly half of food pantries and soup kitchens had to turn people away for lack of food. In addition, when other services, like housing assistance and child care, are cut, low-income families are left with even less disposable income. Research shows these families will sacrifice food spending in order to keep a roof over their heads and cover other basic costs of living. In the long term, cuts to education and job training diminish their only available paths out of poverty, perpetuating a cycle of demand for emergency food.
The Governor, the State Senate and the Assembly must work together to end this crisis. Tell them that New Yorkers who struggle to put food on the table cannot go another day without HPNAP.
EMAIL ALBANY’S LEADERSHIP AND YOUR LEGISLATORS NOW!
* Fiscal Year 2010 HPNAP contracts covered the period from July 1, 2009 until June 30, 2010. Contracts for Fiscal Year 2011 were to have begun July 1, 2010.