The Obama Administration has decided to continue offering cash grants through the SNAP Outreach Grant program and plans to pursue its stated strategic plan of increasing food stamp enrollment through 2015.
Over the last three years, the number of Americans on food stamps has skyrocketed by two-thirds and stands at a record-high 46 million citizens, or one out of every seven people in the United States. Despite the historic rise in food stamp use, however, the Obama Administration believes not enough people are receiving food stamps who should be and is offering $75,000 grants to groups who devise “effective strategies” to “increase program participation” among those who have yet to sign up.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website singles out Hispanics and elderly Americans as groups who often fail to enroll in the food stamp program (officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) and says that one of the contributing factors that must be overcome to get more people to sign up for SNAP benefits is individual “pride”:
There are many reasons why eligible people, including seniors and Hispanics, do not participate in the SNAP. These include unawareness of eligibility, confusion about program rules and requirements, a complex application process, and a lack of transportation and pride.
To reduce these “barriers” to food stamp enrollment, the Department of Agriculture offers non-profit groups the chance to receive $75,000 grants for projects designed to boost food stamp participation among those who are eligible but have yet to sign up. The Department of Agriculture believes that the SNAP program is “severely underutilized” and says that 33 percent more Americans who are eligible to receive food stamps have yet to apply, thus the need to offer federal grants to sign more citizens up.