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New Yorkers Hardest Hit under Proposed "Heat & Eat" Cuts


Monday, December 3, 2012   

NEW YORK - It's another big cut that's looming as part of the "fiscal cliff" negotiations in Congress, and local anti-hunger advocates say New Yorkers would shoulder more than their fair share of the proposed cuts.

Linda Bopp, executive director of Hunger Solutions New York, says 500,000 households nationwide could lose "heat and eat" benefits, and a whopping 300,000 of those families all live in New York state.

"Those 300,000 households could lose up to $90 dollars per month. That's $27 million per month that New York State would lose in terms of SNAP benefits."

Bopp says currently New York is allowed to coordinate SNAP food assistance with Low-Income Household Energy Assistance benefits, but changes in the Farm Bill could deprive many from getting that "heat and eat" help.

Some proponents of the cuts say they are needed to help trim the deficit. However, Food Research and Action Center President Jim Weill calls that the wrong way to go.

"The public doesn't want to cut the food-stamp system as a way to solve the deficit: 75 percent say that cutting SNAP is the wrong way to reduce spending, and the opposition is across the board, from Democrats, Republicans and independents. They all think this is a bad idea."

Bopp says this is not just a hypothetical situation because these cuts are currently approved in the Senate version of the Farm Bill. She says cuts could force many of New York's most vulnerable to have to choose between heating their homes and feed their families.

"Those people are seniors, the disabled, people who live in subsidized housing and people who live in public housing."

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