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Nevadans Boost Reliance on Food Stamps During Pandemic++

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The coronavirus pandemic and high unemployment levels have left more Nevada families in need of food assistance. (foodforthought.org)
The coronavirus pandemic and high unemployment levels have left more Nevada families in need of food assistance. (foodforthought.org)
July 22, 2020

LAS VEGAS -- Fallout from COVID-19 has resulted in 8 million-15 million children living in households where they're not getting enough to eat, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

In a Tuesday news conference, the nonpartisan research institute said more relief measures are needed to help shore up household incomes due to unemployment. Sharon Parrott, senior vice president for federal policy and program development at the center, said a new relief package under consideration by Congress should include targeted assistance to address hunger and housing.

"Renters who live with children are more than twice as likely right now to be behind on their rent," Parrott said. "And some 7 million children live in a household that is behind on rent."

The State Treasurer's office is now making rental assistance available for Nevadans living in short-term rentals and facing financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevada's daily death toll reached its highest number on Tuesday with 28 new deaths.

Parrott said for the week ending July 7, 10.8% - or 26 million - adults in the country reported their households sometimes or often didn't have enough to eat, and those numbers were twice as high for Latino and Black respondents compared with white respondents.

She said lawmakers negotiating a second relief package need to understand that millions of children are vulnerable.

"The consequences of serious hardship, like not having enough to eat, are long-lasting," Parrott said. "For children, these are the kinds of hardships that can damage their health and harm their educational outcomes, forever changing their life trajectories."

Data from the center showed Nevada is one of nine states where the number of residents participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has risen more than 20% since May.

The House-passed HEROES Act includes a SNAP benefit increase that would provide roughly $100 per month more to a family of four, but there's no guarantee the provision will be included in the final bill.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NV