This under-participation costs the two cities an estimated combined $198.5 million in annual federal aid that could be used to significantly decrease the local rates of hunger and increase economic activity.
"Cities have to do a much better job of reaching eligible people with food stamps," said Jim Weill, FRAC president. "Households are crushed between rising food prices and falling incomes. Food stamps are a crucial way to help."
Past opinion surveys conducted by the USDA have found that just 17% of eligible families don’t participate because they don’t want the help. Most are either unaware they are eligible, or don’t want to go through the onerous process of applying.
In related news, 30,000 more Texans receiving food stamps were transferred to the troubled TIERS system this week.