ACCFB is strongly opposed to the ABAWD rule, which takes food away from our community members in need.
The federal government published a final rule this week that will significantly cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, known as CalFresh in California), by imposing arbitrary and harmful time limitations on unemployed and underemployed people who are looking for more work. The regulation on “Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents,” known as ABAWD, comes despite the rejection of this proposal by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill, which was passed with historic bipartisan support.
This rule will impact as many as 10,000 people in Alameda County.
Living in one of the most diverse communities, we are clear that this rule targets Black and brown people, immigrants, women, and the LGBTQ community and it further reinforces structural racism by punishing communities of color who face persistent, systemic barriers to employment. Taking vital food benefits away is cruel and goes completely against our mission and values.
Research shows that work requirements do not reduce poverty and are not an effective way to increase employment. In fact, hunger only adds to the hurdles that individuals face in finding and keeping a job. With 11.2 percent of Californians experiencing food insecurity and two of America’s most impacted cities – Bakersfield (1) and Fresno (3) – located in our Central Valley that feeds the world, it is imperative that our state and national leaders take steps to end hunger, not make it worse.
SNAP is the United States’ most important anti-hunger program, and our first line of defense against hunger.
Our Food Bank already works around the clock to provide food across our community, and we now anticipate having to absorb the additional demand that this rule will create, lengthening the lines at our distributions.
The rule is not yet in effect and is pending a 60-day waiting period. Individuals should continue using benefits. We urge all CalFresh clients and community members concerned about this to contact our HelpReach team at 510-635-3663.