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Poverty, Food Access and How Lawyers Can Help

What are the top issues Bread for the City is dealing with when it comes to food insecurity?

Right now [it’s] the problems that the Department of Human Services is experiencing in processing food stamps applications and recertifications. We find that we need to get involved on the clients’ behalf to try to get these benefits turned back on or get back benefits that are owed.

In October 2016, we began seeing an increase in those types of problems due to changes in the DHS computer system, which has led to numerous computer glitches. This is in addition to human errors and language access availability issues that already existed. It’s a perfect storm in leading people to be denied access to food stamps and other aid.

What does hunger in D.C. look like?

There’s an increased need for food. Our clients can come to Bread for the City once a month to get a five-day supply of food for their family. Clients [previously were] able to get an emergency food bag once a year. We tracked when people came in for emergency food bags from October 1, 2016, to May 31, 2017, and compared it to [data from] the same period from 2015 to 2016. [We] saw a 41 percent increase in the number of emergency food bags Bread for the City distributed overall. The number of households in Wards 7 and 8 – the wards in the District with the lowest per capita income – that received an emergency food bag increased by 52 percent during that same time period. Unfortunately, we . . . had to suspend our emergency food bag program. It became too costly.

Read the full interview ‘Bread for the City’s Miles-Lee: Poverty, Food Access, and How Lawyers Can Help’ by Jeffery Leon on DCBAR HERE.

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