Hundreds of Thousands of Baltimoreans Would be Affected by Trump’s SNAP Plan

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A map of “high priority food access areas,” formerly called food deserts, from the city’s 2018
Food Environment Report.

A new budget proposal from the Trump administration would cut benefits to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, in half and instead send recipients a “USDA America’s Harvest Box” with “shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.”

The plan, which Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney likened to the food-delivery service Blue Apron, has been criticized as a blow to the poor.

And it could affect one out of every three Baltimoreans. According to data released by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in 2015, nearly 33 percent of city residents participate in the SNAP program, compared with 13 percent of Marylanders overall.

The Trump administration’s proposal would affect anyone who receives at least $90 a month in benefits, or, nationally, about 80 percent of people in the SNAP program.

One out of every four stores in Maryland authorized to accept SNAP as payment for food in 2014 was located in the city’s borders, according to a different report by Hopkins, showing how concentrated poverty and food insecurity are in Baltimore. Additionally, one in four residents were living in a food desert–defined as a place where people are living below the federal poverty line, and do not have a grocery store within a quarter mile or access to fresh fruits and vegetables–in 2015, according to data from the city’s planning department.

Across the U.S., one in seven households in 2014 experienced “difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources,” according to the Brookings Institution. That number went up to nearly one in five for households with children.



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