Monday, 12 April 2021

Sen. Dodd’s college student food insecurity bill advances

SACRAMENTO – Low-income college students would have reliable access to nutritious food through the Cal Fresh program under a bill from State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that cleared the Assembly’s Human Services committee on Tuesday.

“Students shouldn’t have to starve in order to get an education,” Sen. Dodd said. “Hunger is a serious problem on California college campuses today. My bill will ensure students of modest means don’t go hungry by making it easier for them to receive public assistance.”

The inability to afford food – or food insecurity – is a top concern among college students.

A recent Government Accountability Office report shows a third of all college student are struggling to afford food and basic nutrition.

It recommends the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service take steps to enroll people in federal food assistance programs.

Senate Bill 173 addresses the problem on a state level by removing barriers to students to get subsidies under Cal Fresh, in part by streamlining the application process.

More than 50,000 California college students could be enrolled in food assistance thanks to the senator’s legislation.

The bill cleared the Assembly committee on Tuesday on a unanimous vote and heads next to Appropriations.

It is supported by the California Welfare Directors Association, the County of Yolo and student groups.

“The Cal Fresh rules for students can be extremely limiting, forcing too many struggling college students to go hungry,” said Cathy Senderling McDonald, deputy executive director of the California Welfare Directors Association. “County human services agencies hope this bill will help ease participation in the types of work-study programs that enable more students to become, and remain, eligible for this critical nutrition support program.”

Sen. Bill Dodd represents California’s Third Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Sonoma, Yolo, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties.

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