Hearing Focuses on CalFresh and Food Insecurity in California

At a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly Human Services Committees today, March 11, at 1:30 p.m. in Capitol Room 437, invited testimony from the California Budget Project will highlight just how prevalent food insecurity is in California and the toll that food insecurity can take on children and families.

Food insecurity occurs when families lack the available means to obtain enough nutritious food to thrive, which means they face hunger or the threat of hunger. This is due to a lack of money and other resources. In California, more than one in seven households were food insecure in 2012, the most recent year for which data are available. Only 11 states have a larger share of households experiencing food insecurity than does California. The percentage of food-insecure households in our state has increased by 44 percent since 2006, and has remained fairly constant since 2008. This shows that the recovery from the Great Recession has not reached many low-income Californians.

Food insecurity and poverty often go hand-in-hand, but public policies can help address these problems. According to the Public Policy Institute of California’s California Poverty Measure, CalFresh and CalWORKs lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty in 2011. Taking measures to boost CalFresh participation and to increase the CalWORKs grant would go far in reducing food insecurity in California. These are among the issues that the joint hearing will take up today.

— Kristin Schumacher

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