Building Economic Security

FRAC’s economic security work goes far beyond the federal nutrition programs.

  • FRAC is a key leader of the national advocacy community’s opposition to budget cuts in safety net programs for the poor.
  • FRAC plays a central role in efforts to restore economic and food security, helping to strengthen the child care system for working parents; to make the tax code a support rather than a burden for low-income workers; and to improve other anti-poverty and anti-hunger supports.

Hunger, poverty and economic insecurity are a toxic mix for America’s low-income families – with an especially harsh impact on children.

More and more families throughout this decade have been struggling against stagnant wages, shrinking government supports, and rising costs for food, energy, housing and health care. Living below poverty puts tremendous strains on a household, giving families barely enough money to put enough food on the table to feed themselves and their children. Nutrition research shows that as income goes down, the nutritional adequacy of the household’s diet goes down as well.

The federal nutrition programs play a critical part in providing economic security. The SNAP/Food Stamp program has grown substantially in recent years and become the government’s most important economic support program for the non-elderly poor, as well as the first line of defense against hunger. In fact, government data show that SNAP/Food Stamp benefits are the single most effective program in lifting children out of extreme poverty (defined as family income below 50 percent of the poverty line).

Hunger is a condition of poverty. Ending hunger in this country requires an ongoing, integrated approach:

  • An economy with strong growth and good jobs can lift many families out of food insecurity;
  • Better public income supports like low-income refundable tax credits (such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit), Supplemental Security Income for seniors and disabled persons, and other programs help lift incomes and reduce food insecurity;
  • Expansion and improvement of nutrition programs like SNAP/Food Stamps, school meals, child care food, WIC and summer and afterschool food; and
  • Emergency food assistance to help fill in the gaps.