The number of U.S. households on Food Stamps with no cash income continues to grow at an alarming rate, according to a new report from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
The report, “Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2011,” indicates that the number of Food Stamps recipients with no cash income rose to more than 6.5 million in 2011. By comparison, 5.8 million U.S. residents received Food Stamps but had no cash income in fiscal year 2010, and 4.5 million Food Stamps recipients had no cash income in fiscal year 2009.
While the percentage of households in the U.S. with zero gross cash income remained steady at 20 percent from 2010 to 2011, the overall caseload of people receiving Food Stamps increased by 4 million people. In Ohio, the number of people on Food Stamps with no cash income grew even faster from fiscal year 2010, when the rate of Food Stamps households with on cash income was 18.2 percent, to fiscal year 2011, when the rate jumped to 20.7 percent.
Currently, an estimated 259,945 Ohio residents are receiving Food Stamps but have no cash income. This is an increase from the estimated 227,757 Ohio residents in fiscal year 2010.
And while these numbers are startling on their own, it should also be pointed out that more than 40 percent of all Food Stamps recipients are children.
There is no greater indication of the failure of our safety net programs today than the tragic numbers of families and individuals trying to survive on no cash income. These families and individuals struggle every day just trying to survive. This makes paying for housing, transportation, personal hygiene products and other basic necessities almost impossible.
If all of the U.S. residents who receive Food Stamps but have no cash income were gathered in one place, they would constitute a state with a population about as large as Massachusetts.
If all of the Ohio residents who receive Food Stamps and have zero gross cash income were gathered in one place, they would make up a city with a population that is 100,000 larger than the city of Dayton.
Despite these huge numbers of people, there is no sense of urgency, or even an acknowledgement about this crisis by our elected officials. It IS a crisis, though, and it is getting worse. We call upon our President, Governor and our federal and state representatives to take immediate action to address this problem.
For more facts and figures about Food Stamps in the U.S. and in Ohio, click here.
The new report, “Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2011”, can be found at this link: http://www.fns.usda.gov/ora/MENU/Published/snap/snap.htm