One out of 11 Coloradans struggles with food insecurity; the state of being without reliable access to enough nutritious, affordable food. This is particularly true in communities of color and for people experiencing poverty.
Food assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) are the sturdy backbone of our state’s public benefits system. Of the state’s eligible SNAP population, only about 60 percent are enrolled. The figure is even lower for WIC, at around 50 percent. Not only does this mean Colorado loses millions of dollars in federal funding, but our state’s population is less healthy and able to achieve goals such as working or going to school.
Besides working with state legislators to transform legislation into law, we take our expertise to the administrative level of state government to propose policies that make it easier for Coloradans to obtain and use food assistance benefits. For example, we advise Colorado’s State Board of Human Services on rules that apply to programs like SNAP and WIC. We meet regularly with officials at the Colorado Department of Human Services on program issues. Our research team also reviews the effects of rules that govern Colorado’s food assistance programs on participant enrollment and retention.
- We are part of a multiyear effort to address hunger in Colorado through our participation in the Blueprint to End Hunger. Key elements of the Blueprint include efforts to maximize enrollment of income-eligible Coloradans in SNAP and WIC, as well as boosting participation in Federal Child Nutrition programs and expanding the number of Coloradans who can access the food they need through community-based organizations. CCLP is a major architect and supporter of the Blueprint’s legislative agenda.
- We were also an important voice in passing Senate Bill 245 during the 2019 legislative session. This bill helps the state move into federal compliance by shortening the time frame for SNAP appeals, but in a manner that still protects the due process rights of SNAP clients. Most significantly, we ensured the inclusion of an amendment that would ensure procedural rights for SNAP appellants, while streamlining the process to align with the federal timeframe.
- As CDHS moves through a major rewrite and technical cleanup of the rules governing administration of the SNAP program, CCLP is a respected partner at the table. We research and review these rule rewrites to ensure that participants’ rights and program access are maximized.