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.