As an organization that supports and serves the most vulnerable people in our community and aims to increase access to the most basic needs, including housing, health care, and food, we are angered and disheartened by the recent proposals and rules passed by the Trump administration regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and public charge determinations. Both of these rules reduce the reach and accessibility of public benefits programs that provide health care (Medicaid), housing (Section 8), and food (SNAP). We are incredibly concerned about:

  • the cruel and harmful agenda that targets immigrant communities and families and deters them from enrolling in public assistance programs that support and save lives; and
  • the proposal to perpetuate inequity, exacerbate existing racial disparities, and increase hunger and food insecurity in working individuals and children by cutting SNAP for 3.1 million people across the United States

We want our community to know that we strongly oppose these rules and will continue to advocate for access to the most basic needs. We will continue to support our immigrant community by providing access to health care through our health clinic and food to those accessing youth services programs at Outside In. We will continue to enroll people in SNAP and OHP, provide fresh produce during our bi-weekly Free Courtyard Market, and work closely with our neighboring organizations to provide additional food, shelter, and housing supports.

We recognize that these changes in policy and regulations are compounded by the ever-increasing rent burden in Portland and other metropolitan areas. The average rent in Portland is currently $1,653, and working individuals are juggling housing, food, health care, child care, and transportation. Removing access to food assistance will further increase housing insecurity and houselessness throughout Multnomah County.

During this time of uncertainty, we are prepared to continue our support of those experiencing houselessness, especially our most vulnerable neighbors, through our health clinic and youth services programs. Changes to public charge determination policies are scheduled to take place in October 2019. The National Immigration Law Center has compiled information for the immigrant community to help better understand these changes.

If you have an immigration status and have any questions or concerns about accessing public assistance or benefits programs, Outside In’s Legal Clinic can try to answer some of your questions. Our Legal Clinic takes place every other Thursday from 2:00pm-3:00pm. For more information, call 503.535.3968.

The proposed rule for SNAP is just that—a proposal. No changes to SNAP eligibility requirements have occurred, and there is still time to advocate against them. If you are interested in applying for SNAP or have any questions or concerns about eligibility, our SNAP Outreach and Education Coordinator can assist you. Our SNAP Clinic takes place the first and third Friday of each month from 1:00pm-4:00pm. For more information, call 503.445.0977.

Take Action

These new cruel and harmful policies and proposals fuel inequity, hunger, and an overall lack of humanity. Make your voice heard. The Food Research and Action Center has set up a resource for submitting comments to the Food and Nutrition Service regarding proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The deadline for public comments is September 23, 2019.