State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz To Hold Public Hearing on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Home Delivered Meals

Ruben Diaz

May 12, 2009

New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) will chair a Senate Committee on Aging Public Hearing on Thursday, May 14, at 250 Broadway, NYC, 19th Floor at 1:00 p.m. The hearing will accept oral and written testimony from the public regarding S.3340 (Diaz, et al), which seeks to fully fund the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for Home Delivered Meals for senior citizens. The goal of this legislation is to eliminate waiting lists for home delivered meals and to reduce the financial burden on local counties, many who subsidize this state program with local taxpayer dollars.

Home delivered meals are an important component in assisting the frail elderly to remain at home. Yet, according to the New York State Office for the Aging, 70% of those in immediate need of home-delivered meals are not receiving them due to inadequate funding. Because local county offices for the aging are not required to report waiting lists for home delivered meals, or the amount their counties contribute towards funding SNAP, this information is not available on a consistent basis. Several counties report that they typically run out of state funding for SNAP in July or August of each year.  In State Fiscal Year 2008-2009 ten counties reported that they provided  $635,842 towards funding SNAP with local taxpayer dollars.
Senator Diaz, Chair of the Senate Committee on Aging said “I am looking forward to hearing testimony from the various organizations and government offices that rely on SNAP funds to operate the home delivered meal program for our senior citizens.  The fact that we have homebound elderly in this state who are on waiting lists to receive food is a serious problem that needs to be resolved immediately.”

Organizations expected to testify include the New York State Office for the Aging, the New York City Department for the Aging, the Council of Senior Centers and Services, Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo, the Institute for Puerto Rican and Hispanic Elderly, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, the Latino Center on Aging, the New York State Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Nassau County Department of Senior Citizen Affairs, AARP, and The Food Bank for New York City.

For further information, please contact: 
Cathy Bern-Smith, Policy Director: 518-455-2513 (w), 518-209-6767 (c)