Food Stamp Advocacy Project: Immigrant Outreach Initiative
Public benefits are a critical support for low-income families, lifting nearly five million children out of poverty each year.1 In 2002, a single parent with two children earning $10,000 (a full-time job at minimum wage) could receive about $23,600 in additional income supports.2 The purpose of the Food Stamp Advocacy Project is to increase low-income families' access to income support programs critical for meeting families' basic needs like food stamps, cash and emergency assistance, child care subsidies, and Medicaid. The vast majority of low-income immigrant families do not receive one or more of the income supports for which they are eligible, resulting in a greater likelihood of unmet basic needs and compromised outcomes. By addressing legal, administrative, and policy barriers that unjustly prevent eligible immigrant families from accessing these critical benefits, the Immigrant Outreach Initiative of the Food Stamp Advocacy Project works to increase the income, financial stability, and well-being of the families it serves. The Immigrant Outreach Initiative achieves these goals by: (1) training health and social service providers at key community sites to conduct outreach and provide referrals to immigrant families regarding the Food Stamp Advocacy Project; (2) providing legal and advocacy support services through the Food Stamp Advocacy Project to low-income immigrant families seeking to obtain benefits; and (3) documenting patterns and practices that can inform systemic advocacy with medical, legal, and community partners to address that barriers eligible low-income immigrant families face in accessing income supports from the local welfare office, the Department of Human Services.
1 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Fact Sheet, Public Benefits: Easing Poverty and Ensuring Medical Coverage, August 15, 2005.
2 Urban Institute, Fact Sheet, Government Work Supports and Low-Income Families: Facts and Figures, July 2006