SNAP benefits (“Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program”) exist to supplement the food budgets of families in need, through a federal program managed by the USDA. In response to the COVID emergency, the USDA increased SNAP benefits back in April 2020 to help families during the crisis, in what were called “emergency allotments.” Due to federal guidelines, these SNAP emergency allotments came to an end this February, and folks who had relied on these enhanced SNAP benefits to help feed their families for almost 3 years will no longer be receiving them.
But just because SNAP emergency allotments have ended does not mean the economic situation for our neighbors in need in Collin County has improved. In fact, at Community Lifeline Center we’re seeing a higher demand for food assistance now than we did at any point during the entire pandemic period! This shows that our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet, and they’re relying on us for more help now than ever.
Reduced SNAP benefits are just one reason for the increased requests for assistance that we’re seeing. The recent growth and prosperity of Collin County, coupled with the lack of available housing in the area, has led to a steep increase in rental costs across the board, which hits our neighbors in need especially hard. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in McKinney now tops out at more than $1,700 and given the impact of steadily rising property taxes, it’s not unusual to see landlords increasing rents by as much as 50% at lease-renewal time.
Rising housing costs plus the recent loss of SNAP emergency benefits has created a dire situation for many local families, and hunger is becoming an unfortunate reality for more and more of our Collin County neighbors. But with your help we can overcome this. Be part of the solution and give generously to Community Lifeline Center so that together, we can ensure that no neighbor goes hungry!
Liz Cimini is the current Board President of CLC.