With the goal of helping 1.15 million eligible older adults enroll in the program over two years, NCOA will use the grant to fund outreach efforts by forty community-based organizations that provide in-person benefits counseling and support its own outreach efforts through its standalone BenefitsCheckUp tool. Funding will be targeted to assist vulnerable and difficult-to-reach populations, including African Americans, Latinx individuals, women, and rural Americans, many of whom have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.
According to NCOA, more than 9.8 million older adults were food insecure before the pandemic was declared. While research by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has shown that participation in SNAP reduces food insecurity overall by 30 percent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that only 48 percent of eligible older adults participate in the program.
"We've heard from older adults and our local partners that accessing and paying for food is a critical need right now," said NCOA chief customer officer Josh Hodges. "Food, on average, is the second highest household expenditure for people aged sixty-plus, and too often they have to stretch their food budget in order to make ends meet. That's where SNAP can help."
(Photo credit: Sven Scheuermeier via Unsplash)