To: Louisiana Governor Piyush Jindal

Taking Food out of people’s mouths does not create jobs, it leaves entire communities hungry!

Taking Food out of people’s mouths does not create jobs, it leaves entire communities hungry!

Governor Jindal,

We are deeply concerned about your decision not to apply for the waiver of work requirements for SNAP benefits. Your refusal to apply for this waiver will leave an estimated 64,000 Louisianans hungry starting in January 2016. With very limited employment opportunities in our state and an unemployment rate that is significantly higher than the national average, not applying for this waiver punishes the people of Louisiana for living in a state without adequate access to jobs. It also takes an average of $150 million of federal funding for food out of families and communities.

In New Orleans 52% of Black men are out of work and we have the second highest income inequality rate in the nation. Having the second highest income inequality rate means that the rich (40% of New Orleanians) owns over 90% of the wealth while the rest of us (60% of New Orleanians) owns less than 10% of the wealth. Many of us have been looking for stable employment for months or even years but are unable to find adequate employment that's stable. The decision to require work in order to qualify for food stamps will disproportionately impact people of color in Louisiana who are most likely to be unemployed. It would also increase an already high crime rate due to a lack of survival resources. Currently there is only one job available for every two people experiencing unemployment. Taking away food stamps from poor people ,while we already lack resources due to a high income inequality, will create a wave of crime that can only be controlled by our government providing us adequate resources. You may believe that this is just the push that people need to go out and find a job, but we know all too well that there is just not enough work in this state. Your calculations are fundamentally misguided: Taking Food out of people’s mouths does not create jobs, it leaves entire communities hungry!

We are asking you to immediately apply for the statewide waiver of work requirements and give 64,000 people in Louisiana access to SNAP benefits.

Why is this important?

Under the 1996 welfare law, able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) are limited to three months of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly food stamps) in a three-year period unless they are working 20 hours a week or enrolled in a job training program for 20 hours a week. But the same law that created the time limit allows states to request a waiver for areas with high unemployment where jobs are scarce. Louisiana is eligible for a statewide waiver in 2016 given our high unemployment rate. Louisiana has added 51,000 jobs since January 2013, but at the same time the labor force grew by 102,000 job seekers. Louisiana now has a higher unemployment rate than the nation.

Unfortunately, Governor Jindal has chosen not to apply for a statewide waiver. Their position is that a wavier conflicts with a policy of promoting "self-sufficiency." Of course, we all agree that a job paying a living wage is preferable to public assistance. But we also are aware of the reality that jobs--much less good-paying jobs--are scarce in our state.

Rates of food insecurity in Louisiana remain high. Surveys averaged over three years show 17.6 percent of Louisianans lacked food security over the 2012-2014 period, a huge increase from the 11.8 percent who were food insecure a decade ago and higher than the 14.1 percent in 2009-2011. Nationally, the rate is 14.3 percent. Denying SNAP to the unemployed will do nothing to increase the rate of job creation, but will increase food hardship and the burden on local food banks already struggling to serve the hungry. People who will be cut off from food assistance because of this harsh rule are some of the poorest people in the state who are generally not eligible for any other type of assistance. Now, it will be harder for them to eat. Taking SNAP benefits away from unemployed workers will also create desperate situations that can increase the crime rate in the state of Louisiana.

If DCFS refuses to apply for a waiver targeting high-need areas, the state should at least commit itself to providing a job training spot to every single person who wants one so that they can keep their SNAP benefits while building their skills. Unfortunately, given budget constraints, that isn’t likely to happen. With a lack of jobs, no training opportunities, and limited places to perform community service, thousands will be punitively cut off from basic food assistance.

Please sign on to tell Jindal that you will not stand by as he makes people starve.

Louisiana, United States

Reasons for signing

  • I know many who rely on this to survive because they are paid so poorly. Please don't let this happen.
  • No one should be without food
  • People should not go without food in the richest country in the world.

Updates

2015-12-16 08:44:34 -0800

Check out this article- an update on the campaign- make sure to share with your friends far and wide- we will be delivering this petition soon and need to make sure everyone is included.

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/12/snap_food_stamps_injunction.html

2015-11-29 05:32:34 -0800

If you have not seen it- check out the Youtube Videos of some fasters Here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLn5mGiHwVMLQypREQRciDmyg9Nw8QgoRb

2015-11-29 05:30:25 -0800

The 15 Day Fast has come to an end with over 30 people participating in Louisiana including the President of New Orleans's City Council- See his letter here: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/11/food_stamps_jindal.html#incart_email

2015-11-20 20:19:21 -0800

1,000 signatures reached

2015-11-19 14:48:55 -0800

500 signatures reached

2015-11-17 16:17:39 -0800

We Knocked on Jindal's Door Yesterday and also put the candidates for the next governor on notice- we won't back down. Took action with OUR Walmart and Fight for 15 http://theadvocate.com/news/14000776-128/louisiana-walmart-workers-plan-demonstrations

2015-11-11 17:52:35 -0800

You can keep track of the 15 day Fast 2 End Jindal's Starvation Plan on the Youtube Playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC8es9tfljc&list=PLn5mGiHwVMLQypREQRciDmyg9Nw8QgoRb

2015-11-11 17:50:10 -0800

We had an incredible launch of the Fast to End Jindal's Starvation Plan yesterday and filed this complaint: http://nowcrj.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/STAND-Administrative-Complaint-SNAP-2015-11-09-FINAL.pdf

2015-11-10 09:48:22 -0800

100 signatures reached

2015-11-09 10:55:24 -0800

Tomorrow morning at 11:30 is the big day- 1661 Canal Street in New Orleans- join us for an awesome street theater, the launching of the 15 Day Fast to End Jindals Starvation Plan, and Delivering our Administrative Complaint to bring a stop to this cruel plan. Louisiana Deserves Better #LAFoodStampCrisis #Fast2EndStarvation

2015-11-07 08:43:14 -0800

50 signatures reached

2015-11-06 11:05:08 -0800

25 signatures reached

2015-11-06 06:07:57 -0800

10 signatures reached

2015-11-04 18:03:05 -0800

This Tuesday join us in New Orleans at 11:30AM to Speak out at the Food Stamp office in New Orleans 1661 Canal Street. We will be announcing a rolling fast to pressure Jindal to apply for the waiver- please let me know if you want to join that fast- it will be 15 days long.