Silicon Valley’s tech boom has created immense wealth for some, but it has also brought a huge increase in the cost of living, particularly housing. This makes living in the area extremely difficult for those who don’t earn high salaries.
These individuals are our co-workers, friends and neighbors, and they are struggling to make ends meet in an expensive region.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as CalFresh in California, is a nutrition assistance program that provides benefits to supplement household food budgets when individuals and families cannot afford enough to eat. CalFresh helps low-income families and individuals purchase nutritious, culturally specific food from their preferred grocery stores and farmers’ markets.
- It is not a welfare program; it’s a nutrition program that supports productivity, promotes health and helps prevents hunger.
- To be eligible for CalFresh benefits, households can earn no more than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
- About half of those eligible for CalFresh in Silicon Valley participate in the program.
Why CalFresh matters
As a region, we are losing out on an estimated $321 million in additional economic activity. CalFresh participation helps return tax dollars to our local community.
Who CalFresh helps
Low-income households and families
More than 74% of participants are families with children.
States and local communities
The average monthly CalFresh benefit per household member is $136 — these dollars are spent in local grocery stores and farmers’ markets, and improve our economy. The households we assist with CalFresh who have their applications accepted receive an average of $198 per month for groceries.
Businesses and workers
Employees whose food needs are met at home may have higher productivity rates and take fewer sick days.