Kilmer, Heck Lead Call to Increase Access to Food Assistance

U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Denny Heck (WA-10) called on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to modify income verification requirements for food banks receiving Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) support in order to get more Washingtonians access to critical food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Under current requirements, CDBG recipients must verify clients’ income by having each client complete and sign a form. While this system works under normal circumstances, the food banks serving our districts are concerned that the repetitive handoff of paperwork may increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission for their clients and volunteers,” the lawmakers wrote.

“Food banks are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, providing nutritious foods to those in need. Over the past month, food banks have been managing increased demand due to the economic ramifications of the outbreak,” they continued. “At the same time, they have had to change the format of operations in order to comply with social distancing guidelines. During this time of uncertainty, it is essential that food banks be enabled and encouraged to continue their work. They can only accomplish this if they are able to take necessary precautions to keep their clients, volunteers, and staff healthy.”

The letter was signed by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), along with Representatives Adam Smith (WA-09), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), and Rick Larsen (WA-02). The full text of the letter can be found here.