Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides leadership on food, agriculture, and natural resources.  The USDA’s work intersects with the goals of USICH in several areas.  The USDA administers several mainstream benefit programs that can directly benefit families at risk of or directly experiencing homelessness, as well as programs that can reimburse homeless service providers for providing meals.  These programs include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), The National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), the Summer Food Service Program, and the Supplementation Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). All these nutrition assistance programs are administered by State agencies with funds allocated by the Department of Agriculture. The USDA also administers the Rural Development program, funding a wide variety of programs and activities in rural America.

SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program and titled different names in different States, provides access to healthy food for roughly 34 million people per month and is administered by State agencies. Food assistance is a critical income support for individuals and families experiencing homelessness or on the verge of becoming homeless, who can then use more of their discretionary income on housing.  Improving access to mainstream benefits like SNAP is one of the main objectives in Opening Doors. The USDA provides rural development resources to communities and non-profits to develop homeless shelters and other resources. Rural Development’s direct and guaranteed rural housing programs help families and individuals escape homelessness by providing safe and affordable housing to a sector of the population which would not otherwise receive housing assistance.

What Factors Account for State-to-State Differences in Food Security

Judi Bartfeld, Rachel Dunifon, Mark Nord, and Steven Carlson November 2006 States differ in the extent...

Food Stamp Program Access Study: Final Report

Susan Bartlett, Nancy Burstein, and William Hamilton, with the assistance of Ryan Kling November 2004 The...

Simplified Reporting and Transitional Benefits in the Food Stamp Program

Carole Trippe, Liz Schott, Nancy Wemmerus, and Andrew Burwick May 2004 "This study examines the experiences...

Employment Factors Influencing Food Stamp Program Participation

Signe-Mary McKernan and Caroline Ratcliffe, with contributions from Emily Rosenberg November 2003 "This study examines how...

Child and Adult Care Food Program

The CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Meals program provides snacks and meals to low-income children participating in...

National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs

The National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs are two of the many school meals...

Rural Development

Rural Development funds help many individuals living in rural America find the tools they need...

Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program provides free breakfasts and lunches to children during the summer...

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), once known as the Food Stamps Program, helps over 34...

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

The WIC program provides a voucher or coupon (some states use an EBT card) for...