NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — One-sixth of New York City’s residents and one-fifth of its children live in households without enough to eat.
That’s according to the annual survey of hunger by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.
The survey, which is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, is set to be released Tuesday.
Executive Director Joel Berg told The New York Times the rates of “food insecurity” haven’t improved in the last three years even as the economy has.
The survey found the problem was greatest in the Bronx. Thirty-six percent of residents and 49 percent of children there didn’t have enough money for balanced meals from 2010 through 2012.
“In the Bronx, nearly half the children lived in homes that couldn’t afford enough food,” Berg told 1010 WINS. “This is a city with 53 billionaires with a combined net worth nearly three times the entire city budget, it really is unconscionable that half the children in the Bronx can’t afford enough food.”
The survey found that the number of residents in Brooklyn and Manhattan without enough to eat also was on the rise.
Joel said things could get worse before they get better.
“It’s important to note that these statistics were compiled before the recent cut in food stamps benefits went into effect,” he said. “If Congress actually adds more cuts into food stamps on top of the cuts they’ve already implemented you will start seeing famine-like conditions here in New York City.”
As of Nov. 1, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits were cut by $19 million a month in New York City alone, according to experts. The cuts hit despite the greater need for food assistance.
The SNAP benefits were cut as a result of a deal struck in December 2010 to pay six cents more per meal in federal school lunch reimbursements.
The White House promised to work with Congress to restore the funds before the cuts hit, but failed to do so, according to the Food Bank of New York City.
Joel is hoping mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will help turn things around.
“We look forward to working with a new mayor to push for an increased minimum wage for New York City to ensure that more eligible working families get SNAP nutrition benefits and to make sure every kid in New York City gets free classroom breakfast as well as after school snacks.”
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