Hunger Free Colorado works on the federal, state and county levels to streamline business processes and adopt best practices that will help alleviate hunger throughout the state.
In 2011, significant progress was made in terms of policy change to reduce hunger for Coloradans. We focused our efforts on streamlining processes surrounding SNAP and other federal nutrition programs to close gaps that reduce access barriers and maximize federal funding.
Removal of the Asset Test
With the support of many partners, Hunger Free Colorado advocated for the removal of the asset test to increase access and reduce administrative workload by adopting broad-based categorical eligibility for SNAP in the state. The elimination means that low-income households with modest savings or other assets can receive much-needed nutrition assistance through SNAP.
Hunger Free Colorado and partnering organizations advocated for a shortened version of the 26-page SNAP application, one of the longest, combined applications in the nation. Questions were eliminated from the written application and added to the interview process, which resulted in a revised, eight-page application during 2011. To further improve the system for enrollment in food, cash and medical assistance programs, the state implemented an online screening process in both English and Spanish called the Program Eligibility and Application Kit (PEAK). With these changes, more households in Colorado can be screened for SNAP eligibility.
Colorado’s First SNAP Outreach Plan
Expanding outreach is an essential component to enhanced awareness and understanding of SNAP among those potentially eligible for benefits. We worked with the state to develop a robust, statewide SNAP outreach plan, with the goal of providing improved public access to eligibility guidelines as well as navigation of the benefits system when working with one of the 64 county offices in Colorado. Hunger Free Colorado was selected as one of three community partners to help implement the plan with the Colorado Department of Human Services.
School Breakfast Funding Restored
Hunger Free Colorado also advocated for the restoration of a school breakfast subsidy for low-income students in Colorado schools. An amendment for supplemental funding for the Start Smart Nutrition Program was approved in 2011, making breakfast free for children who would otherwise have to pay a reduced price of 30 cents.
Governor Signs Executive Order for No Kid Hungry
In January 2011, John W. Hickenlooper become governor of Colorado and continued the office’s support of the No Kid Hungry Colorado Campaign. A few months later, in September 2011, Gov. Hickenlooper signed an Executive Order, showing his support for No Kid Hungry Colorado to end child hunger in the state by 2015. As of today, he is the only governor to do so in the United States. The Office of Governor John Hickenlooper serves as one of three lead partners for the Campaign, along with Hunger Free Colorado and Share Our Strength.
Other Notable Accomplishments
Hunger Free Colorado helped organize a lobby day in Washington, D.C., in February 2011. Fifteen anti-hunger advocates from five organizations gathered to send a message to elected officials that federal nutrition programs are important to the state of Colorado.