The Role of CalFresh in Stabilizing Family Incomes
CalFresh, federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP), is one of California’s largest safety net programs. The program provides food assistance to 4.8 million Californians, and according to the most recent estimates, lifts about half a million Californians out of poverty. During the COVID-19 pandemic, federal and state policies have increased benefit levels and expanded eligibility for CalFresh. This report goes beyond annual poverty snapshots to investigate the double jeopardy of low and unstable income and addresses two key questions: To what extent do safety net resources stabilize incomes of CalFresh participants? and How did CalFresh and other safety net resources affect family budgets at the start of the pandemic?