Housing Subsidies with SNAP and WIC Improve Housing Security

Integrating Families’ Enrollment in Multiple Federal Programs Streamlines Bureaucracy

A study published in the Journal of Applied Research on Children found that the combination of housing subsidies with nutrition benefits improves housing security. Housing subsidies are critically important for ensuring low income families are “housing insecure.”

“The next Congress must do what the current Congress has not: hold the administration accountable and ensure that low-income disaster survivors are provided with stable, affordable homes so they can recover,” states Diane. “It’s the least we can do for fellow Americans who have lost so much.”

WIC is a federal supplemental nutrition program for pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age 5. WIC covers basic nutritional needs of infants and young children but is not adequate to cover all of a family’s nutritional needs, so families may also qualify to receive additional help from SNAP.

Unlike WIC, SNAP is a federal nutrition program open to all low-income families and individuals regardless of gender or age. In recent years, several states have begun to enroll eligible families in multiple programs like Medicaid, SNAP, WIC, housing assistance, and free or reduced-price lunch at the same time. This integration helps streamline bureaucracy for vulnerable low-income households.

“The results of this study reinforce that housing subsidies are a potent benefit for increasing housing security among low income families with young children,” write the study’s authors. “However, the combination of housing subsidies with nutrition benefits was most strongly associated with higher adjusted odds of housing security.”

The authors also found that the loss of housing subsidies, not surprisingly, was associated with increased housing insecurity even after adjusting for the receipt of SNAP benefits. What was surprising was the finding that the loss of SNAP benefits was also associated with increased housing insecurity, even after adjusting for the receipt of housing subsidies.

The study’s findings demonstrate that hunger policy is housing policy and that policymakers should work to pair housing assistance with nutrition benefits to improve housing security. To read more research on the connections between hunger and housing, please check out the Opportunity Starts at Home multi-sector affordable housing campaign’s online “Sector Page.”

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