Client Bill of Rights

Now is the time for a Client Bill of Rights!

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Some background

At Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, we have long documented disparate access to the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) services based on race, ethnicity, and/or language. From the early 2000s through 2019, PHFO conducted annual documentation of customer services experiences at ODHS through “secret shopper” activities. Our data show that individuals that speak a language other than English or have a non-white racial/ethic identity were frequently asked to provide more documents than necessary or allowable to apply for SNAP within ODHS policy. 

We partnered closely with ODHS on this work, highlighting findings and recommendations to address barriers. We stopped conducting this work in 2019 because for multiple years we consistently found the same barriers that disproportionately affected communities of color and non-English speakers, and government agencies did not take action to address and change the outcomes. We knew it was time for us to take a different approach and put matters into the community’s hands.

A community-led solution

Working closely with our SNAP Client Advisory Board (SNAP CAB), a group of dedicated community leaders who have lived experience of hunger and poverty, we created a set of expectations for how ODHS employees interact with clients that is based on the actual experiences and needs of those receiving services. Our goal is to present these expectations to the Oregon legislature and enact them as statute, so that every individual who walks through the doors at ODHS is treated fairly and equitably.

SNAP CAB members have universally experienced barriers and poor treatment when seeking services with ODHS, many because of their race, ethnicity, gender, and disability. Board members are deeply connected to their community and witness many who need critical resources encountering trauma and barriers that prevent them from easily accessing supports they need. These experiences were only made worse during the pandemic, as limited in-person access to critical services and changes to ODHS systems – including a new online portal and call center– have starkly limited access.

That’s where the community came in. During the summer of 2021, SNAP CAB created a statewide survey that was distributed to individuals who were currently or had formerly accessed SNAP benefits. We asked survey recipients what their experience with ODHS was like and what they would like to see change. The survey was completed by individuals from all corners of Oregon and the findings were clear: survey results confirmed a need to address customer service and inequitable access through a client bill of rights. From there, the Client Bill of Rights campaign was born.

The Client Bill of Rights

The campaign envisions all Oregonians seeking food benefits are welcomed, supported, and provided with transparency while seeking assistance from Oregon Department of Human Services. To do this, we will present a bill to the Oregon legislature that makes the following asks of ODHS:

  • Centers clients’ rights by being trauma-informed and receiving trauma-informed training
  • Create a supportive and welcoming environment, providing clear information (in requested languages) and transparency on benefit decisions
  • Make community-requested updates to their existing Client Bill of Rights, and visibly posting the Client Bill of Rights in all ODHS offices.
  • ODHS staff, administration, and processes are client-centered and client needs are prioritized.

We see the far reaching outcomes of a policy like this in place at ODHS that will establish metrics for good customer service and client access leading to increased uptake of programs, lower trauma during the application process, and equitable experiences for people of color, people who are gender non-confirming, and those with disabilities seeking ODHS services.

Read the Client Bill of Rights

What we aim to accomplish

Our goal is to introduce this legislation during the 2025 Oregon legislative session. We will be speaking with legislators about the importance of creating a Client Bill of Rights and will seek out sponsors. We will continue to work with community and people that have lived expertise in hunger and poverty to ensure that those who would be most impacted by this legislation are leading the way.

Want to get engaged with this campaign?

Get involved!

Learn more about the SNAP Client Advisory Board

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Federal Rule Statuses

Wondering about the status of federal rule changes that affect people experiencing hunger and poverty?

The Trump administration has been targeting people living in poverty by seeking cuts to food assistance through changes in administrative rules. This allows them to subvert Congress, the will of the people, and decades of precedence. These rules in total will cut one in six Oregonians off of SNAP and Oregon would lose $144 million in food assistance.

We have compiled all of the proposed and announced rules and where they are in the process of becoming law. Check back here for updates as we get them.

Public Charge

This rule imposes racist wealth tests on immigrants and would penalize certain categories of immigrants who receive SNAP, and other specific benefit programs, when applying for legal permanent residency. The rule was scheduled to go into effect on October 15, 2019, but was delayed by an injunction in late 2019. The Supreme Court set aside the injunction in late January 2020. Our latest update is available here.

STATUS: In effect nationwide for benefits received after February 24, 2020 except in Illinois.

ABAWD Time Limits

This rule sets new time limits on SNAP for adults, ages 18-49, who are facing challenges finding employment, with enforcement even in high-unemployment areas. This will impose time limits in all but six Oregon counties, having devastating effects across the state. Read the latest update here.

STATUS: Scheduled to go into effect on April 1. Oregon, along with 14 other states, have filed a lawsuit, with the intent of halting this rule.

Categorical Eligibility

This rule requires states to meet unfair new requirements, including strict limits on assets and gross income, when determining SNAP eligibility. Up to 50,000 Oregon households would be cut off SNAP if this rule moves forward. This also ends automatic certification for school meals for tens of thousands of students. Learn more here.

STATUS: Public comments closed in November 2019, and a final rule could be issued in Spring or Summer 2020.

Standard Utility Allowance

This rule would limit the flexibility states have in determining the standard amount of utility costs that can be factored into the level of a household’s SNAP, which would reduce benefits for 43% of households in Oregon. This would result in a loss of $52 million statewide. Learn more here.

STATUS: Public comments closed in December 2019, and a final rule could be issued in Spring or Summer 2020.

SNAP Client Advisory Board

The SNAP Client Advisory Board works to improve the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through the expertise of program participants.

About the SNAP Client Advisory Board

The SNAP Client Advisory Board provides a brave space for past, present, and future SNAP participants to improve the program for SNAP recipients. The board exists to make changes, hold decision-makers accountable, and ensure there is equitable access to SNAP for all. We do this by working together with advocates, community organizations, and lawmakers.

This board is comprised of community leaders who have lived experience of hunger and poverty. These leaders have been on SNAP in the past or present.  Board members are compensated through hourly stipends for time spent at meetings, trainings, and conducting work related to the board. Transportation assistance, childcare, and food are provided at all meetings.

The SNAP Client Advisory Board:

  • Questions and assesses the impact and outcomes of rules, regulations, policies, structural and systemic change issues, and implementation of SNAP in Oregon.
  • Works with advocates, program administrators, and legislative bodies to influence decision-making about SNAP in Oregon.
  • Advocates for individuals and groups that are underrepresented and marginalized within SNAP.
  • Highlights the successes and areas for improvement of SNAP in Oregon.
  • Engages with SNAP participants out in the community to share their experiences, expertise, and needs.

SNAP Client Advisory Board Members






Hunger-Free Schools

Every Child Deserves a Healthy Start to the School Day


Our Vision for Hunger-Free Schools

We envision universal school meals for every child, where school meals are free for all K-12 students in Oregon and in every state. 

Every child deserves a healthy start in life. Healthy meals at school help kids learn, grow, and thrive. But the reality is that too many kids in Oregon experience hunger and food insecurity. With one in every four children in the state of Oregon being food insecure, many families rely on school meals for their nutritional needs. 

The Hunger-Free Schools initiative, launched in 2018, works to expand access to school meals through state and federal policy advocacy. Hunger-Free Oregon led the coalition expanding access to free school meals in the state, which was passed into law in 2019, making Oregon the national leader in school meal access. Today, we continue this work with continued state and federal advocacy for universal school meals.

Take action for School Meals

Powerful Victories for Oregon Families

The Hunger-Free Schools campaign resulted in the passage of a comprehensive set of school meal policies, included in the 2019 Student Success Act, to significantly improve access to school meals for all students. We worked hard to ensure that the law was designed to benefit communities at the highest risk of hunger. Learn more about our 2019 Hunger Free Schools campaign.

The new investments to school meals are:

  1. More schools serving universal school meals: Oregon is supplementing the federal reimbursement for school meals so that more schools can opt into a program allowing them to provide all school meals free of charge (Community Eligibility Provision). 
  2. More kids qualifying for free school meals: Students whose families earn between 185% and 300% of the federal poverty line (FPL) now qualify for meals served at no charge, an increase of 37% of food insecure families.
  3. Dramatic increases to Breakfast After the Bell: All schools with 70% or more students eligible for federal free or reduced price meals are now making free breakfast available to all students after the school day begins.

In 2023, Oregon legislation pass a historic investment in Oregon schools in House Bill 5014. HB 5014 included funding to support up to 3 out of 4 to qualify for the Community Eligibility Provision, and provide schools to provide universal school meals to all schoolchildren!

We look forward to supporting school districts in implementing the new option in the school year ’25-’25, and continuing to push for universal school meals for all Oregon students.

Learn More about Free School Meals

Take action to end hunger

Speak Up

Join Us in Ending Hunger

Join Us in Ending Hunger

Together, we can end hunger in Oregon
Donate Today

Anti-Hunger Movement

All people have the right to be free from hunger.

Yet one in ten households in Oregon face a challenge to put food on the table. Because of historical injustices like racism and misogyny, people of color and women are disproportionately denied that right. Renters in Oregon are more likely to experience hunger than homeowners, and are more hungry than renters in the rest of America.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We believe in overcoming social inequities with targeted resources and policies. We center our work around the lived experiences of people facing food insecurity. Together with many partners – and you – we win changes to bring us closer to the vision of a hunger-free Oregon.

Policy priorities

Learn more about our policy change agenda and how you can raise your voice effectively for change.

Learn More and Take Action

SNAP Client Advisory Board

The SNAP Client Advisory Board provides a brave space for past, present, and future SNAP participants to improve the program for SNAP recipients. The board exists to make changes, hold decision-makers accountable, and ensure there is equitable access to SNAP for all. We do this by working together with advocates, community organizations, and lawmakers.

Learn More

Food for All Oregonians

We envision an Oregon where all people have access to food no matter where they were born or their immigration status.

For too long, immigrants have been excluded from food assistance programs. Now is the time to prioritize access for our immigrant neighbors.

Learn More

Hunger-Free Schools

Every child deserves a healthy start in life. School meals help kids learn, grow, and thrive. The Hunger-Free Schools Campaign seeks to develop policy recommendations and win legislative change in 2019 to put Oregon on the path toward becoming the leader in ensuring every child is well nourished at school.

Learn more

Oregon Hunger Task Force

Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon convenes the Oregon Hunger Task Force. The Task Force was created by the State Legislature to act as a resource within government and as a statewide advocate for Oregonians who are hungry or at risk of hunger. It works collaboratively with stakeholders throughout Oregon to compile research, develop proposals for government action, and coordinate anti-hunger services at the state level. Explore the Task Force’s current Plan to End Hunger as well as the most current research on the status of food insecurity in Oregon at

Learn more

Join Us in Ending Hunger

Join Us in Ending Hunger

Together, we can end hunger in Oregon
Donate Today

Hunger-Free Leadership Institute

The Hunger-Free Leadership Institute works to end hunger in Oregon by building, strengthening, and supporting community leaders.

The Hunger Free Leadership Institute (H-FLI) is a leadership development opportunity for emerging community leaders with lived experience of hunger to gain access to skills and experiences to change anti-hunger policy.

With an emphasis on community organizing, equity, and racial and social justice, H-FLI’s purpose is to provide a dedicated space and resources that integrate the leadership, expertise, and insight of people who have experienced hunger or poverty into hunger-prevention programs and policy.

Participants in H-FLI sharpen their skills to lead grassroots efforts uncovering and addressing hunger in Oregon through:

  • Leading community organizing actions and events;
  • Personal reflection and group participation;
  • Networking with professionals in the anti-hunger and advocacy communities; and
  • Planning and completion of an applied team project.

A stipend of up to $1000 is provided for program participation, and participants are reimbursed for program-related costs such as hosting a house gathering. Meals and childcare are provided at trainings and meetings.

The Hunger-Free Leadership Institute is on hiatus until Fall 2019. Check back to learn about opportunities for community members with lived experience hunger to get involved in our work.

H-FLI Advisory Council

The Hunger-Free Leadership Institute is guided by an Advisory Council who evaluates, plans, and recruits for H-FLI.

Alison DeLancey

H-FLI Alumni

Beatriz Gutierrez

H-FLI Alumni

Brian Park

OHSU Richmond Clinic

Chloe Eberhardt

PHFO Staff

Chris Baker

PHFO Staff

Jackie Leung

H-FLI Alumni

Jen Carter

H-FLI Alumni

Jen Turner

Oregon Food Bank

Joshua Thomas

H-FLI Alumni

Kirstin Juul

H-FLI Alumni

Michelle Harreld

NorthStar Clubhouse

Peter Lawson

Oregon Food Bank - Southeast Oregon Services

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