The Oregon Capitol building in salem, on a sunny day

2024 Policy Priorities

2024 Legislation Session Policy Priorities

This session provides Oregon legislators with impactful opportunities to address Oregon’s ongoing hunger crisis. Currently, around 1 in 10 Oregonians are food insecure, and certain communities are consistently drastically more impacted, such as single mothers, renters, and the indigenous population. Oregon legislators must act now to address hunger on a systemic level. Below you’ll see recommendations for three policies that will support Oregonians directly accessing food, as well as a six additional policies addressing the intersection issues that drive hunger in our communities.

Our Policy Priorities

Fund Summer EBT administration to end summer hunger for Oregon’s kids

Consistent access to food is central to children’s ability to learn and grow, yet child hunger consistently spikes during summer months. Summer EBT is a new, federally-funded program that will provide $40/month per summer month to school-age children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals at school.

This program will bring $35 million in food assistance a year to Oregon’s kids, but state legislators need to act quickly to approve funding to cover just half of the annual administrative costs. With a modest initial investment, Oregon legislators have the opportunity to unlock federal funding and alleviate the summer hunger gap for Oregon’s kids.

Tell your legislators to prioritize Summer EBT funding in the ODHS budget request

Ensure Access to School Meals

Students can’t learn when they’re hungry, or when they’re worried about where their next meal will come from. Urgent action is required to make sure that schools have access to funds that are already set aside to provide school meals for Oregon’s kids.

The state has enough funding to allow hundreds of more schools to provide school meals for all students. To release this money, and allow schools to provide universal meals, state rules must align with federal rules. This needs to be accomplished quickly, either through the ODE agency rule change, or legislative action.

Pledge to support our School Meals for All coalition!

Student Emergency Needs Package – HB 4162

College and university students in Oregon are reporting increasing rates of food insecurity, housing instability and challenges affording and accessing textbooks, transportation, childcare, and other basic needs. The 2024 Student Emergency Needs Package is a bipartisan, student-centered effort to support Oregon’s Basic Needs Navigators and Textbook Affordability Program with $6 million dollars in one-time, emergency funding.

HB 4162 will ensure that the Benefits Navigators on college campuses will have resources to support the students that walk through the doors and prevent textbook affordability from becoming a financial crisis for students.

Learn more about the Student Emergency Needs Package

Smiling man in sunglasses hold a sign that says

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

Learn more

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


Angela


Celia


Alley



Sandi


LaTonya




Hunger-Free Schools

Every Child Deserves a Healthy Start to the School Day

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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. Because every child deserves an equal opportunity to succeed in school — no matter where they’re from or how much money their families make.

Access to 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 six children in the state of Oregon currently food insecure, many families rely on school meals for their nutritional needs. 

Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon works to expand access to school meals through state and federal policy advocacy.

Through our combined advocacy, Oregon has made some incredible strides in improving access to school meals, and now is the time to cross the finish line.

We are convening a powerful coalition of students, school employees, and advocates to bring School Meals for All to Oregon’s legislators. Because no child should go hungry at school.

Take action for School Meals

Powerful Victories for Oregon Families

In 2019, we led the coalition expanding access to free school meals in the state through the Student Success Act, making Oregon the national leader in school meal access. In 2022, we won expanded supports in Oregon legislation that allow 3 of 4 Oregon schools to provide universal school meals to all students. Today, we continue this work with state and federal advocacy to fight for true access to school meals for ALL students. 

The 2019 Student Success Act, significantly improved 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 Student Success Act includes:

  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 passed a historic investment in Oregon schools in House Bill 5014. HB 5014 included funding to support up to 3 out of 4 schools to qualify for the Community Eligibility Provision, and support 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 ’24-’25, and continuing to push for universal school meals for all Oregon students.

Learn more about the School Meals for All campaign here.

Learn More about Free School Meals

“There are so many ways a student can fall through the cracks and go hungry at school – paperwork issues, employment changes, meal debt, even stigma. Fortunately, the changes governments made during the pandemic proved there’s a better way. Universal access to meals is good for our schools, good for parents and good for kids — and we have a real chance to make sure everyone has the resources we need to succeed.”

– David Wieland, Policy Advocate

Take action to end hunger

Speak Up

Join Us as a Partner

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 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 oregonhungertaskforce.org

Learn more

Join Us as a Partner

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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