CHN’s Human Needs Watch: Tracking Hardship, July 21, 2023


July 21, 2023

July 21, 2023  

The harsh fall edition. In September and October, millions of Americans with low incomes will face additional hardship because of the expiration of a wide array of pandemic-era programs that were passed or expanded over the past three years. “Several pandemic-era safety net programs will come to an end at roughly the same time this fall, creating a major economic squeeze for millions of families,” Axios notes. “Scores of Americans will soon start facing bigger bills for student loan payments, child care, health care and food, deepening the impact of years of inflation.” 

Scroll down and you’ll see the impact of these losses – the numbers are staggering. But the carnage doesn’t end there. House Republicans are pushing forward several spending bills that would do incalculable damage. They would take food, housing, and other key investments away from people with low incomes – while considering more tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations. In particular, Congress is considering cuts to WIC’s nutrition assistance for families with young children along with resources for schools, early childhood programs, affordable housing, and more. 

Of particular concern is the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill. Among other things, it eliminates job training for 178,000 young adults, slashes maternal and child health funding by $35 million, cuts funds that would pay 220,000 teachers, and wipes out 660,000 Work Study slots, and 50,000 Head Start slots.  

All of these programs need more funding, not less – especially at a time when food assistance, health care, and child care are all being significantly scaled back to pre-pandemic levels. One thing you can do right now – tell Congress not to take away healthy fruits and vegetables from mothers and their young children. Click here. 


More than four in ten child care directors surveyed said they will have to raise tuition once pandemic-era stabilization funds end in September. Tweet this.



The number of child care providers across the U.S. who received stabilization funds provided by Congress as part of COVID-19 relief. Three-fourths of all child care directors surveyed said they had received relief. Tweet this.


$16 billion 

A coalition of groups, including the National Women’s Law Center, the Center for Law and Social Policy, Community Change, First Focus, the Women’s Economic Justice Program at The Century Foundation, and ZERO TO THREE this week called on Congress to provide an investment of about $16 billion a year, the amount they said is needed to stave off shrinking child care slots, staffing shortages, and rising prices that will disrupt both families and the economy. Tweet this.



Between 2019 and 2022, median hourly wages for child care workers grew by only 3.1 percent – lower than the wage growth for food and beverage workers (8.7 percent), retail sales workers (5.7 percent), recreation workers (5.3 percent), and many other low-wage occupations.  Child care workers’ median wages were only $13.71/hour in May, 2022. Tweet this.


3 million+ 


At least 3,092,000 Medicaid enrollees have lost their coverage as of Thursday, July 20, according to tracking by Kaiser Family Foundation. Overall, 40 percent of enrollees whose cases were processed lost their coverage, while 60 percent had their coverage renewed. Tweet this.



But in Texas, which appears to be doing a reckless job in determining Medicaid eligibility, 82 percent of enrollees processed thus far have lost their coverage, a shocking percentage that is the highest in the nation. Advocates have called on state officials to halt the Medicaid unwinding process; so far, more than 500,000 Texans have lost coverage. 



About 500,000 – and possibly close to 1 million – Americans will lose SNAP benefits beginning in October, as the program’s time limits for adults required to report work hours return after being temporarily suspended during the pandemic.



In addition to the 500,000-plus who will lose benefits under the older SNAP law, an estimated 750,000 adults aged 50-54 will be at risk of losing SNAP because of a provision included in the debt ceiling agreement subjecting them, for the first time, to the time limits and work-reporting requirements. The provision goes into effect September 1 for 50-year-olds, October 1 for 51- and 52-year-olds, and October 2024 for 53- and 54-year-olds.



SNAP’s original work-reporting requirements (even before the new debt ceiling provision) have proven to be racially discriminatory. More than 25 percent of adults who were potentially subject to the requirement were Black; just under 25 percent were Hispanic. But Blacks make up just 12 percent of the U.S. population, and Hispanics make up 19 percent.


27 million 

According to the latest Census Bureau Household Pulse data, 27 million people (12.1%) said their households sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in the previous week – up from 17.6 million (8.2%) in August, 2021.. The rate was 17.1 percent for Hispanics, 20.7 percent for Blacks, and 15.3 percent for households with children.