SEC. 2. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) One in five Californians suffers from food insecurity.
(b) The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as CalFresh in California, is the most important defense against hunger, helping millions of Californians prevent hunger and its long-term consequences.
(c) CalFresh not only helps prevent hunger among low-income households, it also creates jobs and supports our food economy across the state. Each $1 in CalFresh benefits spent generates between $1.50 and $1.80 in economic activity.
(d) During the COVID-19 pandemic, most CalFresh households received a temporary boost in CalFresh benefits through federally authorized emergency allotments. When those benefits expire in February 2023, households will face drastic reductions in their monthly benefits. The state should act to mitigate further spikes in hunger and hardship.
(e) Four in five CalFresh households include either a child, an older adult, or an individual with a disability, and 81 percent of CalFresh households have a gross monthly income less than or equal to the federal poverty level.
(f) The CalFresh minimum allotment for one- and two-person households is $23 per month in the 2022–23 federal fiscal year, while the United States Department of Agriculture estimates, through their Thrifty Food Plan, that the cost of food for a family of two is
over $480 per month.
(g) Nationally, one in five SNAP households receive between the minimum allotment and $50 per month, while over one in three households with an older adult are in this benefits range.
(h) The cost of living in California is the third highest of any state in the country, after Hawaii and Washington, DC.
(i) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature that, to prevent hunger and provide a more dignified safety net, no California household should receive less than $50 per month in benefits, adjusted for inflation.