Ed Cooney, CHC’s Executive Director, addressed a news conference held by the Delta Grassroots Caucus at the United States Capitol on Wednesday, September 19th. The panel included Senator Mark Pryor and Senator John Boozman, both of Arkansas, and provided support for the regional commissions, specifically the Delta Regional Authority, and discussed major issues involving the Farm Bill, rural housing, and federal nutrition programs.
The Delta Regional Authority works to improve life for the residents of 252 counties and parishes in parts of eight states (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee). Mr. Cooney discussed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and its beneficial impact on returning veterans, single-parent households, the elderly, disabled, and children. He also discussed the SNAP disaster benefits program. “SNAP is doing its job, particularly in Mississippi and Louisiana,” said Cooney, adding that USDA gave $56 million to 322,000 people in Louisiana and $11 million to 67,000 people in Mississippi as of September 2012.
“It’s just an unknown and underreported story that people get help [from SNAP] when there are disasters,” Cooney said. “People say Katrina was a national disaster, which it was, and the one thing that actually worked was the electronic benefit system in SNAP. It delivered those benefits to those with the greatest need.”