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Legal Clinic for the Homeless

Observations & Issues

New York City is one of the most expensive urban areas for food in the United States. The New York Times reported on June 22, 2008, that more than one-third of city residents have trouble affording food; further, the cost of food in the New York region increased by 15% from 2003-2007. At the same time, food pantry visits have spiked by more than a quarter of a million visits since 2004, placing increasing pressure on a system with limited resources. Nationally, the food stamp rolls have risen to the highest level since the program began in 1960. In New York City, approximately one in ten people are food stamp recipients.

Among the hardest hit in the food crisis are the poor. Rising food prices force families to make difficult choices between food and other necessities, and contribute to malnutrition and poor health. Because of the skyrocketing cost of transportation, the prices of fresh foods, including fruits, vegetables, and dairy have risen dramatically, curbing consumption of healthful and nutritious diets. In the shelter system, where half of all residents are children, the lack of an essential diet has a critically detrimental impact on growth, development and learning.

The Legal Clinic for the Homeless at the City Bar Justice Center works with highly skilled attorneys to ensure that homeless New Yorkers are receiving the public benefits they so desperately need to withstand the rising prices of daily necessities.