Increasing SNAP and WIC Enrollment Workgroup 4

Called out as a critical need and achievable goal -- Goal 4 in the Blueprint – is the effort to increase enrollment in SNAP and WIC for all Coloradans who are eligible but not currently enrolled. This workgroup is focused on enhancing and better coordinating current efforts, providing additional resources and filling gaps to help attain the goal.

June 24, 2019 Meeting Summary

Workgroup 4 began the meeting with a presentation of the current rule changes pending at The Colorado Department of Human Services that affect SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Aid Program).

The main portion of the meeting was a review of survey results. The survey was completed by Workgroup participants between the last meeting and this one, and resulted in ideas for almost 35 different projects. After review eight projects were highlighted for further consideration, these were:

  • Fund application assistance programs

  • Work to make PEAK more user friendly

  • Improve cross referral coordination

  • Fully voluntary employment first

  • Expanding telephonic signature program

  • Text message reminders & communications

  • Establish legislation to appropriate state funds for higher benefits

  • Household composition clarity

These projects will be further considered at the next meeting for feasibility and impact. The meeting concluded with updates from member organizations.

May 21, 2019 Meeting Summary

Workgroup 4 began with updates, of particular note was a move by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to reduce the inflation rate used to calculate the poverty line. By consensus this was forwarded to the Governing Council for the Blueprint to officially weigh in on and a comment letter is in the process of being drafted. Also of note was an update that the SNAP program is being reviewed and changes will be made in several phases over the next year. Workgroup Co-chairs Jack Regenbogen and Anya Rose agreed to reach out to Terri Chasten to work on getting ongoing updates on this process so that the workgroup may weigh in on each phase.

Workgroup discussion focused in on the relationship between enrollment and the client experience. A survey of workgroup members was fielded following the meeting focused on those topics, increasing enrollment and improving clients’ experiences with the programs looking at problems and barriers, possible improvements and solutions and potential metrics to measure impacts. Results of this survey will be the focus of the June meeting, and there was discussion that the July meeting may focus primarily on WIC.

April 22, 2019, Meeting Summary

Workgroup 2&3 got updates on workgroup partner activities and successes.

The workgroup focused on discussion around how the Blueprint can support the Child Nutrition Reauthorization as well as prioritizing efforts outline in the Blueprint to help increase SNAP and WIC enrollment efforts including Blueprint strategies #1, #3 and #5 within the Blueprint 4 goal.

A full list of work group meeting notes, as well as all documents shared in the meeting, are available below:

March 25, 2019, Meeting Summary

Workgroup 4 got updates on workgroup activity as well as Governing Council work. Additionally, the workgroup received presentations to help information their work and prioritization. Presentations included:

  • Hunger Free Colorado’s focus on connecting Coloradans to food resources.

  • Benefits Data Trust impact in Colorado.

  • Mesa County SNAP/WIC Outreach efforts.

A full list of work group meeting notes, as well as all documents shared in the meeting, are available below:

February 25, 2019 Meeting Summary

The Governing Council continued its organizational work including the following updates and decisions.

  • The Governing Council received an update on the work of each workgroup

  • A subcommittee of the Governing Council has begun reviewing applications for the Implementation Director position. The committee continues to be focused on hiring likely in April, but efforts to create a robust and fair process is a primary focus.

  • The Governing Council was updated on program office finances. Current support for a planning phase of the program office will extend through June 2019. On July 1, program office finances will be directed by the Governing Council with input from the workgroup priorities. The five-year timeframe for the effort begins on July 1, 2019.

  • The Governing Council elected leadership. The governance consensus was that Mark Kling from the Family Resource Association and Teva Seinicki from Metro Caring will serve as Governing Council co-chairs through December 2019.

  • The Governing Council is currently considering structure for ongoing council operations including how staggered terms will work and how board recruitment toward greater inclusivity should be accomplished. There is currently one vacancy on the Governing Council for an individual from the community with lived experience.

In their March meeting, the Governing Council will consider structure questions as well as continue work on the Implementation Director hiring process.  

January 28, 2019 Meeting Summary

Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger Work Group 4 used the majority of its time to consider needs for federal government shutdown planning, including updates from agencies and organizations directly implicated by the shut-down as well as those organizations providing direct support to individuals weathering the shutdown.

November 30, 2018 Kickoff Meeting Summary

Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger Work Group 4 launched its work in support of Blueprint goal “maximizing SNAP and WIC enrollment to become a leading state for enrollment” in the programs. Initial work group efforts centered around establishing meeting and group norms, expanding group understanding of new and ongoing programs in the space and determining any initial areas of alignment for next steps. At the work group’s direction, staff will provide the group with a framework for group governance that utilizes a co-chair model.

During the meeting, work group members were updated on early Blueprint successes including the increase of the SNAP enrollment threshold from 130 percent of FPL to 200 percent of FPL. Group members also provide updates on new projects and programs their organizations are working on in the space. The work group also identified potential areas of alignment and additional needs including:

  • Creating a more formal and accessible accounting of all work already going on for SNAP and WIC outreach and enrollment across all organizations at the state, county and local level

  • Identifying better metrics to identify what is working

  • Acknowledging a need to have end user feedback on proposed goals and strategies either through work group participation or other mechanisms

  • Creating a clear focus on improving user experience including making sure that policies are implemented on the ground in a way that works for people.

  • Using the work group network to ensure that people and organizations are aware of the initiatives and supports already existing and those coming online in the near term

Next steps will include work group members establishing a dedicated time and date for group meetings in 2019. Members were interested in potentially using various locations for their meetings, assuming those spaces allow for remote meeting access.