University of Wisconsin–Madison

Helping Make Ends Meet: Increasing SNAP and EITC Participation Among Eligible Households in Hawai'i

Type Policy Brief or Report
Year 2014
Level State
State(s) Hawaii
Policy Areas Democracy & Governance, Economic Justice
Hawaii has not only the highest cost of living in the country, but also the ninth highest rate of poverty, the second highest rate of homelessness, and the fourth heaviest tax burden on the poor. However, two major federal antipoverty programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), can help mitigate the financial struggles of these families. This report examines the severe underutilization of these two federally-funded programs in Hawaii and recommends new opportunities to build upon current outreach efforts and significantly increase participation in Hawaii. Key recommendations in this report include a more thorough assessment of community-level participation rates and service needs; expanding, refining, and developing outreach campaigns using targeted approaches to reach underserved groups; expanding coalitions and partnerships to reach those outside of formal social services systems and ensure that SNAP and EITC are made a standard part of client services; and expanding systemic access by easing the SNAP application process and recruiting additional Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites.

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