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  • By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

Number of SNAP recipients dips but food welfare tops list of Guam’s federal expenditures

Fewer individuals and households on Guam are participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program this year, yet food subsidies remain on top of the list of federal funding grants expended by the government of Guam.

According to the US Department of Agriculture’s most recent data, 44,841 individuals are participating in the food stamps program as of March, indicating a 4.7 decrease from 47,044 recorded in March 2016.

The number of recipient households went down from 15,651 in March 2016 to 15,038 during the same period this year. The number showed a 3.9 percent decrease.

GovGuam and its line agencies expended a total of $298.8 million in federal awards from 15 grantor agencies in 2016, according to the Office of Public Accountability’s report released Wednesday.

The largest grant came from the USDA at $118.8 million, of which $108.7 million went to food stamps.

This annual figure is likely to decrease as President Trump’s budget would cut about 25 percent from SNAP over the next 10 years, largely by shrinking eligibility for the program. Food stamp benefits are now paid entirely by the federal government, but the president’s budget would gradually shift up to 25 percent of that cost to the states.

The second largest grantor was the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at $105.4 million for the various welfare programs, such as Medicaid at $44.6 million and Child Health Insurance Program at $25.8 million.

The U.S. Department of the Interior came third at $28.5 million, of which $25.8 million is for Compact Impact funding.

Other federal grants come from the U.S. Department of Transportation at $19.8 million.

In addition, GovGuam component units expended over $195.9 million in federal awards. The top three agencies were Guam Department of Education at $64.3 million, Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority at $45.1 million, and University of Guam at $28.8 million.

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