State Agency and NGO Impacts on Well Being of Vulnerable Populations in West Coast States: The Case of Food Insecurity and Hunger
Focusing on hunger and food insecurity in Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, and Alaska in the early 2000s, this study explored how coordinated efforts by agencies and NGOs, differing economic conditions, and state population and geographic characteristics, influenced measured rates of hunger and food insecurity. Welfare reform promised to give states greater flexibility in addressing the needs of low income families. State agencies and nonprofit groups grappled with the dramatic changes in federal rules for implementing welfare policy. This analysis highlights how that changing policy environment created new forms of collaboration between nonprofits and state agencies addressing food insecurity. Data came from in-depth interviews with hunger advocates and state agency leaders in four western states. The findings suggest an unintended consequence of welfare reform, making it possible in some circumstances for nonprofit leaders to play unique roles for state agencies as experts, consultants and co-workers rather than primarily lobbying or contracting with agencies to deliver services.