The Brookings Institution has a broad range of research interests, ranging from informed commentary on the Middle East to energy policy here in the United States. One of the organization's more recent pieces analyzed participation in the USDA's food stamp program, in conjunction with Census 2000 data. Their report revealed a few troubling situations, including the fact that only about one-half of all individuals in major metropolitan areas who were eligible for food stamps received benefits in 1999. Perhaps even more astonishing was the revelation that approximately $4.9 billion in food stamps went unclaimed during that same year. This important 24-page report, authored by Matthew Fellowes and Alan Berube, concludes with a number of helpful policy suggestions, noting that federal officials should attempt to emphasize the local importance of food stamps and support state policies that streamline access to these benefits.
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