BROOKLYN - With the cost of food, energy and health care on the rise, a new law was proposed to help New York residents make ends meet.

The bill, co-sponsored by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-12th District), is designed to extend food stamp benefits for an extra nine months every three years.

?The number of New Yorkers struggling to eat has increased 55 percent over the last four years at the same time that food prices are increasing,? Velazquez says.

The spike in the number of people struggling to feed themselves and their families also puts a strain on the limited supplies of local food banks, which often become the last resort.

?We can't just provide food,? says Carlos Rodriguez, of the New York Food Bank. ?We need to look for other's an issue of accessibility - people don't have the money.?

Supporters of the new legislature say that with the unemployment rate at its highest in 20 years, now is the best time for the food stamp initiative.

If the law passes, it will take approximately 60 days for the food stamp benefits to go into effect.