People wait for hours for Harvey disaster food benefits

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says he's cutting his proposed 8.9 percent tax hike to pay for Harvey cleanup by more than half. Under the revised plan, a Houston homeowner with a $225,000 home would pay around an extra four dollars per month compared to j

HOUSTON - Thousands flocked to Greenspoint Mall on Friday. It wasn’t for a mega sale, but for a food stamp giveaway.

It’s part of the state’s effort to make sure those impacted by Harvey are able to eat.

“We lost clothes, food, everything,” said Chrystal Johnson.

Johnson has two kids and one on the way.

She joined thousands of others at the mall to apply for disaster food stamps, called D-SNAP.

It’s one of three locations in Harris County set up by Texas Health & Human Services.

“It’ll go a long ways,” said Johnson.

Only those who lived in Harris County when Harvey hit qualify for these benefits. And, like regular food stamps, there is an income component.

Another important caveat is that you cannot have received regular SNAP benefits within the last two months.

Days of distribution are based on the first letter of an applicant’s last name.

“We are hearing a lot of stories and it’s really tragic that it happened to these families and individuals in Harris County and that’s what we’re here for,” said HHS director Gracie Perez.  “And it boils down to, you know, providing food assistance.”

Once approved, benefits are loaded onto cards within about three days.

Ashley McLaurin waited in line for more than three hours.

“Some people just need the extra help right now,” said McLaurin.  “I’m struggling financially, so I need that extra help to be able to pay my bills and get food on the table at the same time.”

Johnson said waiting in line isn’t a chore when it’s among your only options.

“I’m pretty sure they’re doing the best they can,” said Johnson.

Here’s information on the D-SNAP distribution, which runs through Oct. 5:

Who is eligible? 

"D-SNAP is available to eligible people who are residents of one of the counties with a federal disaster declaration and weren’t receiving benefits through regular SNAP at the time of the disaster. This is for people who suffered damage or loss due to Hurricane Harvey. Residents of the affected counties may be eligible if they suffered damage to their home or business, loss of income or disaster-related expenses. Disaster-related expenses can include home repairs, temporary shelter or evacuation expenses. Recipients also have to meet certain income limits." -Carrie Williams, Texas Health and Human Services Commission

For more details, click here.

Application sites:

Harris County - Houston

Greenspoint Mall
12300 North Fwy
Houston, TX 77060

Harris County - Houston
Southwest Multi-Service Center
6400 High Star
Houston, TX 77074

Harris County - Pasadena
Pasadena Convention Center
7902 Fairmont
Pasadena, TX 77505

When can you apply?

Residents in Harris County may only apply between Sept. 22 and Oct. 5. Locations will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Application dates are based on last name

Date

First letter of last name

Sept. 22, 27

A – C

Sept. 23, 28

D – H

Sept. 24, 29

I – M

Sept. 25, 30

N - R

Sept. 26, Oct. 1

S - Z

Oct. 2-5

Anyone

Additional Information:

For more information about D-SNAP, individuals can call 2-1-1 and select option 6. For information in Spanish, call 2-1-1 and select option 2. Information is also available in other languages by calling 2-1-1 and selecting option 0.

 

 

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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