Archived Story

Food Assistance cuts would hurt many in county

Published 12:35pm Monday, September 30, 2013

More than 4,000 receiving benefits from the Food Assistance program would get less if a federal bill is passed, according to the Otter Tail County Human Services director.
According to data collected by Human Services, there were 4,311 receiving food support as of August 2013, including 1,685 children. The county distributed more than $426,000 in food assistance.
The House bill mostly targets adults without children, but would impact families as well. The estimated impact, if the House bill were to become law, would be about $12 per person and $36 per household, according to Dinsmore. There would also be many who would lose their benefits completely.
“There are going to be people in all walks of life that try and take advantage of rules and regulations, but frankly we don’t see that here,” Dinsmore said of the national concern of people trying to “cheat” the assistance programs. “We see people who are in desperate need because they are at or below the poverty line.”
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill earlier this month that would cut $40 billion from the food stamp program over the next 10 years. The bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, but its passage through the House does seem to indicate some cuts are forthcoming.
Dinsmore said his office has yet to receive calls related to the potential cuts. As the program is set up now, the average person gets $98.89 per month and the average household receives $207.25 per month.
Because of the uncertainty, Dinsmore’s office is proceeding carefully. They are following the issue closely, but do not want to go too far with making new plans and suddenly have the national discussion shift.
“For those of us at this local level, we’re just always kind of cautious as to what the political messages are and to what the realities are going to be,” Dinsmore said.
Cuts to food assistance would likely mean more increased business at the community food shelf, according to retired board member Jan Nelson. Nelson and her husband Gary are very involved with the food shelf.
“We are seeing new families every time we are open,” Nelson said. “I definitely think cuts would hurt.”
The House bill comes only a few years after a Minnesota state plan to make people more aware of food assistance programs and how to apply, according to Dinsmore. Because of the increased awareness, the number of people receiving benefits went up from 2,413 people in 2009 to 4,311 people in 2013.

 

More than 4,000 receiving benefits from the Food Assistance program would get less if a federal bill is passed, according to the Otter Tail County Human Services director.

According to data collected by Human Services, there were 4,311 receiving food support as of August 2013, including 1,685 children. The county distributed more than $426,000 in food assistance.

The House bill mostly targets adults without children, but would impact families as well. The estimated impact, if the House bill were to become law, would be about $12 per person and $36 per household, according to Dinsmore. There would also be many who would lose their benefits completely.

“There are going to be people in all walks of life that try and take advantage of rules and regulations, but frankly we don’t see that here,” Dinsmore said of the national concern of people trying to “cheat” the assistance programs. “We see people who are in desperate need because they are at or below the poverty line.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill earlier this month that would cut $40 billion from the food stamp program over the next 10 years. The bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, but its passage through the House does seem to indicate some cuts are forthcoming.

Dinsmore said his office has yet to receive calls related to the potential cuts. As the program is set up now, the average person gets $98.89 per month and the average household receives $207.25 per month.

Because of the uncertainty, Dinsmore’s office is proceeding carefully. They are following the issue closely, but do not want to go too far with making new plans and suddenly have the national discussion shift.

“For those of us at this local level, we’re just always kind of cautious as to what the political messages are and to what the realities are going to be,” Dinsmore said.

Cuts to food assistance would likely mean more increased business at the community food shelf, according to retired board member Jan Nelson. Nelson and her husband Gary are very involved with the food shelf.

“We are seeing new families every time we are open,” Nelson said. “I definitely think cuts would hurt.”

The House bill comes only a few years after a Minnesota state plan to make people more aware of food assistance programs and how to apply, according to Dinsmore. Because of the increased awareness, the number of people receiving benefits went up from 2,413 people in 2009 to 4,311 people in 2013.

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