At the October 6th Western Massachusetts Food SNAP Coalition meeting, a number of community groups noted that SNAP/Food Stamp applicants are still being asked for proof of shelter expenses (rent or home ownership) even though the shelter cost information provided by the household is not questionable. A number of Coalition members also noted that the Virtual Gateway SNAP application has no question that allows a household to claim shelter costs, child care or other expenses and asked for a sample form clients could use.
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Dear Food SNAP Coalition members:
Below is an email from the FRAC with an update on the proposed cuts to SNAP to fund Child Nutrition reauthorization. Members of the Food SNAP Coalition discussed this issue in detail yesterday, agreeing we need to keep our delegation strong "against robbing Peter to pay Paul!" Over 106 members of Congress signed onto Congressman Jim McGovern's August 13th letter urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to find another way to fund the Child Nutrition reauthorization without cutting SNAP funding.
TO: Food SNAP Coalition Members
FR: Pat Baker
The September Coalition meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, September 28th, 10 AM to Noon at St Francis House, 39 Boylston Street, Boston (6th Floor).
The AGENDA will include the following (as well as issues and announcements from Coalition members present):
Below is an email communication from Commissioner Kehoe sent earlier today announcing the closing of two local DTA offices - North Adams and Milford. If your organization works with low income clients living in the Central and Western Mass communities served by these two DTA offices, it is important to discuss with DTA ways to ensure clients continue to have access to DTA staff and services. The Commissioner's email indicates that DTA is going to explore satellite offices in these two areas.
Here's some important events and resource materials for your anti-hunger work:
Upcoming FS/SNAP Training on 10/13: ABCD and MLRI are hosting a training October 13th on the nuts and bolts of the food stamp/SNAP program. Attached is a flier announcing the event and registration information (through ABCD).
I. MLRI's Annual "Basic Benefits Training" Series:
A big kudos to DTA Commissioner Julia Kehoe and her staff for pursuing and winning this huge federal grant for Western Mass! Thanks also to Coalition members who submitted letters of support.
Attached is a brief DTA description of the Healthy Initiatives Pilot proposal as submitted by DTA last April, which gives you a good description of the Massachusetts HIP proposal (elements of which may have changed in the final approval). And here's today's Boston Globe story announcing the grant award: Food Stamp Discount for Buying Produce (Boston Globe article no longer available)
1. Coalition TOMORROW: This is a REMINDER that the July Coalition meeting (and last one til September) is tomorrow, July 27th from 10 to Noon at St Francis House in Boston. Among other items, the agenda will include a presentation on the recent UI extension just passed in Congress, basic info on UI claims and extensions, and a discussion of the USDA-approved waiver for expedited FS/SNAP for UI terminated households not eligible for further extensions.