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EBT card access concerns, public charge sign on by Wed!, child care + EBT card to culture info

Good morning - Important updates below. In general, please let us know what the households you work with are experiencing when applying for SNAP or interacting with DTA! Our next Coalition meeting is next Tuesday, 10/26 from 10-11:30. Agenda to come!
 
DTA updates guidance on getting an EBT card at a local office - concerns & flag cases
 
As Coalition members know, since local DTA offices reopened in late June, lack of access to in person EBT cards has been a major concern. Recent DTA data requested by the Boston DTA Advisory Board shows that, between June 28 and Oct. 6, only 1.3% of all visitors coming in for a card walked out with one (93 of 7,060 visitors). 
 
DTA updated guidance last week to more clearly direct local offices to issue emergency in person EBT cards to those who the local office determines meets a "critical" or "emergency" need. 
 
We are very appreciative of organizations who reached out directly to DTA to share concerns and stories of people impacted by DTA's in person EBT card policy. In particular, a shout out to The Open Door in Gloucester- their story sharing on this issue was instrumental in DTA putting out this clarified guidance. Thank you, The Open Door! 
 
However, we are still extremely concerned, despite this clarified guidance. We have 3 core concerns:
  1. The data requested by the Boston DTA Advisory Board shows that about 3,500 SNAP households have not used any SNAP since their SNAP was approved (more than 30 days earlier). We do not know yet if or when DTA is doing direct outreach to these families.
  2. The revised guidance still leaves in-person EBT card issuance up to the discretion of workers. This is subjective and not equitable. We are deeply concerned that this is likely to have a disparate impact on access for households of color. We are also concerned that this will cause low income households to feel they need to divulge personal details in TAO lobbies.  
  3. DTA public facing information does not tell anyone about the option to get an in person card (for example, the Mass.gov/DTA website). 
Please let Vicky or Pat know about cases where folks go in person to a DTA office to get a card, but are not issued one in person that same day (even if they have since gotten a card)! 
 
Deadline this Wed, Oct 20 to sign onto public charge comments!
 
The Biden Administration published an "Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" (ANPRM) asking for feedback to help guide the development of a new regulation on public charge. The National Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) is encouraging organizations to sign on to a national comment letter by October 20, 2021. We encourage you to sign on! Here is the link to the PIF comment and to the form to sign on as an organization.
 
Organizational sign-ons are due THIS WEDNESDAY - October 20, 2021. For more information, see this overview from MA PIF.
 
Resources and recording of last Tuesday's Coalition child care training with GBLS 
 
Attached please find the slide deck Sarah Levy / GBLS used to share information about child care resources for low income families at the last Coalition meeting. To view a recording of the training, click here.  Please contact Sarah -slevy@gbls.org - or Dinah - DJeanPhilippe@gbls.org - if you work with a family who can't get child care because of owing fees (even if you don't have all the details, that is okay!). 
 
EBT Card to Culture fliers
 
Here is a google drive with fliers in English and Spanish, broken out by region of the state. Note that P-EBT cards can be used the same way EBT cards can for these cultural institutions and discounts! Thanks to Charles at the Mass Cultural Council for sharing these with the Coalition. 

 
File Attachment: