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SNAP Coalition Meeting on 6/23, Language Access Conference on 6/28; Resource Guide for DV Survivors in Western Mass; SNAP Crisis news in Central MA

<h3>Next SNAP Coalition Boston meeting, Tuesday, June 23 from 10 to Noon:&nbsp;</h3>

<p>The June meeting is at St Francis House in Boston, 39 Boylston Street, 6th floor.&nbsp;The tentative AGENDA will include:</p>

<ul>
<li>update on federal SNAP issues including the recent<a href="http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/" target="_blank"> House Agriculture Committee</a> hearings on SNAP program and the <a href="https://hungercommission.rti.org/" target="_blank">National Hunger Commission hearings</a> (the NE region hearing is now scheduled for July 30th, in Portland ME).</li>
<li>update on DTA&#39;s ongoing SNAP modernization challenges including status of upgrades/improvements to the DTA Assistance Call Line, DTA&#39;s backlog of document processing, changes in local office protocol, accessing DV specialists, special issues affecting seniors and persons with disabilities. Again, please bring to the meeting what you are seeing, including delayed processing and excess verification issues!&nbsp;</li>
<li>update on H-EAT and Bay State CAP cases (we continue to hear of SSI and RSDI recipients getting very low SNAP benefits who should either stay on Bay State CAP and/or qualify for H-EAT)</li>
<li>discussion on the <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/research/food-assistance/approximately-1-million-une... target="_blank">impending ABAWD 3 month time limit SNAP crisis</a> (able-bodied without dependents) and how community groups can screen for exemption and identifying SNAP ET and community service options, engaging community partners in this next fiasco. Up to 46K MA individuals could lose their SNAP in 2016.</li>
<li>discussion of the new DESE policy on community eligibility provision (CEP) and determination of &quot;economically disadvantaged&quot; , which metric is now based on number of SNAP, cash and Medicaid children. More school districts should be encouraged to seek the CEP option and provide free meals to all children in their schools!</li>
</ul>

<p>We are sad to report that <strong>DTA SNAP Director Phuoc Cao</strong> is taking early retirement effective July 1st, along with quite a few Central and Local Office DTA staff. Phuoc has been instrumental in helping the state implement many important SNAP policy changes including Bay State CAP (special SNAP for SSI recipients), the H-EAT option, broad-based categorical eligibility, simplified reporting and more. We plan to also honor him at the upcoming Coalition meeting. DTA Commissioner McCue hopes to attend as well if his schedule permits. FNS NERO and other DTA staff will also likely attend.&nbsp;</p>

<h3>2015 Language Access Conference on Friday, June 26 in Worcester - &quot;Beyond Service, Toward Empowerment&quot;:</h3>

<p>SNAP Coalition members are invited!&Acirc;&nbsp; Every day in Massachusetts limited English proficient (LEP) individuals face countless barriers when navigating the legal system and accessing needed public services. This conference seeks to raise awareness about the need for language access in our communities, provide tools and resources to meet the needs of these communities and build collaboration to eliminate barriers and promote change. This conference is a call to action to go beyond service and toward empowerment of LEP people and communities.</p>

<p>The conference features some outstanding speakers and panelists, from Massachusetts legal services programs, community partners and national experts.&nbsp;

<h3>Guides to Economic Rights and Resources For Domestic Violence Survivors in Western Massachusetts</h3>

<p>This series of guides were designed to be used by advocates for survivors of domestic and sexual violence when working directly with survivors. There are guides were developed for DV survivors in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties, as well as guides for those working with immigrant survivors of domestic and sexual violence in each of those counties. However, the guides also contain statewide information about public benefits, housing assistance, support services, employment, CORI and much, much more. So, take a look even if your clients do not live in WMass!</p>

<p>Authored by the Massachusetts Rural Domestic and Sexual Violence Project, they can be downloaded from the Family Law library section,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.masslegalservices.org/content/guides-economic-rights-and-reso... target="_blank">www.masslegalservices.org/content/guides-economic-rights-and-resources-d...

<p>Note also, in response to advocacy by Jewish Family and Children Services, Bet Tzedek, DTA has made some important changes to the DTA Assistance Line to ensure that victims of domestic violence reach a DV specialist immediately. More details at the 6/23 SNAP Coalition meeting.</p>

<h3>SNAP in the News in Central&nbsp;Massachusetts</h3>

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<p>Below are two detailed stories followed by an editorial opinion piece from the Worcester Telegraph and Gazette on the SNAP crisis in Massachusetts and impact on seniors.</p>

<ul>
<li>6/7 Telegram and Gazette: &quot;Red tape glitches cut food stamp recipients&quot;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.telegram.com/article/20150607/NEWS/150609329" target="_blank">http://www.telegram.com/article/20150607/NEWS/150609329</a></li>
<li>6/8 Telegram &amp; Gazette: &quot;State officials tackling SNAP mess with a 10-point plan&quot;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.telegram.com/article/20150608/NEWS/150609299" target="_blank">http://www.telegram.com/article/20150608/NEWS/150609299</a></li>
<li>6/9 Editorial: &quot;No Room at the Table&quot; &nbsp;<a href="http://www.telegram.com/article/20150609/OPINION/150609202/101411" target="_blank">http://www.telegram.com/article/20150609/OPINION/150609202/101411</a></li>
</ul>

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