DTA Interim Commissioner Stacey Monahan is continuing to tour the state and host "Listening Sessions" in local communities. According to Peter Sasso who attended the SNAP Coalition on Tuesday, the following are the next five Listening Sessions on DTA's Schedule:
Salem: April 29th 7 PM, Police Auditorium, 95 Margin Street
Fitchburg: May 2nd, 6 PM Public Library, 610 Main Street
Hyannis: May 6th, 7 PM, Youth and Community Center, 141 Bassett Lane
Attleboro: May 9th, 7 PM, United Way of Greater Atttleboro/Taunton
Greenfield: May 10th, 1 PM, 270 Main Street
Boston: May 13th, 2 PM, Carter Auditorium, 35 Northampton Street
Below is DTA's press release for the Salem Listening Session scheduled for this Monday. Coalition members and recipients are encouraged to attend these sessions and give information on how important the SNAP and cash assistance programs are for your communities; as well as an opportunity to share concerns about some of the proposed policies (like photo ID) before the Legislature (which concerns she can bring to the attention of the Governor, as he signs the final budget).
A number of folks have asked us if it's appropriate to speak about some of the frustrations you have with local DTA offices not returning phone calls, not calling clients for scheduled interviews, losing verifications send in with applications - stuff often tied to lack of staffing, outdated fax machines or phone systems. Some advocates have shared this information publically in the sessions and others have spoken with the Commissioner before or after the Listening Session about their experiences with local offices. From our experience, Commissioner Monahan is very open to hearing both the good and frustrating experiences with DTA. Coalition members should feel comfortable raising these in whatever way you find most comfortable.
DTA press release:
BOSTON – Thursday, April 25, 2013 – Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) Interim Commissioner Stacey Monahan will hold a listening session in Salem on Monday, April 29 at 7 p.m. The listening session will allow residents from the region to share ideas, provide feedback and tell stories about transitional assistance programs that provide an important bridge to stability during difficult times.
The tour began with events in Framingham on March 11, Holyoke on March 13, Lowell on March 18, Taunton on March 25, Pittsfield on March 27, Worcester on March 29, Springfield on April 8, Brockton on April 11, and Methuen on April 22. Additional events will be held across the state throughout April and May.
“The listening tour will help the Department improve our policies, procedures and processes to ensure that taxpayer resources are used appropriately and as intended,” said Interim Commissioner Monahan. “The feedback we have received during our listening sessions has been very informative and I am grateful for all who participated.”