According to the Weld County Department of Social Services, staff are working overtime, overtime and on weekends to meet the recent unprecedented demand for food aid.
Weld County leads the state in SNAP (also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and formerly known as Food Stamps), the highest increase (a 48% jump) in filings for SNAP, the federal food assistance program. increase.
Weld County currently has 14,436 SNAP cases, but managed 9,763 cases in 2019. Pre-pandemic average SNAP benefits were $290 per month, now $490.
“Weld County, we approve and add about 200 SNAP cases a month, not counting the cases we don’t approve,” said Andy Garnand, Weld County’s Director of Assistance Payments. So there is a lot of demand and there are a lot of people who are struggling and need help.”
Increased funding during the pandemic may explain some of the increase, as people are looking at additional emergency allocations worth the effort to file an application, Garnand said. Demand for SNAP benefits has skyrocketed in recent months due to rising food prices.
“We’ve seen a surge throughout the pandemic, but I think this is probably the highest ever and the state of the economy. Grocery. Come on, you spent $200.
Weld County is preparing to reduce monthly SNAP benefits starting in March, Garnand said.of Comprehensive Appropriations Bill Just Passed by Congress Includes end of Pandemic Emergency Quota after February 2023.
In March, Guernand expects the changes to put pressure on customers and create new demand for local food banks.
“While this may result in a reduction in some of our applications, we are prepared to increase customer contact as it will impact families who have relied on additional benefit amounts to support their families.
Weld County is also experiencing a population boom. Housing costs in other parts of the state may also contribute in part to the demand for SNAP benefits seen in Weld County. “I think some families are looking for more affordable housing outside of metropolitan areas,” Garnand said.
To learn more and find out if you are eligible for SNAP, please visit https://cdhs.colorado.gov/snap.
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