U.S. Representatives Demanded City Improve Access to Disaster Food Stamp Program after Sandy

Today, U.S. Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Nydia Velazquez, Carolyn Maloney, Gregory Meeks, Joseph Crowley, Eliot Engel, Edolphus Towns, and José E. Serrano called on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to immediately improve access to the federal Disaster Supplemental Food Stamp (D-SNAP) program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. As structured by the City, the program denies access and eligibility to many thousands of New Yorkers suffering the effects of Sandy in their daily lives. In a letter sent today to Mayor Bloomberg, the Members demanded increased accessibility to D-SNAP benefit centers in hard hit areas of the city; extended periods for applying for the benefits; and an expanded zone of eligibility to include all those New Yorkers whose neighborhoods were badly damaged by flooding. Lower Manhattan State and City elected officials, led by State Senator Daniel Squadron, are simultaneously sending a similar letter to the City.

“We urge you to expand access to D-SNAP benefits to residents in these other zip codes, many of whom could benefit from this important federal resource,” wrote the Members. And, “[w]e are deeply concerned that the hurdles created by this distance will prevent a significant number of people from easily getting the help they need to feed their families. A large number of those who suffered flooding and loss of basic services throughout the affected areas are elderly and handicapped.”

The Members continued: “Making it as easy as possible for those affected by Hurricane Sandy to have access to the resources they need to recover will also help our city rebuild. Allowing survivors better access to relief programs like D-SNAP will mean more people will be able to sign up, which will also translate into more profits for local small businesses such as grocery stores. We must work together to ensure that this important program is fully utilized by those who need it.”

Please find the full text of the letter here Congress D-SNAP Letter 12-12-12.

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