Local Counties Swamped With Food Stamp Applications

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Here’s another sign of California’s sliding economy:  a sharp increase in demand for food stamps has some local applicants waiting longer for assistance. 
Sacramento County Human Assistance Director Bruce Wagstaff says his agency has seen almost 25-percent upswing in food stamp applications in the past year.  That’s while dealing with a three-percent cut for his department in the new state budget.  

Wagstaff says his case workers are keeping pace with the increased workload.  It’s stressful and offices are packed… 
“If you go into our waiting rooms…you see a real mix of people waiting to be seen there.  And you see everything from people in ties to folks at the other end of the spectrum.  It’s a difficult time out there and we’re doing the best to meet the demands that these folks have…” 

Placer and Yolo Counties also are coping with full waiting rooms at their food stamp offices.  Both have processed 19-percent more assistance applications than they did last year.
That means most applicants will probably have to wait about three weeks to get enrolled.  That’s nearly a week longer than last year.