Disaster benefits locations set to open Monday

Disaster benefits locations set to open Monday

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - DSNAP benefits are on the way for many across the state hit hard by recent flooding.

The AmVets Post 68 in Livingston Parish is one of 26 locations set to open at 8 a.m. Monday.

Crews have been working throughout the weekend to make sure locations across the state are set to handle the thousands of people who've already preregistered for DSNAP benefits.

"A lot of it's just the basics like just setting up chairs and putting up signage," Tim Wagner said. "We're working through a floor plan and how to get the people actually ushered through and put where they need to be."

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has been working to provide DSNAP benefits since the storms hit.

Sammy Guillory, a spokesman for DCFS, said more than 1,000 employees will be deployed statewide.

"We take it very seriously. We're trying our best to prepare for the people that come to apply and to accommodate them and get them out quickly and to make right decisions on their applications," Guillory added.

He said preparation is key when dealing with so many cases.

"We're expecting somewhere around 150,000 across the 23 parishes but it's harder to say with floods since flooding is usually a little more isolated. The damage may be worse but the number of people impacted may be less," Guillory said.

Right now the DSNAP benefits are only offered to the 23 parishes first covered under the disaster declaration but Guillory said for those who live in Allen, Ascension and Calcasieu parishes, help could be on the way soon.

"By the time they were declared we didn't have time to set, make all the accommodations for this Monday but we will be making a request to our federal partners to operate a DSNAP in those three parishes beginning next week," he said.

The program is only for those who need help buying food after the recent flood and who don't already receive regular SNAP benefits.

Those sites are expected to open each day this week from 8 a.m. through 6 p.m.

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