Hundreds stand in line for the last day of disaster food stamps

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds stood in line at the Coast Coliseum Convention Center Saturday to fill out applications for disaster food stamps. This was the last opportunity for those affected by Isaac to apply for the one time benefit.

Harrison County DHS Director Harold Netto said, "Starting Monday, we are going back to regular benefits. We just do not want Seaway Road backed up, because people want disaster benefits because it is no longer available."

But Netto says if Isaac has caused anyone to be out of work for an extended period of time they may be able to qualify for food stamps.

"We will help everyone we can, just come into the office and apply, if you feel like you qualify. We do not turn anyone away from applying, but we do have to determine their eligibility based on income and all the other criteria," Netto said.

Currently in Harrison County, Netto says they process around 1,600 to 1,800 applications a month, but in the past four days, around 5,500 residents have applied for the disaster stamps.

DHS Deputy Administrator John Davis said, "We knew there were some 58,000 homes that had been either destroyed or some way affected, so we knew there was a large volume of individuals. We always make provisions, so the people can be served."

The disaster food stamp program is only offered if the president issues an individual assistance declaration, but DHS still makes sure those who get the help are really in need.

"If there is fraud in the program, we will find it, and we will make ensure it is eliminated from the program," Davis said.

While it is too late to apply for the disaster food stamps, those affected by Isaac can still seek other disaster assistance from FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA.

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