The county human services department reports that for the first time since last April there was a decrease in the number of food assistance (food stamp) cases compared with the prior month.
The decrease is not large; 1,748 cases in February compared with 1,712 cases in March. A year ago the department had 1,482 cases.
The decline isn't thought to indicate a trend. Department officials attribute the decline to two factors: people moving out of county in search of work or other living situations, and a change in the food stamp program rules that dropped some people from eligibility. "We only hope it is a sign that things may be leveling off," says the county report.
And, a large March decline was also logged in participation with the free commodities food distribution program here. Overall, county participation was down 30 percent from the distribution in the previous quarter.
"Numbers (in the commodities program) were down markedly in all county municipalities from pervious distributions," stated the county report. In Delta there was a decrease of 28 percent. The commodities distributions at Hotchkiss and Cedaredge were also down; by 33 percent and 32 percent respectively.
Countywide, there were 558 individuals accepting commodities; 240 households of one-to-four persons; and 24 households of five or more. Those numbers countywide reflect 48 fewer households and 241 fewer individuals participating in the commodities distribution program in March.
There was also a slight decrease in the county's million-dollar-per-month Medicare/Medicaid program payments. "Medicaid cases decreased (in March) but this seems to be a trend for Medicaid lately, up slightly one month and then down the next," said the county report.
And lastly, dollars spent this winter on LEAP (low income energy assistance program) are far below those spent in 2011, according to county figures.
Through March of this year, the program accounted for $592,157. During the same period last year there was $822,824 spent. The LEAP program is federally funded and will end this year on April 30.blog comments powered by Disqus