2012-12-21 / Top Stories

Food Stamp Program Too Far From Rockaway

By Howard Schwach

It’s just too damn far.

New York City started a program, called D-SNAP, that is designed to bring much needed food to those impacted by Superstorm Sandy. It allows those who are not eligible for food stamps to get a one-time infusion of cash to pay for food.

Locals, however, say that the process of registering for the program is onerous because the only center where they can apply is in downtown Brooklyn, a long trip by bus from the peninsula.

The one center where locals can apply is at 496 Clermont Avenue, a ten-block walk up Atlantic Avenue from the Brooklyn terminal where buses and the subway come together.

“It’s another indication of the fact that the city doesn’t care much for its residents,” said one handicapped senior who asked not to be identified. “There is no subway and the buses run a ragged schedule,” he said. How are we supposed to get to downtown Brooklyn and then stand on a long line to get a couple of bucks that we really need. Why not a place in Rockaway?”

“People don’t seek out food stamps on a whim – they do it because their families are in dire need of the food,” said Public Advocate Bill Di Blasio. “The hurdles placed in their way by the city is keeping people from getting much-needed food.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the city’s decision to allow only two centers for the entire city – one in Brooklyn and the other in Staten Island.

“We have an obligation as Americans to be good stewards of the tax-payer’s money,” he told John Gambling on a radio show.

“There will be no changes to the program,” one of his aids added.

In addition to the long trip, those who want to apply were told to bring a photo ID, two documents that verify identity and address, a signed statement from someone else you know stating who you are and proof of storm damage.

“Most of us lost our basements and all of our records,” the local senior said. “Who in Rockaway could round up all that information in a day or two?”

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