A Message From Your District Homeless Liaison for the Texas Education Homeless Children and Youth (Discovery Club in Galveston)Hello to our students and Families,We hope that you are staying safe and continuing to complete assignments given by the campuses. If you are in need of additional resources, please check the GISD website for updates. If you have needs that are not addressed on the website, please send an email to Homelessliaison@gisd.org or Marypatrick@gisd.org and we will communicate with you on your needs._______________________________________________________________________________________________Updates for Community Partners:
- Food Assistance Through SNAP. To maximize food assistance help for individual and family households, encourage individuals and families to apply for SNAP through normal SNAP assistors located in community partner locations in their Texas county. Individuals and families can either apply in person if organizations are open, if not apply online through www.YourTexasBenefits.Com or by calling HHSC’s Information and Referral Service Help Line, 2-1-1. HHSC is the only agency that can determine eligibility.
- Benefits Extension for 3 months for SNAP Recipients. USDA has approved a SNAP waiver for Texas to automatically extend the certification period for an additional three months to households whose benefits are scheduled to end in April, May and June 2020 in all Texas Counties. This would allow HHSC to also waive the periodic reporting requirements during the extension and allow the State to more effectively use staff to timely process the influx of new applications during the Covid19 Emergency.
- SNAP Waiver Allowing SNAP Benefits At Take-Out & Drive Thru Restaurants. A Waiver letter was sent from HHSC to the USDA on Tuesday seeking permission to allow SNAP recipients to use their benefits at take-out and drive-thru restaurants. Hunger Free Texans has been in consultation with USDA and they did receive the state’s waiver request. It is being reviewed by their legal department. We will keep you posted if approved.
- Food Assistance Through Schools. Schools Nutrition Programs have emergency flexibilities already approved by congress to provide student meals when schools are closed. Schools can deliver school meals using the USDA NSLP/Summer Meals Program to provide alternative methods such as Grab & Go curbside delivery or home delivered meals. We encourage schools to implement these services if not yet implemented. To ensure that you can provide these services you must be approved by the state to do so. Schools districts should contact the Texas Department of Agriculture or your local ESC location for further clarification, assistance or information. To find a local regional ESC office near you: www.Squaremeals.org/ESC .
- Unemployment Assistance. To maximize food & household assistance needs for individual and family households, encourage those recently unemployed due to the Corona Virus Emergency to apply directly for unemployment benefits through the Texas Workforce Commission. They can apply online at Unemployment Benefit Services by clicking the link Submit an application for unemployment benefits. This service is available seven days a week, 24hours a day. Or Call a Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 and speak to a customer service representative. **Assistance has been expanded from 26 weeks to 39 weeks. Maximum weekly amounts have been increased by $600 to further assist household with bills such as utility, car payments, rent & mortgage etc.
- Direct Payments from Federal Stimulus Package for Individuals & Families. The federal 2 trillion dollar stimulus package with democratic input was agreed to by the U.S Senate last night. The bill still needs approval by the U.S. House and the President will need to sign. Once signed, individuals making under $75K will receive $1,200/ Married couples earning up to $150K will receive $2400 with $500 additional per child in family.
- America’s Pantry System Under the previous stimulus package approved by congress the nation’s 200 food banks will receive $400 million dollars to purchase, store & deliver food and to ensure that pantry agencies in their communities continue to be stocked. Clients can access their local pantry agency by calling the states information and referral service line 2-1-1.
- Meals for Low-Income Seniors $250 million was previously approved for States. As a result, Texas just received $16.2 million dollars for home-delivered and prepackaged meals to low-income seniors. Seniors should contact their local Meals on Wheels provider or Area Agency on Aging for more information. This can be done by calling the states information and referral service line 2-1-1.
Non-Feeding Information for Low-Income Families, Seniors, Veterans, and those with Disabilities:
- Keeping Communities Informed on Corona Virus Public Health Information. Many cable and communications companies are now offering free tv channels for households to stay connected with public health updates from news outlets. As a result, some households may also receive other non-news outlet channels since many people are stuck at home during this time. Encourage your clients to look through their channels to see if new channels have been added. If not offered in their community, they should contact their cable provider to see if this available for free (without subscribing). This may help alleviate some of the boredom families are experiencing while at home or during quarantine.