Georgia Food Stamp Funding at Risk - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Georgia Food Stamp Funding at Risk

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CHATHAM COUNTY, GA -

The government is threatening pull funding from Georgia's food stamp program if it doesn't clean up it's act.

According to an Atlanta Journal Constitution report, the state's food stamp system is understaffed and outdated and that's kept thousands of Georgians from getting assistance, including folks right in our area.

"Its going to be a chain reaction and we are going to have to solve it. Its almost going to be a run on services."

What EOA Director John Finney is talking about is the potential loss of $76 million in federal money for Food Stamps.

About 1.7 million Georgians - and almost 20, 000 families in Chatham County get food stamps from a system that the Federal Government is calling "broken".

Specifically they are pointing to a massive backlog of overdue cases at the Department of Children and Family Services - 30,000 as of earlier this month according to the AJC.

And a phone services program that saw more than 40% of calls for help unanswered - others left on hold for hours.

We found that out first hand just trying to call for an interview. After several minutes of a message - all you get is a beep to leave a message - no chance to talk to a live person.

Almost 25% of Chatham County lives below the poverty line.

And the Chatham County EOA services 100,000 people a year - to the tune of $29 million.

And while his programs won't lose all that, Director Finney says he has to prepare for the worst.

"I don't think we can any longer afford to come to work and say that well, what we get for foundations in the city and the state of Georgia and the Federal Government would be content with making that work. We're not going to do that, " said EOA Director Finney.

I attempted to talk to the local DFCS director - only after walking into the department personally.

I was directed to the state office - who has yet to respond to my phone calls.

DFCS has until may 1st to get rid of the overdue backlog - or else the feds say their funding will end.

The department says it is making "major" changes to its programs -and things are improving for all its customers.

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