Federal shutdown threatens SNAP, WIC & Section 8 - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Federal shutdown threatens SNAP, WIC & Section 8

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The negative impacts from the federal government shutdown are being felt everywhere, including right here on Guam. 
 
KUAM News placed a quick call to places like the Guam National Wildlife Refuge at Ritidian. A recording states due to a lapse in funding, the refuge will be closed until further notice. But, the financial distress does impact thousands more here in the territory.
 
As per the presidents' demands, no funding for a U.S.-Mexican border wall will keep federal doors closed. 
 
No funding for a wall thousands of miles away equates to money running out for federal programs here.
 
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, once referred to as food stamps, is among those on the chopping block, Department of Public Health and Social Services Director Lynda Unpingco-DeNorcy said. 
 
"We are talking about 17,000 households, which translates to about 53,000 individuals, which is about one-third of the population," she said.
 
The program provides more than eight million benefits monthly. January benefits are covered, but SNAP recipients should be cautious. Unpingco-DeNorcy.
 
"Be prepared," she warned. "Make certain that you buy your foods and prep up. However, if we don't have any issuance in Feb. 2019 yet until the funding is disbursed then we will work with local communities and see what we can get from the Salvation Army or other entities out there that can provide some assistance."
 
Public Health late Wednesday stated USDA is working with states to issue February benefits earlier than usual. USDA will be reaching out to states to instruct them to request early issuance of SNAP benefits for next month. States will have until Jan. 20 to request and implement the early issuance.
 
The shutdown also has rolling negative effects on the money for the Women, Infant and Children program, which caters to more than 7,000 people, and the Farmer's Market program. 
 
"We just have to be patient because this is beyond us. It's all the way up at the federal level," Unpingco-DeNorcy noted.
 
USDA has also ensured late today that the other major nutrition assistance programs have sufficient funding to continue operations into February, such as WIC. Additionally, Section 8 housing program at the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority is dealing the financial crumble.
 
Norma San Nicolas, the program's administrator, said this would impact more than 25,000
 
 "HUD assured us there is funds available for January and February, but we are not sure about March,' she said. 
 
There's not much we can do now, San Nicolas said.
 
"Keep your fingers crossed," she said. "Hopefully, the government and Congress can resolve the issue and hopefully the shutdown will end soon."
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