More than 10% of Coloradans struggle with hunger. That’s an estimated 560,700 individuals by 2017 statistics. For some, this may be a result of unexpected financial hardship, job loss, health issues, working a minimum wage job or other misfortune, either long or short-term. Luckily, Tri-County Health Network (TCHNetwork) has staff dedicated to helping enroll individuals in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Food insecurity has a direct effect on people’s health and well-being and effects everyone from all walks of life. As humans, we all rely on quality, nutritious food to grow, develop, function and live a balanced and healthy life. Nutritious food helps babies develop, gives kids the needed energy to excel in school, reduces the risk of chronic diseases in adults, and keeps seniors stable and independent. Yet, more than 10% of Coloradans struggle to access this vital requirement of life.
Shockingly, Colorado ranks 45th nationwide in enrolling eligible residents into the food assistance program! Only 58 percent of those eligible actual get the nutritious food they need. Far behind the national average of 75 percent. With Food Assistance as a public benefit and large part of our social safety net it is difficult to understand why individuals are not taking advantage of this program.
Looking closer at the root causes of this conundrum, we can see that this great benefit is in fact not accessible to a lot of Coloradans. Particularly those that are low-income, non-English speakers, children and seniors struggle to receive Food Assistance. Many individuals also find the application too burdensome for the perceived benefit, don’t know where they can go for assistance or succumb to the social pressure and stigma associated with enrolling in “Food Stamps.”
To overcome these challenges TCHNetwork is prioritizing Food Assistance into our common enrollment services. Meaning our team will enroll candidates in SNAP throughout the year and at convenient locations for our clients. Sharing an enrollment process with other state programs; Health First Colorado (Medicaid) or Child Health Plans Plus (CHP+) each TCHNetwork Enrollment Navigator will include SNAP as part of each enrollment. Our highly trained team of Navigators are well versed in the unique requirements of SNAP and can easily handle the follow up process to keep our residents receiving the service they deserve.
Benefits range greatly and depend entirely on one’s financial situation, household size and region. To receive local assistance, contact one of our Enrollment Navigators below.
|Skitter Jones||Norwood & West End||Ocfirstname.lastname@example.org
|Marlen Olivas||Telluride (Spanish assistance)||email@example.com
-Erich Lange, Community Programs Manager