Federal officials came up with a waiver program that allows food banks in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth to handle food stamp applications directly — without the state having to repeat the intake interview.
The Food Banks will gather all the documentation to prove residency and income and the banks will have access to state computers to make sure those asking for food stamps are not already receiving them. The Health and Human Services Commission will still have the final say on whether the applicants are eligible.
Right now there's a backlog of about 16-thousand applications — most of them in Houston and Dallas. That's down from 42-thousand unanswered food stamp requests from last fall.