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Assistance requests on the rise in Erie County

WBFO News file photo

Erie County's Department of Social Services is dealing with an increase in requests for assistance.

From August of 2011 through the end of August 2012, applications for Medicaid increased by 1,028 to 28,237.

The county received an additional 580 requests for homeless assistance.

Food stamp requests through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or "SNAP," increased by 1,213.

In a written statement, County Executive Mark Poloncarz  called the numbers "a reason of concern to everyone in Erie County."

“These numbers indicate that, while the economy is showing signs of rebounding, there are still more individuals and families in need of assistance,” said Poloncarz. “While we are seeing encouraging signs in economic development, reductions in new bankruptcy filings, and a rise in area home sales, more residents are having difficulties taking care of basic needs such as putting food on the table or paying for basic medical services. This should be of concern to everyone in Erie County. ”

Through the end of August 2012, the Erie County Department of Social Services had received:

·    28,237 applications for Medicaid assistance, compared with 27,209 through the end of August 2011.
·    2,801 requests for homeless assistance, compared with 2,221 requests through the end of August 2011.
·    27,097 requests for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), which provides food stamps, compared with 25,884 requests through the end of August 2011.

Through the end of July 2012, 13,821 requests for Temporary Assistance for Needy families (“TANF”) had been received; in 2011, that number stood at 13,487 through the end of July.