PB County: 70K people on food stamps

By Tasha Martinez
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL (WFLX) - More people than ever are looking to the Department of Children and Families for help. But, even with demand way up, the economy is forcing DCF to close a pair of their Palm Beach County offices.

The Riviera Beach and Delray Beach locations will close their doors Monday night. Here's what you need to know to still get help.

"We essentially ran out of money to pay the rent in both the Delray Beach service center and the Riviera Beach service centers," said Perry Borman, Dept. of Children and Families.

So come Monday night, the doors to these two Department of Children and Families locations will close for the final time. But DCF says that doesn't mean you have to worry because everything can now be found online.

"So, actually can do this from home, really anywhere that you can find a computer. You don't have to come to our service center."

Through ACCESS Florida, those in need can apply for food stamps, temporary cash assistance and Medicaid.

Waiting to help you fill out the forms are 100 community partner centers offering trained volunteers and rooms full of computers. There are five in Riviera Beach. Six near the closing Delray Beach service center.

"People have to call and get an appointment, and, then, we just walk them through the process step-by-step."

Volunteers can even help you find out if you qualify for assistance and show you how to track the status of your application.

DCF tells us over the past year, demand for food stamps has increased 30 percent with 70,000 people now receiving help in Palm Beach County.

They say, applying for benefits online should make the process run more smoothly and reduce the number of calls in overburdened call centers.

"Our call centers, around the state last month, received 3 million phone calls. A year ago, at the same time, we received 1.7 million phone calls."

To find a community partner near you, call 2-1-1 or go to their Web site.