Public transportation an issue tied to work requirements for SNA - FOX34 Lubbock

Public transportation an issue tied to work requirements for SNAP program in Farm Bill

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

As the Farm Bill approaches its deadline Sunday, Congress is split on work requirements in the SNAP program, among other obstacles that are holding up a deal. 

Work requirements are a big part of the SNAP program, but Andy Black, with Texas Hunger Initiative, said finding a way to get to work is a significant problem. 

"One example is just someone I spoke with about two weeks ago who was very close to someone who had just completed their prison sentence. They paid their debt to society, and this individual was trying to do the right thing, do what everyone would hope this person would be able to do, which is to find a job, and he found a job, but was unable to take it because it required transportation he didn't have," Black said.

Doug Morris, the executive director of Family Promise of Lubbock, said it is a case by case thing with SNAP recipients, as there are some who are looking to work, but do not have the access to do so. 

"A single mom that we recently helped had no driver's license. She never had a driver's license, so she didn't have transportation to and from work. She also had a three year old that needed child care. To pay for a bus ride and to pay for child care at the current going rate for jobs that she can do, she couldn't make ends meet," Morris said.

Morris said changes need to be made to the public transportation system in Lubbock, adding there needs to be a more efficient and effective method as the city expands. 

"The bus routes need to adapt, and they need to be able to take people where the jobs are so that those who really want to work can get to where they need to get to in order to work," Morris said. 

Black said there is a gray area with the work requirements issue in the SNAP program, adding people need a foundation of support to get their lives on track.

"It's not just about work and not work. It's about what's the best way, what's the kind of support that's going to be most effective on how much funding is really needed to do that. Who or what organization provide the best kinds of support to help folks that aren't working move to a place where they are economically sufficient because of their employment," Black said.

Morris said Family Promise of Lubbock is one of those organizations that can provide this support. 

"We give them that address, we provide the transportation, we help them with child care, and they begin working and building this foundation until they can do it on their own, but they need that help to get started," Morris said. 

The SNAP program affects more than one in eight Texan households, and Morris added he would like to see employers be more flexible with hours to allow people to find a method of transportation in time to get them to work. 

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