The Department of Social Services says its seeing an increase indemand for need-based assistance programs.
With unemployment still at a record high in Missouri and everyonestruggling amid a sluggish economy, Department of Social Servicesspokesman Scott Rowson says more are turning to state programs for help.
"People are definitely hurting," he said.
And he says while the state budget is tight and all departments aredoing more with less, Social Services is keeping up with the demand.
Missouri is recognized nationally as being a state that excels in its food stamps program, getting food stamps to 98 percent of the people in Missouri who qualify.
Right now, the state is asking the federal government for morefunding for its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program inanticipation of winter. Rowson says current trends show there will bemore people applying for help heating their homes as well.
Spokesman Scott Rowson explains what Friday’s public hearing was about. He said it’s an annual process where the department asks for an increase for the LIHEAP program to reflect cost-of-living and inflation increases. He says stimulus funding coming in from the federal government is definitely helping the department keep up with the increased demand for assistance in all of its need-based programs.
The LIHEAP is available to help low-income Missourians Octoberthrough March. Eligibility requirements are based on income, familysize and available resources.