Thousands line up to meet deadline for flood aid
Frustration boiled over in West Pullman and across the Chicagoland area. A 1PM deadline this afternoon left Illinois aid workers scrambling to process huge numbers of applications for food aid. Storms in April created record floods in communities across Chicago, adversely impacting nearly 40,000 households that are still struggling to recover.
“This is a mess. It’s not organized,” complained Chloe Nelson of Chicago, when it comes to long lines in West Pullman. “People are cutting in front of other people. And the lines are all messed up.” The new funds, released through the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP for short, are issued by the Federal government. But it falls to the Illinois Department of Human Services to disperse the money. And there was simply no way Human Services could get to all the people before the 1PM deadline.
Across the Chicagoland area, in offices across Cook, Lake and DuPage County, it was a similar picture. At sunrise, WGN’s Skycam 9 captured pictures of lines stretching for blocks. From Gurnee to Wheaton to Stickney and the far South Side of Chicago, few communities were spared. And for many, the process of getting federal aid money has been frustrating, to say the very least.
In West Pullman, with the 1PM deadline come and gone, applicants won a reprieve when state officials made a decision. To help those standing still standing in line, state workers issue cards to those still outside – telling them to come back next week.
“Those who are in line now will be serviced,” vowed Lavonne Banks with the Illinois Department of Human Services. “These folks in line are receiving a card that’ll allow them to return Monday or in some cases, Tuesday.”
But with the ordeal of standing in line for 24 hours, in the summer heat, many say there has to be a better way of dispersing these badly needed funds.