People in Pittsburg respond to upcoming SNAP changes

The executive director of Pittsburg’s Wesley House says she doesn’t agree with the Trump administration’s actions that will remove access to food stamps for almost 700,000 people.

But she also doesn’t think the change will change things much at Wesley House.

“We have a large population of single mothers with children. We have a lot of that population and a lot of seniors,” said Wesley House Executive Director Marcee Binder.

Single mothers and senior citizens won’t be affected by a USDA rule change that formalizes work requirements for a certain group of food stamp recipients. Under the new rule, people between the ages of 18 and 49 who are childless and not disabled won’t be eligible unless they’re working.

Right now, people in this group must work 20 hours a week to qualify but states can create waivers in areas that face high unemployment. The new rule would limit those waivers but Wesley House doesn’t think it will be a local issue.

“I think Crawford County’s unemployment rate is really low, so we should not be that affected by it,” said Binder.

Officials at Wesley House say it’s easy to assume an able-bodied adult without kids should be working but the situation can often be more complicated.

“That doesn’t make sense to me. If your mind is not able to hold down a job, then why should your food, which is a basic human right, be taken away,” said Binder.

But not everyone shares Binder’s opinion, including some mall shoppers in Pittsburg.

“I support the change because I think there’s a lot of people that are on food stamps that don’t need to be on food stamps. I probably could qualify myself but I don’t. I’m not on it,” said Fred Grable Jr.

“I think at 18 to 49, you should be able to work, and I think the change is reasonable,” said Spalding Grimes.

“It’s ridiculous that they want to cut these people off when they have no idea what they’re going through. It’s a one size fits all government cut which doesn’t work,” said Fred Edwards.