Oregon sees huge rise in food stamp recipients
A record half a million Oregonians are struggling to feed their families, and the state’s unemployment figure reached 8 percent in November, the highest in five years. Jackson and Josephine counties saw increases of 19 percent, and the Bend area's food-stamp recipients rose by 28 percent over last year. More than half of the 21,850 families applying for temporary assistance through the welfare system were first-timers. “We’re seeing folks who we have never seen before, folks who have lost jobs or are losing their homes,” a Department of Human Services official told southern Oregon’s Mail Tribune. “It’s not unusual to see very nice cars in our parking lot now because folks who have had good jobs and secure incomes are needing services.” A family in Washington County told the paper that while they are continuing to pay their $918 monthly mortgage, the family is staying with relatives because they can’t afford to pay for heat and other utilities. On the upside…the state is hiring 60 people to process the rising number of food stamp applications.