As the recession lingers, food stamps have been a saving grace for Illinois families struggling to get back on their feet. But because of the state budget crisis, Illinois is still failing to extend food aid to families who need it most. In 2007 alone, $85 million worth of assistance went unclaimed in the Chicago area, according the the Food Research and Action Center's analysis of federal data.
The problem, the Illinois Hunger Coalition's Diane Doherty tells the Chicago Reporter, is that the Illinois Department of Human Services is increasingly "understaffed at the same time that the number of households who are
seeking help has skyrocketed.” The stress on the agency only grew worse when they decided to shutter numerous field offices last year. It's no wonder that 141,843 impoverished Illinoisans are missing out on this crucial subsidy.