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State adds auto repairs, hotel vouchers to services for some SNAP recipients

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DHSS
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The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is now approved to do more to assist people receiving food benefits with homelessness and transportation issues.

Delaware is one of ten states participating in a three-year research project funded by the USDA that began in 2016.

Locally, the WONDER program provides free training and other services to help people receiving food benefits from the SNAP program find employment.

But now it is being expanded to assist with other barriers like homelessness, by offering hotel vouchers—and transportation, by providing free auto repairs.

Division of Social Services Chief Administrator Christine Cressler says housing and transportation are two of the most common barriers people in the program face.

“We don’t have a public transportation system that covers the entire state, so there are many folks who just don’t have access to other transportation resources,” said Cressler.

Delaware has been allowed to include the new services into the USDA and will reallocate funds from the original $18.8 million USDA grant to put them into practice.

“It’s specific to each person’s individual needs and what other attempts they made to locate resources within the community. It’s not an exact cap per se. We have to look at each case individually,” said Cressler.

More than 3,200 people have participated in the Delaware WONDER program since its start and more than 1,300 found jobs while they were enrolled.

DHSS plans to continue offering similar services once the USDA grant ends in December.