Missoula Public Assistance to help Mineral County this summer

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The Missoula Field Office of Public Assistance will travel to the Mineral County Courthouse to assist residents with Medicaid, food stamps and cash assistance applications on May 14. This will provide low income families who aren’t able to travel to Missoula an opportunity to apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid, state-run programs through the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. “I just think it’s important,” says retired social worker Diane Magone. “There’s a lot of people that can’t get to Missoula.” Although the state offers an electronic system for applications, Magone says many Mineral County residents don’t have computer access. When the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), a school lunch program, was dropped from the budget at Mineral County Schools, Superior Schools superintendent Scott Kinney began talking to commissioners to reignite the program. CEP provides free breakfast and lunch to students in low income areas and works directly with SNAP and TANF programs. This prompted Kinney and Magone to connect with the Missoula Field Office to inquire about travelling to Superior to assist with Mineral County applicants. Field Manager Kara Thomas arranged for their office to make three trips to Mineral County in May, June and July this year. “I’d like them to keep her coming long term,” Magone said. Superior’s Office of Public Assistance closed in 2015 due to staffing and budget cuts, and Mineral County residents haven’t received face-to-face access since the closure. “Budget cuts are happening statewide and there’s lots of problems with substances and mental health issues,” Magone said. The Missoula Field Office of Public Assistance will travel to Mineral County Tuesday, May 14, Tuesday, June 18 and Thursday July 18 from 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

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