SNAP is an untapped benefit for many older Oregonians who need food assistance
Historically, persons aged 60 and older have been the most under-served population nationwide. Only two out of three eligible Oregon seniors are receiving the SNAP dollars they are entitled to.
In 2008, PHFO started a senior outreach pilot in Washington County. Staff held 5 focus groups with seniors asking them about barriers to participation and recommendations for outreach and messaging.
Staff visited sites where seniors congragate as well as attending community events in Washington County in 2008. Outreach strategies included:
- providing community presentations
- distributing materials and newsletter articles for local newspapers and senior centers
- presenting to clubs and faith-based organizations about senior hunger and SNAP
During Summer 2009 staff began using a process to assist seniors in accessing an online self-screening benefits estimator at www.oregonhelps.org. A procedural guide was developed, as well as an outreach poster to advertise screening assistance dates and to stimulate curiosity about the program. A survey was developed to measure satisfaction with the outreach process and to assess their intent to apply for SNAP benefits. During Fall 2009 PHFO began working with a SNAP-screening worker from a local senior service office to conduct joint outreach. The worker brought forms to start the application process.
EBT at Congregate Meal Sites
In 2008, Klamath Basin Senior Center became the first congregate meal site to accept an EBT card as payment for a hot meal. Since then, several other Oregon congregate meal sites have added an EBT option to paying for a meal.
The application to become an authorized vendor is easy to complete. The state supplies the site with a free EBT/POS (Point of Service) machine.