Thousands of Alaskans are fighting hunger and debt as they hurry to afford the costs of food and keep their financial responsibilities. The state is once again dealing with a crisis backlog of food stamps.
Alaskans Struggle as State Faces Crisis of Food Stamp Backlog
State employees are finding it difficult to handle their workload, and the workers’ union director has highlighted that the state has not adequately addressed the difficulties in recruiting and maintaining enough staff to address the ongoing backlog.
During the previous winter, federal authorities reported a backlog of 15,000 Alaskans waiting for assistance. By August, the state managed to decrease the backlog of food stamps to 6,000 individuals, but in recent months, it has surged back up to over 12,000.
Union Director Heidi Drygas, who speaks for DPA workers, said that “Gov. Dunleavy’s administration could largely solve the problem and get needy Alaskans food aid if it hired and retained more DPA workers. She said the state has not done enough to improve conditions at the division of public assistance.”
Food Stamp Backlog Leaves Thousands Hungry, Raises Concerns
Alaskan residents have been left hungry or in debt, making it difficult to pay for basic requirements. The heavy workload has frustrated state workers, particularly DPA personnel, causing errors and delays.
The crisis has left some poor people waiting five months for food stamp assistance. Local hospitals like Cordova Community Medical Center are experiencing Medicaid application delays that harm patients and providers.