Published On: Thu, Nov 30th, 2017

More than 1,800 applications for food vouchers

food vouchers relief aid

PHILIPSBURG – The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor has so far received more than 1,800 applications for basic needs food vouchers, minister Emil Lee said on Wednesday. More applications are coming in so the number is still increasing.

“We are approving roughly 70 percent of all applications for basic food vouchers,” the minister said.

Minister Lee used the opportunity to thank his staff. “Everybody has been working very hard even though many of them have challenging personal situations. Furthermore they are dealing with people who are agitated. Everyone is very stressed.”

The first phase of the basic needs voucher program is coming to an end on Friday, when the government will stop accepting applications at the government administration building on Pond Island.

“There is no need for a rush,” Minister Lee said, explaining that phase two will consist of an “increased reach into the community.”

The department of Community Development and Humanitarian Affairs will work together with “credible community leaders, volunteers, religious entities, non-profit organizations and non-governmental organizations” to reach people in need in the districts.

“They will assist us with the application process. They will reach out in their communities to those they know best – people that are uncomfortable and in need,” the minister said. “They will fill in the applications together and send them to the ministry for processing.”

Press Release from the Ministry of VSA:

Basic Necessities Voucher Program Enters Phase 2

PHILIPSBURG – The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labor (VSA) launched the Voucher program for Basic Necessities on October 2, 2017. Under the auspices of the Department of Labor Affairs & Social Services, a total in excess of 1800 applications have been taken in and are continuously being processed through established eligibility criteria in accordance with a policy framework and guidelines. The execution of the program is being carried out in phases. Phase one (1) of the program will end on Friday, December 1, 2017, and the Ministry will move to Phase two (2) which is a more community-based approach. Phase 2 focuses on increasing and solidifying the reach within the Community, with the help of credible community leaders, volunteer organizations, religious entities, and non-profit, non-governmental organizations, through the collaborative efforts of Community Development , Family and Humanitarian Affairs (CDFHA). As such, no more applications will be distributed via the Government Administration Building. Most of the number to apply at the Government Administration Building has been handed out so there is no need to rush to the building over the next few days. Persons within the communities will be contacted via identified organizations, which will be published in the near future, and persons will be able to submit an application for a voucher through this means.

“Huge thank you to the staff of the Department of Social Services and Labor Affairs, who have been working extremely hard since the passing of Irma to ensure persons reaching out for assistance can register for such. Many of the staff members are also faced with challenging personal situations, but still come to work every day to help others. At times the clients are also facing difficult times and may be agitated, some stressed making it a very difficult working environment under very stressful circumstances, and I think they have been doing a tremendous job,” stated Minister Lee at Wednesday’s press briefing.