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Gov. Edwards announces SNAP benefit waiver for hot foods, way for families to connect with evacuees in shelters

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Posted at 2:13 PM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-05 12:37:58-04

NEW ORLEANS, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards held a press briefing in New Orleans Friday where he joined Mayor LaToya Cantrell for a tour of the city's Family Resource Center for Hurricane Laura evacuees located at the Morial Convention Center.

Cantrell said she was working with the state to help bring evacuees from across the state to the Morial Center.

Edwards thanked Cantrell for her help and said that the center had welcomed more than 10,000 Louisianans. He said that currently there are 11,679 people being housed in shelters with the majority of them in non-congregant shelters in New Orleans across 37 hotels.

The governor said that the state had received a waiver for those with SNAP benefits to buy hot, prepared foods through the end of September. He said this is vital for those who are left without a place to cook.

The SNAP benefits waiver does not allow SNAP to be used at restaurants, but they can be used at places like grocery stores for cooked items like rotisserie chickens and other deli foods.

Edwards said that several Louisianans remained sheltered in Texas, primarily in hotels in Houston and Beaumont. However, he said that the state of Texas has decided to move them to hotels in Dallas and San Antonio because the region is still in hurricane season.

He also urged those evacuees still in Texas to remain there for the time being because nearly all of the hotel rooms under contract in Louisiana are being used now.

He also urged residents evacuated out of the state to be patient until they get word from local officials about returning because essential services may still not be available in their areas.

Those seeking information on shelters are asked to text LASHELTER to 898-211.

The governor also announced a new service for those wishing to contact evacuees in state shelters. He said that the state will not give shelter information about specific individuals, but the state will now be able to deliver messages to those that may be in shelters.

The program is called DCFS Connect and can be used by calling the Connect Line at 225-342-2727 or by vising www.DCFS.LA.gov/Connect.

The full press briefing can be viewed below:

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