Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina hoax

I got this email today from a friend. Sadly, it is another email hoax floating in cyberspace. Who comes up with this sort of stuff?

Please pass to anyone who needs help . . . .

Do you know anyone in Texas as an evacuee from any of the three states
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama? If so, the Texas Department of Health and
Human Services will give them 2 months of Food Stamps with no questions
asked. All they need to show is a drivers license. This agency will also
give you information and locations where they can receive FREE GAS. Also,
if you are housing anyone from one of these states you can call FEMA at
(800) 621-3362 file a claim and receive assistance for your help. This is
valid information directly from TDHHS.

below is the site to find a location near you

Texas Department of State Health Services

If you are seeking assistance or relief from the devastation from Katrina, you still need to see the good folks at the Red Cross or similar organization.

UPDATE (by mollo): Is it completely bogus or not? The Texas DSHS website clearly says:

An e-mail is being circulated that indicates that food stamps and free gasoline for Hurricane Katrina evacuees are available from or through the "Texas Department of Health and Human Services."

The e-mail is bogus.

But Mr. Koran, a man working directly with my community's efforts, comments that they've received an official fax from the Texas Department of State Health Services that pratically says the same thing. This would mean only the gasoline info is merely an error. If so, titling their webpage "Bogus food stamp/gasoline email" is, well, bogus also.

I went looking for information concerning food stamps and didn't find much. The main link concerning food on the Houston Chronicle website lead to free eating places, with no information about getting food stamps. Also, while I was at the Red Cross center yesterday, a large family was there asking to get help. The first words out of the matriarch's mouth were, "Can we get some food stamps?" The answer was not an immediate "no", but they were told they could take care of all their needs, including food needs, at the shelter just down the road. I know they're passing out food and gift cards.

But I've called the 1-888 info line just now and talked a volunteer. He said that all people can get one months expedited food stamps benefits. And he said that the email was in fact, bogus.

So, somebody tell me how it is bogus yet true at the same time? I'm not wanting to pass around bad info and get myself into hot water.

You can take a peak at the Texas DSHS pages HERE and see what services have been officially opened up. They are listing quite a few services available but not food stamps yet.

Please bear with me as I go through my first little crisis. :(


mollo said...

Whoa! If that was true, I'm sure every body in the states would be coming over here.

Steve Koran said...

Actually, the Department of State Health Services sent out an email to all agencies late Wednesday authorizing emergency issuance of Food Stamps for 1 month (September) to all LA, MS and AL residents fleeing the hurricane. Here is a quote from the email:

Food Stamps
All individuals who are displaced by Hurricane Katrina and are appearing in HHSC offices are being treated as applicants for expedited food stamp benefits, regardless of previous receipt of benefits in another state and other eligibility factors.


Take client statement for income and other eligibility factors.
Disregard resources.
If the applicant has income but it is not accessible to him/her, use judgment to provide the applicant access to benefits. If some or all of the household's income is not available to the applicant, document the client's statement and certify the case based on the income that is available.
All cases should be certified for August and September only even if the household is receiving benefits in another state. For applications with file date of September 1 or after, certify for September only. We may revisit this in the coming days as the extent of the damage becomes more evident.

We are working with retailers to ensure that displaced individuals who have an EBT card from an affected state can access and use those benefits in Texas at larger retailers such as HEB, Kroger, and Wal-Mart. Louisiana has applied for a disaster declaration that will allow them, among other things, to load all recipients' benefits onto their EBT card on September 1 (as opposed to a staggered issuance) and to issue a supplemental payment to compensate for damaged food. This will benefit displaced food stamp recipients who have their EBT card.


Steve Koran said...

Another comment:
The United Way of the Brazos Valley has received over $8,000 in cash donations in just 2 days to help. They are the 211 center in our area, and have been coordinating most of the relief efforts, along with many of their partner agencies (such as ours). In a meeting this morning, attended by at least 30 agency reps, I was overwhelmed by the amount of energy that is being put forth by our friends and neighbors. Truly heartwarming!

mollo said...

You say you were at this grand meeting so I'll assume you're an inside person and would know about this fax. However, as of right now, the information on the bogus email for food stamps and gasoline is still on the webpage of the Texas State Health Services. Did you go read it? In fact, it was posted on Friday.

I'm thrilled with the fevor that has gripped our people. :) I watched 3 people come in a donate and 2 people volunteer in the short time that I was in the Red Cross office today. I know it will all work out perfectly for our refugees because of all the hard work we are putting into it.

Steve Koran said...


I have gone to the website, and you are right about the gasoline. I was referring only to the food stamps. You are also correct about the incredible turnout of people volunteering both their time and money to help. Glad you are involved, too.