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KHEIR Center provides L.A. residents convenient and language-sensitive assistance with Food Stamp applications

(LOS ANGELES, April 9) - As more individuals and families in Los Angeles face the uncertainty and economic challenges stemming from the U.S. recession, KHEIR Center, a nonprofit agency offering on-site healthcare and social services, provides county residents with convenient access to applications for the Food Stamp Program. The Mid-Wilshire-based organization, located near many public transportation stops, also offers guidance in Spanish, Korean and English on completing the required food stamp forms.

Programs like Food Stamps are becoming crucial safety-nets to increasing numbers of Los Angeles County families and individuals, including many facing financial emergencies for the first time. On April 2, the Los Angeles Times reported the number of California's food stamp recipients is expected to grow this year by 300,000. This increase parallels the nation's expanding unemployment rate of 10.5%, as cited by the Los Angeles Times in an April 22 feature on public assistance.

Food Stamp benefits are vouchers that allow those with limited or no income to purchase food such as fruit, vegetables, meats, dairy or bread products at participating retailers. The amount of monthly benefits is determined by factors including household size and income. For example, a family of three with no income is likely to receive around $463 in benefits, while a single individual without income may qualify for $176 in food stamps.

In addition to the income requirements, there are other factors that determine an individual or family's eligibility to receive Food Stamp benefits, including:

*Household status: Los Angeles County's Department of Public Social Services considers a "household" as "a person living alone or living with others or a group of people who live together and normally buy and prepare their food together." Another definition of a qualifying household is one where parents reside with their children aged 22 years and younger.

*Citizenship or residency status: Only legal U.S. citizens and legal residents can qualify for the Food Stamp Program, however, you may apply for your children to receive benefits if they are legal residents or citizens.

As one of only three Korean-speaking agencies in the state qualified to issue food stamp applications, KHEIR is available to assist the growing group of L.A. residents in need of temporary assistance as a result of unexpected financial challenges. At the organization's Social Services Department, applicants for the Food Stamp program can feel at ease knowing their privacy is always respected. KHEIR's reassuring staff members approach each client with compassion and strive to remove the stigma and embarrassment associated with applying for public assistance.

To schedule an appointment to apply for the Food Stamp Program at KHEIR, or for more information on other program assistance offered by the organization's Social Services Department, contact (213) 637-1080.

KHEIR Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency founded in 1986, offers culturally and linguistically appropriate health care and social services to the low income, limited-English speaking Korean and Latino residents of Southern California. In addition to operating the only full-time community clinic with majority Korean patient base in the United States to offer assistance in English, Spanish and Korean, the organization maintains a Social Services Department and two Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) centers that render more than 80,000 service visits and 100,000 hot meals on an annual basis. http://www.lakheir.org


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