Are Maryland agencies that serve the poor ready to handle the stimulus influx?

petersabonis2Acting chief counsel Peter Sabonis was interviewed today on WYPR-FM’s Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast about President Obama’s stimulus package and whether agencies that serve low-income Marylanders are ready for the influx of federal funds. “We’re seeing a state human resources infrastructure … that’s skeletal at times,” Sabonis said. “We’ve seen a steady decline over the last seven years in the number of state workers … as the number of problems increase–long waits, documents lost, supervisors not returning phone calls.”  Sabonis also talked about food stamp recertification, a routine process that usually allows for smooth transitions as people reapply for the benefit every six months. “But those transitions aren’t there anymore,” Sabonis said. “There aren’t enough [state] workers. Our clients have to rob Peter to pay Paul, they pull out money meant to pay utilities and use it to buy groceries, they start using food pantries. Our clients have to scramble. If there’s more of a demand on the system, we’re going to see if the state infrastructure, which is already weakened, can handle it.” To hear the interview, click here (scroll down to February 20).

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