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More New Yorkers In Need Of Food Stamps

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TWC News: More New Yorkers In Need Of Food Stamps
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An estimated 65 percent more New Yorkers are receiving food stamps since 2002.

Now, 1.3 million people are getting food stamps, but it's believed that another 600,000 New Yorkers are eligible for food stamps but are not getting them.

"We've tried very hard to make the ability for people to apply for and receive food stamps faster, easier, and quicker," said New York City Human Resource Administration Commissioner Robert Doar.

Some council members blasted those numbers at a hearing Tuesday.

"I can't think of a lot of things more important than making sure families that are struggling, and particularly kids who are struggling, have food," said Brooklyn Councilman Bill de Blasio.

Critics say enrollment centers should have longer hours and the city should allow those eligible to apply online so they do not have to wait in line for hours.

The city requires applicants get finger printed before they can get assistance to prevent fraud.

"That's been very successful in making the program more credible," said Doar. "It has not stopped more and more New Yorkers from taking advantage of it."

However, critics charge that the fingerprinting actually serves as a deterrent – not against fraud, but instead against working families from getting help.

"That's how you treat criminals, not someone trying to get government assistance," said City Councilman Eric Gioia.

As the economy continues to sour, there's likely to be more people who'll need a help putting food on the table.

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