U.S. Senate Ag Committee's farm bill draft omits SNAP changes


The Colorado Department of Human Services was awarded $517,961 on Thursday to improve efficiency in the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, provides monthly benefits to help low-income households purchase food. With this grant, Colorado plans to build an interactive voice response system that SNAP customers can talk to via call or text to provide personalized information and answer general frequently asked questions.

State officials said this will improve customer service by reducing long call-back and hold times, potentially expanding access to SNAP in Colorado.

“This grant will help us better serve Coloradans through the SNAP program," said Karla Maraccini, Colorado’s division director of food and energy assistance. "CDHS is committed to continuous improvement and addressing health holistically. We are focused on a person-first approach to everything we do, and we know hunger and food insecurity can affect anyone.”

The Colorado Department of Human Services has three years to spend the $517,961 and complete its interactive voice response system.

The "SNAP Process and Technology Improvement Grant” was awarded to Colorado by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service program. Additional grants were also given to SNAP departments in Minnesota, Montana, New York and New Hampshire.

Other programs to be funded by the grants include making mobile and online applications easier to use and improving accessibility for digitally underserved populations.

“Process and technology improvements play an important role in making it easier for those who access nutrition assistance programs to get the healthy food they need,” said Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Cindy Long. “Through these grants, we can make further progress in ensuring SNAP is working for the people who rely on its benefits to feed themselves and their families.”

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