Chaos Erupts As Storm Victims Try To Get Food Stamps

INDIANAPOLIS Chaos erupted outside Family and Social Services Administration offices in Indianapolis Friday as storm victims lined up to receive emergency food stamps.

The state has been giving out the stamps for the last six days, but police were called to some offices Friday as people waited in line for hours, Call 6’s Rafael Sanchez reported.

The FSSA office at 4720 Keystone Avenue was overwhelmed by demand, and several people got confrontational. Lines began forming as early as 5 a.m.

“I was seriously affected by the storm. I lost everything, and I’m listening to people in line and they really didn’t even need it,” said Nikki Loyd. “They weren’t even affected by the storm.”

The offices at 3500 Lafayette Road were also swamped by requests for help as people from all over the county waited their turn.

The calm broke when employees told them that they would take applications for people who live in eight zip codes in Lawrence and Warren townships — areas most affected by storm damage.

Tempers flared and workers quickly lost control of the situation. Police were on standby to calm a crowd quickly becoming unruly.

“Today, if you’re not in these two zip codes, sorry about your luck,” said Debra Pankow. “This is just crazy.”

Officials told Sanchez that the confusion was created by a manager’s e-mail about what documentation people had to provide to prove that they qualified for help.

Because of the extent of recent storms, assistance is being doled out on the honor system. People are signing an affidavit that says they are telling the truth. Anyone who would like to report fraud can call 800-446-1993.

Saturday is the last day storm victims can apply for emergency stamps in Marion County. One office will be open — Community Alliance at 8902 E. 38th St. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

UPDATED: 6:32 pm EDT June 20, 2008

Source: The Indy

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