Members of the Community Partner Recruitment Initiative from Texas Impact visited Stephenville Monday at an event hosted at First United Methodist Church. The Community Partner Recruitment Initiative is a partnership between the State of Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Hunger Initiative, the Texas Association of Community Health Centers and Texas Impact, a statewide interfaith organization responsible for providing legislative education and advocacy on behalf of the faith community of Texas.

 “There are well over a million Texans who qualify for state benefit programs such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program but are not enrolled. These are our neighbors, and many of them live in our communities and within the shadows of our steeples and businesses," said Scott Atnip, Texas Impact Congregational Outreach director. "Helping these families enroll in these life-saving food and health benefit programs will help hurting Texas families get a leg up as well as infuse cash into our local economies. The State of Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission has created an online system that is more efficient for both the state and the family and has made it easy for churches, faith-based organizations and non-profits to help families apply online. There is certainly a need in Erath County. We hope that the conversation that began on Monday will lead to sustained support for local families in need.”

The approximately 40 people in attendance were encouraged to take part in the Community Partner Program to help enroll families who qualify to sign up online for the benefit programs. 

Representatives from churches and other groups were asked to establish “help centers” to provide computer access and one on one assistance to help families assess benefits. Erath County has been identified as one of the counties with the highest percentage of qualified families not receiving assistance. 

Approximately 38% of families, representing an estimated 2,524 of Erath County residents who qualify for Medicaid are not enrolled, which means that if they go to the Emergency room, our local taxpayer dollars will likely fund their visit.

Erath County is leaving approximately $9.6 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding on the table by not enrolling everyone who is eligible in the program.