Thousands expected to fill GRB Convention Center for D-SNAP benefits

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Friday marks the final day Harris County residents can apply for disaster food assistance, and the lines are expected to be long because of it.

There were no shortage of lines at the sites Thursday.

The line wrapped around several blocks near the southwest multi-service center. People stood outside in the heat for hours, waiting to get help with groceries.

"You see the sweat? I'm hot. I wish they would give me some water," Andre Jones said. "I wish I could get a Gatorade. That's why I need food stamps. I need some."

"Since we endured what we went through, eight hours is nothing," Steven Jenkins said.

"This is too much," Yunic Baluch said. "Too much suffering just to get a peanut amount."

For the past two weeks, more than 200,000 Harris County neighbors impacted by Harvey have received the D-SNAP food benefits.

Friday is the final day to apply.

Because of this, four sites will be consolidated to the George R. Brown Convention Center.

"Who is going to go? All these poor people," Baluch said. "Then you have to go and pay at least $15 to $30 for parking. It's not reachable for the common people."

Texas Health and Human Services said the GRB was selected to handle the crowds.

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With the Houston Astros playoff game nearby, officials said they will have extra security.

As for parking, if garages aren't an option, officials stress other options.

"We also encourage them to use park and ride," Texas Health and Human Services Associate Commissioner Wayne Salter said. "To use the shuttles. To use the public transportation. It will be busy with the game here, but we don't feel like anyone will have an obstacle of getting down here."

If you want to go, here's what you need to know.

To be eligible, you need to be a resident of a federal disaster county, you couldn't have received SNAP during the disaster and have had Harvey-related expenses.

If you qualify, you can get two payments ranging from $194 to $1,169 with money to be used on food, excluding tobacco and alcohol.

In addition to an ID, officials say bring patience.

"There probably will be long lines tomorrow, but we have over 900 eligibility workers that are going to be stationed to take care of them as quickly as possible," Salter said.

The GRB site is open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. Friday, and if you don't make it, officials say consider other long-term benefits.

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