Elderly man dies walking to apply for D-SNAP benefits

EMBED </>More Videos

An elderly man died Wednesday as he approached the line to apply for D-SNAP benefits. (KTRK)

An 85-year-old man died after going into cardiac arrest as he approached the line to apply for D-SNAP benefits, ABC13 has learned.

Harris County Sheriff's Department confirms the man collapsed just before noon as he walked with his granddaughter in Deussen Park to the D-SNAP line.

A Houston Fire Department spokesperson confirmed that the agency transported a patient in cardiac arrest to a local hospital.

The death was a sad ending to an already chaotic day in the opening of the latest D-SNAP application center.

From early this morning, those applying for the short-term food benefits were met with long lines that snarled traffic for miles. Deussen Park only has one main entrance in and out, slowing traffic. Once applicants made it into the park, there were three outdoor pavilions set up where they can apply for benefits. The time standing in line waiting for those benefits ranged from 30 minutes to two hours.

"I'm not really crazy about lines, but I have to do what I have to do," said Johnny Johnston, one of the thousands of applicants.

Because the line was outside with little shade, several people were overcome by the heat and had to be treated for medical treatment by Houston firefighters.

Although most people in line were patient, the long waits did expose a rift between several local elected officials.

"The only person who can send up the sites is the county judge," said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, who had pressed Judge Ed Emmett to open more D-SNAP centers. "We've had engagement," she said while admitting Emmett had not granted her request.

Judge Emmett has an entirely different view about D-SNAP, believing that a lot of the people standing in line are not actually Harvey victims.

"I think we've already pretty much exhausted the whole D-SNAP program," said Emmett. "I'm afraid if you keep opening these, it's become just a government giveaway as opposed to targeting people who really need help. So my recommendation was let's not reopen another one."

While the politicians disagree on the usefulness of D-SNAP, it's important to note that the majority of the people waiting in line have been patient and very complimentary of workers processing the applications. A change in federal law last year means everyone must interview in person, and D-SNAP applications cannot be completed online.

If you need help, the D-SNAP registration is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 12303 Sonnier St.

EMBED More News Videos

Long line of people waiting for DSNAP

In hopes of reducing the lines, METRO is offering shuttles to the D-SNAP sites.

The shuttles will be provided today through Friday, Oct. 20 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

METRO shuttles will depart from three locations:

  • JJ Robertson Family Life Center, 4810 Red Bud St.
  • Acres Homes Multi Service Center, 6719 W. Montgomery Road
  • The Tabernacle of Praise, 8814 Tidwell Road

RELATED: D-SNAP benefits extended for Harris County residents

Report a typo to the ABC13 staff
Related Topics:
trafficroad to recoveryhurricane harveydisaster reliefHarris County
(Copyright ©2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.)