Federal food assistance applications open up for thousands impacted by wildfires

By: - June 7, 2022 4:05 am

The combined Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon fire burns north of Las Vegas, N.M., on April 23. (Photo by Patrick Lohmann / Source New Mexico)

Thousands of New Mexicans impacted by wildfires will have the opportunity to apply for federal emergency food assistance starting today.

People will need to act quickly because the window to apply is only open seven days, due to federal guidelines.

There are several qualifiers to receive one month of aid under the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, including loss of a home or damage to a home, loss of income due to wildfires or unreimbursed expenses related, such as gas used to flee fire danger and lodging.

The aid — between $250 and $1,500 depending on household size and income — was requested by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and approved under the Presidential Disaster Declaration. It is extended to five counties in the state and targeting residents impacted by the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon, Big Hole, Cooks Peak and McBride fires.

The first four days of the application period are organized by name.

If your last name starts with:

A-F, apply Tuesday
G-M, apply Wednesday.
N-S, apply Thursday
T-Z, apply Friday
The remaining three days will be open for anyone, applications can be filed during the weekends.

Anyone with a residence in Colfax, San Miguel and Mora counties can apply.

Only people who live in the 87002 ZIP code in Valencia county can apply. This includes Belen, Los Chavez, Rio Communities and Jarales.

Aid for Lincoln county residents is also targeted by ZIP code. Applications will be accepted only for people who live in the 88345 ZIP, which covers Ruidoso, and the 88312 ZIP that includes Alto, N.M.

Under these guidelines, the food assistance aid could reach more than 27,000 residents, according to the state’s Human Services Department.

Distribution of services will be similar to the SNAP program. People will get a debit card — in this case, the same day they apply — preloaded with money that can be used at all grocery stores, service stations that sell shelf stable food, and certain online retailers such as Amazon.

People do not need to qualify for SNAP or already receive the benefit in order to get this round of emergency relief.

The state is requesting residents apply in person at any HSD Income Support Division office statewide. Additional locations will also be set up in Las Vegas, Taos, Ruidoso and Albuquerque.

Elderly or disabled residents can apply over the phone and document their case by calling 1-800-283-4465.

The last day to apply is June 13.

Residents can apply for food aid and receive their D-SNAP card the same day at the following locations.

John Marshall Health and Human Services Center: 1500 Walter, SE, Albuquerque, N.M., 87106

New Mexico Highlands University, Student Union Building, Third Floor: 800 National Ave. Las Vegas, NM 87701

Juan Gonzales Agricultural Center: 202 Chamisa Rd. Taos, NM 87571

Eastern New Mexico University: 709 Mechem Drive, Ruidoso, NM 88345 (closed Sunday)

All HSD Income Support Division offices

Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the weekends.
Requirement: Proof of identification
Aid amount: between $250–$1,500 depending on income and household size

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Shaun Griswold
Shaun Griswold

Shaun Griswold is a journalist in Albuquerque. He is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, and his ancestry also includes Jemez and Zuni on the maternal side of his family. He grew up in Albuquerque and Gallup. He brings a decade of print and broadcast news experience. Most recently he covered Indigenous affairs with New Mexico In Depth. Shaun reports on issues important to Native Americans in urban and tribal communities throughout the state, including education and child welfare.