Atmore's DHR rep no more?

Published 5:13 am Wednesday, July 11, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
The City of Atmore is in danger of losing the personnel that helps to keep the outreach Food Stamp program afloat for city residents.
According to Atmore mayor Howard Shell, Thomas A. King, director of human resources for the state of Alabama, is currently evaluating staffing for DHR programs in the area.
"The director of the department of human resources is evaluating their staffing in Escambia County," Shell said. "They have come to the opinion that they are overstaffed by one person and if they (DHR) lose that one person we will probably lose that service in Atmore."
State representative Alan Baker wrote a letter to King in response to the threat of losing an employee.
In the letter, Baker states his concern for individuals in the Atmore area who need DHR services.
"I have serious concerns for the needs of my constituency being met in District 66 (Escambia and Baldwin counties) as it relates to maintaining an outreach Food Stamp program that services the largest municipality (Atmore) in my district," Baker said in the letter. "With the agency office in Brewton, this extended program of the Escambia County DHR permits the agency to interview clients in the Atmore area twice a week. This service is most beneficial in helping to meet the needs of the elderly and disabled clients who, otherwise, would incur difficulty and great expense associated with travel from the western-most portion of our county."
Baker states that the program has been in effect for almost two years. Since the program was implemented, there has been an increase in the number of households being served and an increase in the Food Stamp participation rate.
Shell said city officials have worked diligently to provide the service of DHR personnel coming to Atmore instead of forcing Atmore residents to drive to the Brewton office.
"We have worked long and hard to get that service back in Atmore for the benefit of our senior citizens and elderly that have to travel to the department of human resources," Shell said.
Shell said he will send a letter to King from the city to urge keeping the service in Atmore.
"We are sending a letter from the city of Atmore strongly recommending that they keep this person or at least keep this service in the city of Atmore," Shell said.

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