Food Stamps Computer Fails

by Gretchen Graves
     In the month of September, 37,929 clients were serviced at the four food stamp centers scattered throughout Cincinnati. Of the 37,929 clients serviced, 35,219 received their benefits in the first 11 days of the month. The food stamp centers are open from about 7:15 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. each day Monday-Friday.
     In the month of October , however, systems failed at two of the four sites in Cincinnati area. The sites effected were Over-the-Rhine and Northside. Due to a computer glitch, these communities along with the residents were impacted tremendously. Many clients were forced to go without food or scurry to the other locations in Lockland and Walnut Hills.
     The system which first failed the last half of the day on Thursday., October 5 at about 1:00 p.m. was not up and running on the October 11 at about 2:00 p.m. This was a relief not only to the people residing in Northside, but to everyone receiving food stamps.
     During the downtime, which was caused locally in the database, centers which were open as usual were swamped with clients trying to get their stamps before the weekend. Not all of the clients were successful. More than a few were to go to social service agencies in their area. On at least one of those days, the Walnut Hills site serviced 6,666 clients in one day causing them to extend their day by a half hour.
According to an employee of the Walnut Hills location, this is the first time the system has been in a long time. But she did recall a time in February 1992 when the CRIS-E system failed throughout the entire state of Ohio.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1996 Issue 13