Jan 7, 2015 8:11 PM by Angela Musallam
Thousands of Northstate residents will lose their food stamp benefits in 2016.
The cuts will affect able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 50 who have no children, and are currently out of a job.
25,000 people currently receive food stamps in Shasta County -- while that could bring a surge of low-income people to homeless shelters and food banks by the end of the year -- it could be good for them in the long run, according to the director of the Good News Rescue Mission.
"That could be an incentive for people to look for work, that could be an incentive for them to enroll in academic programs, job readiness programs..."
That's what lawmakers had in mind when they set a three-month cap for those who were out of a job.
When the recession hit back in 2007, 42 states including California received waivers to extend food stamp benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As unemployment rates fall nationally, the three-month cap is expected to kick in by 2016.
"With close to a million people getting their food stamps cut, I would suspect we'd see a substantial increase maybe close to 200,000 meals in the next year."
While the Good News Rescue Mission is ready to feed more low-income people, Anderson says he might have a solution to get them back on their feet.
"Giving them professional interviews, giving them job readiness skills and the sense of business professionalism and business ethics -- the attire that you wear, and ultimately -- redeveloping the character of the person so they can sustain employment ."
Last year, the mission was able to transition 100 homeless into permanent housing.
Anderson says while the economy isn't up in Redding, the job readiness program aims to make students the cream of the crop.
"You can go to some of our top-level restaurants, you're going to fid our students are there -- you can go to some of your best places of business in town, you're going to find our students there."
According to Shasta County's Department of Health and Human Services, California currently has a waiver extending through December 2015.
They say it's difficult to tell whether California or Shasta County will qualify again for a waiver -- a decision made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Unemployment in Shasta County stood at just over eight-percent in November of 2014 -- that's more than a two-percent increase, compared to the national average of 5.8%.
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