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FNS Awards $1,649,845 to New York City Human Resources Administration to Make Technology-Centered Improvements in SNAP Customer Service

Press Release
Contact: FNS Press Team

BOSTON, September 22, 2022 – USDA Food and Nutrition Service today awarded the New York City Human Resources Administration a $1,649,845 grant to support its efforts to enhance efficiency and access in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP.

The multi-year SNAP Process and Technology Improvement Grant seeks to improve the experience of SNAP participants by enabling grantees to update inefficient or ineffective processes and use technology to streamline operations and provide better customer service.

“Process and technology improvements play an important role in making it easier for those who access nutrition assistance programs to get the healthy food they need,” said FNS Administrator Cindy Long. “Through these grants, we can make further progress in ensuring SNAP is working for the people who rely on its benefits to feed themselves and their families.”

The New York City Human Resources Administration will develop and deploy a new web “Virtual Assistant” and live agent chat to assist customers on web and mobile SNAP applications. The project will improve customer service by reducing long call wait times and will improve staff efficiency.

“These grants are one of the many ways USDA is working with states and partners to improve the customer experience in accessing nutrition assistance programs” said Christine Ruggieri, Acting Northeast Regional Administrator for FNS.

Additional grants are being awarded to:

  • Dakota County (MN) Department of Employment and Economic Assistance;
  • Montana Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Colorado Department of Human Services; and
  • New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

Each awardee will use grant funds to make technological improvements such as making mobile and online applications easier to use, implementing live call centers with Interactive Voice Response, or improving accessibility for digitally underserved populations. The grantees will have three years to spend funds and complete their projects.

These grants build on the Administration’s commitment to modernizing programs, reducing administrative burdens, and piloting new online tools and technologies that can provide a simple, seamless, and secure customer experience.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) leverages its 15 nutrition assistance programs to ensure that children, low-income individuals, and families have opportunities for a better future through equitable access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food, while building a more resilient food system. Under the leadership of Secretary Tom Vilsack, FNS is fighting to end food and nutrition insecurity for all through programs such as SNAP, school meals, and WIC. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To learn more, visit www.fns.usda.gov and follow @USDANutrition.

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09/22/2022