The Secretary of the Department of the Family (DF), Orlando López Belmonte, reiterated the request that Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced made to approve more resources for the Nutritional Assistance (PAN) program for participating families, which it would allow continuing to support the over 187 thousand new families and the over 820 thousand families in the program.
“In just three months, 187 thousand new people have entered the PAN Eligible families affected by the effects of the pandemic. This has raised PAN-assisted families on the island to 824,810. It is a level of need never before faced and that continues to expand, as the effects of the emergency spread, "said the secretary.
As of July 17, 2020, the PAN program supported the feeding of 1,487,492 people on the island. 56.7 percent of these are women and 43.3% are men. The fastest growing line during the months of April to June is that of people between 25 and 44 years of age with 355,147 participants. There are also 354,536 minors assisted by the program through their family nucleus. The main line is made up of people over 60 with 366,923 participants.
For his part, the ADSEF administrator reported that the $ 297 million in resources allocated by Congress through the Cares Act and the Family First Act were in force two months.
"These supports end on July 31. Once the period of validity of these funds ends, the families return to the basic benefit levels. We will evaluate the total disbursement at the end of the month and if there are any surpluses, too It will be issued. No emergency recourse will remain without issuing, "he said.
As a public policy, the secretary added that in addition to these efforts for the approval of additional resources for this fiscal year that are discussed this week in Congress, also they work together with the Puerto Rico office in the Federal Capital and the resident commissioner to promote the approval of legislation presented in order to end the disparity and n the granting of PAN food assistance funds and for Puerto Rico to be included in the regular program known as SNAP.
“The measures presented as the 'Closing the Gap Act of 2020' and the 'Equitable Nutrition Assistance for the Territories Act 'They address the need to equalize the benefits of families living below the poverty level in Puerto Rico to that which they receive in other jurisdictions. We are confident that action will have to be taken to correct this unfair treatment for families living below the poverty level in Puerto Rico, "said the secretary.