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ONTARIO – Concerns over COVID-19 have a majority of the Department of Human Services staff working from home. But the agency continues to assist clients by phone, online and even in person at its building, 186 East Lane, Ontario.
“We are trying to remove any barriers a person may encounter when trying to reach us during this difficult time and encouraged self isolation,” Yvette Sather, administrative specialist for the state agency, wrote in a statement.
Sather said the online application is for SNAP, or food assistance benefits. But when DHS calls clients to conduct an interview, the client can request to apply for additional programs at that time. The eligibility worker will ask the customer the additional questions that are required for the additional program.
The agency is already taking many calls from customers who have been laid off because of the virus.
Sather said there are many ways clients can find assistance without leaving home.
Where can I find the application for SNAP (food benefits), TANF (Cash Assistance for Families), and ERDC (Day Care Assistance)?
Applications are available at this link: www.oregon.gov. You can download and print an application in several languages at this link. You can also find applications by the printer inside the agency.
How can I return an application or other paperwork to DHS?
You have several options. You can fill out and submit applications online and a DHS staff member will contact you by phone. You can take a picture or scan the document and email it to: [email protected]. You can also fax your documents to 541-889-2694.
What number can I call for assistance, or to report a change in my case file?
You can call 541-889-9141. The agency can do eligibility work for SNAP, TANF, Medical and other programs over the phone.
Can I go to the DHS office in person?
Yes, the Ontario office is open, but the agency is encouraging clients to reach out in other ways to avoid person-to-person contact. The agency has put social distancing into practice at its 186 East Lane location. You will find stations set up so that you can connect with a DHS staff member either over the phone or Skype. Staff are also disinfecting all equipment and high touch areas.
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