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More Families Apply For Public Assistance In Northern Virginia

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By Elliott Francis

There's been a significant rise in the number of families applying for public assistance in Northern Virginia. Fairfax County records show a spike in the number of applications for food stamps and other public service programs designed to help those in need.

County officials report food stamp applications nearly doubled from September 2007 to September 2009, increasing from 845 to nearly 16-hundred.

Meanwhile, applications and caseloads for Medicaid were about 33 percent higher in September than in the same month back in 2007. Applications for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a federal program which offers short-term cash payments to low-income parents, saw a 44 percent increase.

Local leaders say numbers are up as residents of a county some regard as otherwise affluent, struggle with the nation's housing crisis and recession.

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