For needy, city offers red tape (Metro NY)

More New Yorkers are struggling, but good luck getting info from the city on how to get help:

When Judith Rubinstein was named NY1’s “New Yorker of the Week” recently, she was immediately deluged with 70 phone messages. They weren’t congratulations — that’s what Facebook is for — but rather viewers calling for the help that her organization Connecting To Advantages provides in accessing public benefits, from tax rebates to food stamps.

The callers ran the gamut, from seniors needing help with utilities to laid-off middle-class workers with mortgages and no way to pay them. “And a 19-year-old with a baby,” Rubinstein recalls, “who said, ‘I went to the food stamp office, and they said they couldn’t help me until I was 22, but I was sure they were wrong.’ And in fact, they were wrong.”… [read more]