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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 - 8:08am

Stimulus Serves More Than Expected

A state official says more Georgians than originally projected were able to get a financial boost through a federal stimulus program.

The Fresh Start program sent money to help pay the monthly mortgage or rent, or utility bills, for qualified households.

The Department of Human Services administered the program, which began only months ago. But DHS commissioner BJ Walker says criticism that this, or other programs, took too long to help people is not fair.

The department’s chief says the state originally got $10 million, but was able to apply-for--and got--much more:

“I’m now here to tell you we’ve spent twice $10 million dollars. So not only is the criticism unwarranted I think, but we just had the opportunity to get farther down the runway."

Walker credits the state’s partnership with the non-profit United Way for helping to speed the process of getting money to the people in need.

Fresh Start and other programs are no longer. The federal stimulus ended September 30th.

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