The District of Columbia has developed a pilot program to distribute free food stamps to residents of 14 public, senior-citizen housing projects beginning April 1. The stamps will be distributed at the project housing offices between 8:15 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. week-days.

Only residents who have been approved to receive food stamps at a local food stamp certification office may participate. Information on where and how to apply for food stamps is available over the telephone.

The food stamp hotline number is 724-4355.

The distribution service, which was outlined by Department of Human Resources Director Albert P. Russo at his weekly press conference, was recently arranged by DHR with the cooperation of the city Department of Housing and Community Development.

Russo said 950 people living in the 14 projects will be immediately affected by the program. Another 500 residents would be eligible to receive food stamps but have not yet applied, he estimated.

Russo said the food stamp outreach unit will try to locate eligible residents and encourage them to apply for the program.

If the pilot program succeeds, Russo said it may be extended to other public housing projects throughout the city.

The program was developed to make food stamps more accessible and to replace the services lost last year when four local banks and credit unions stopped dispensing food stamps, Russo said.

Several other banks have also threatened to pull out of the program, he said. However, DHR recently asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to waive a restriction prohibiting grocery stores from distributing food stamps. If the request is granted, Russo said local supermarkets may begin dispensing food stamps.

The food stamps will be distributed at the following 14 housing complexes. Northwest: The James Apartments, 1425 N St.; Regency House, 5201 Connecticut Ave.; Harvard Towers, 1845 Harvard St.; Claridge Towers, 1221 M St.; Horizon House, 1150 12th St.; Judiciary House, 461 H St.; Sibley Plaza, 1140 N. Capitol St.; Garfield Terrace, 2301 11th St.; LeDroit, 2125 Fourth St.

Northeast: Fort Lincoln, 2855 Bladensburg Rd. and Edgewood Terrace, 635 Edgewood St.

Southeast: Potomac Gardens, 1225 G St.; Carroll Apartments, 410 M St.; Capitol View Plaza, 5901 E. Capitol St.

District residents may apply for food stamps at these food stamp certification offices.

Northwest: 122 C St. NW; 3308 14th St. NW; 508 Kennedy St. NW; 1221 M St. NW, and 5201 Connecticut Ave. NW.

Northeast: 1326 Florida Ave.; 4313 Nannie Burroughs Ave.; 60 Florida Ave.; 601 Edgewood St., and 433 Ninth St.

Southeast: 1418 Good Hope Rd.; 619 D St.; 940 Valley Ave.; 2818 Alabama Ave., and 5929 E. Capitol St.

All centers except 1221 M St. NW and 5201 Connecticut Ave. NW, are open between 8:15 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The center at 1221 M Street, NW is open between 1 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. Wednesdays only, and the center at 5201 Connecticut Ave. NW is open between 8:15 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. Tuesdays.

At the press conference, Russo also reported that a DHR program, begun in 1977 to counsel and educate youth on drug abuse, now serves 170 young people and their families. As many as 250 persons are expected to be enrolled in the program by June. People 18 years old or younger are referred to the program by the courts, social workers, teachers, policy or parents.