County Rolls Back Red-Tape to Help Struggling San Diegans, Distribute More State and Federal Funding as Lawson-Remer Initiative Gains Approval
SAN DIEGO – Following the input from thousands of residents throughout the San Diego region, today County Supervisors voted to approve Supervisor Lawson-Remer’s effort to “Make the County Work for Everyone” by adopting a robust plan to remove barriers imposed under the previous Board that kept eligible residents from enrolling in County assistance programs.
“Too many are stretched thin between paying for food, rent, and other basic necessities, so the plan approved today will help more San Diegans make ends meet,” said Supervisor Lawson-Remer. “We inherited decades of red-tape from the previous Board, that blocked San Diegans in need from accessing assistance, and prevented our County from delivering state and federal funding to our region. Our plan adopted today will help County staff work faster, more effectively, and more inclusively to serve the nearly one million county residents enrolled in self-sufficiency programs.”
The recommendations adopted come from expert analysis and a year-long community consultation process initiated by Lawson-Remer in April 2021. More than 7,000 residents participated in a community survey as part of Lawson-Remer’s “Make the County Work for All” proposal, officially called “Increasing Access and Enrollment in County Self-Sufficiency Programs to Serve Community Members in Need Without Barriers to Entry.” The recommendations focus on reducing red tape and increasing the availability of state and federally funded programs to serve San Diego County residents.
Nearly one out of three people in the San Diego County region are enrolled in public benefits, such as Calfresh, Medi-Cal, CalWORKS, and General Relief. Key recommendations advanced by today’s vote include:
Efficiency: Streamline paperwork for program eligibility and renewal
Speed: Increase “first contact resolution” so more people are helped during their initial contact with the County, and adjust training so staff can resolve issues faster
Access: Add County staff stationed in the community, and worked with trusted community organizations to raise awareness about program eligibility
Customer Service: Create two-way communication channels (text, chat, and video conferencing) so that customers can easily ask County staff questions and check the status of their application
Equity: Increase multilingual outreach materials, hire additional bilingual staff, and procure improved translation services
Consultant recommendations were reviewed and prioritized by a task force of local leaders from the Social Services Advisory Board. “At a moment when the County of San Diego has been identified as having the highest cost of living in the nation, it’s time for us to ensure that the resources and programs available to help people meet their most basic needs actually work for all San Diegans who need them,” said Anahid Brakke, Chair of the County’s Social Services Advisory Board. “We have a tremendous opportunity to improve the health, nutrition security, and well-being of hundreds of thousands of individuals and families by increasing participation in County-administered benefits programs.”