San Diego County is still failing to enroll needy resident in major federal and state safety-net programs, and this is costing the local economy almost $1 billion a year, according to a joint study by the Center on Policy Initiatives and Partners for Progress. The results of the study were presented at a press conference on October 21.
In 2010, San Diego County was cited as having very low food stamp (CalFresh) enrollment — in fact, the worst of the ten largest counties in the state. Now San Diego has moved up to ninth on the list of ten of the largest counties, edging out Santa Clara County by one-tenth of one percentage point. Last year, only 49.5 percent of eligible county food-stamp recipients got their benefits. The national average is 75 percent. The federal government funds more than 99 percent of the California food stamp program (called CalFresh.)
The CalWORKS program provides short-term cash assistance to the needy. Again, San Diego County ranks 9th of the ten most populous counties in the state. The county also lags in MediCal enrollment.
The researchers figure that the failure to provide for adequate safety net costs costs the local region 6,524 jobs and 24 million annually.