CalFresh

ENROLLMENT NOW AVAILABLE IN SANTA MARIA

On October 23, 2010 the California Department of Social Services introduced CalFresh, an inspiring new brand, name and design for the California food assistance program. The goal of the program is to be a stepping stone to an improved quality of life for Californians, by helping the entire state have access to healthy and nutritious foods.

WHAT IS CALFRESH?

CalFresh is a program funded by the USDA to help improve health and nutrition of families with low incomes. CalFresh can stretch food dollars, allowing families and individuals to buy more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and other healthy foods.

Currently, 4.3 million Californians are enrolled in CalFresh. Unfortunately, there are over 3.2 million Californians that are income-eligible in our state and not utilizing the program according to the California Food Policy Advocates. Many people are currently experiencing food insecurity and hunger instead of participating in CalFresh. Furthermore, an additional $6.3 billion of economic activity a year would be generated in California if there were full participation in the program.

WHO CAN RECEIVE CALFRESH?

CalFresh is for all types of people that fit within the eligibility guidelines. CalFresh is not only for mothers or families with children. Fathers, single adults, people with disabilities and seniors are also eligible for CalFresh. If a parent is ineligible, he or she can apply on behalf of his or her children.

CalFresh is an entitlement program. This means that all who apply and qualify as eligible will receive benefits and will not “take someone else’s place.” The USDA sets aside funds for the program, and because there is currently under-utilization of the program, millions of dollars in benefits are being left unused.

Call PHP at 686-0295 to be pre-screened for likely eligibility or use this online tool: Pre-Screening Tool.

HOW DOES CALFRESH WORK?

CalFresh benefits are deposited monthly on an EBT card that works like a debit card with a pin. You can check the balance online or over the phone. Benefits can be used almost anywhere food is sold, such as supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, stores like Target and Costco, some ethnic markets, and some farmer’s markets.

HOW MUCH CAN I RECEIVE IN CALFRESH BENEFITS EACH MONTH?

The amount you receive depends on your income, expenses, and family size. Most households with CalFresh get about $200 each month.

WHAT IS PHP’S INVOLVEMENT WITH CALFRESH?

PHP is a CalFresh contractor leading the way in outreach and application assistance in Santa Barbara County. This means that with the assistance of our subcontractors in Carpinteria, Cuyama, Isla Vista, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, and Santa Maria, we are helping to connect people who might be eligible for the program in the easiest way possible. We can complete the entire CalFresh application over the phone and submit it to the County electronically on your behalf. We then help guide you in the next steps to send your necessary documentation directly to the County without having to physically go into the office. Our over-the-phone program is especially beneficial for those who are disabled, elderly, homebound or lack transportation or childcare and cannot go to the County office to apply during office hours.

Because benefits are administered by the County, only a County eligibility worker can make the final decision if the client qualifies for benefits, and will notify the client of your case status within 30 days.

HOW DO I APPLY?

To enroll in CalFresh, contact PHP’s Family Service Advocate at the Family Resource Center at your child’s school.

If you do not have a child in a local school, contact: Victor Gonzalez, Food Program Coordinator, 805-686-0295 x101 victor@syvphp.org

If you live in or near Santa Maria, contact: Ramiro Díaz, CalFresh Outreach and Enrollment Specialist, 805-588-5019 ramiro@syvphp.org. Address: 506 East Plaza Drive, Suite #5, Santa Maria, CA 93454

You can read more about the application process on the State of California’s website.

PHP’S CALFRESH SUBCONTRACTORS