By County News Center
San Diego, CA–The County Health and Human Services Agency’s Centre City Family Resource Center will become one of the busiest locations where residents can get access to food, medical, and other assistance programs and services.
With an overhaul born of COVID-19 necessity, the Family Resource Center at 1255 Imperial Ave. has been remodeled to include four walk-up windows where people can apply for and find out if they qualify for Self-Sufficiency Services such as CalFresh (food stamps), Medi-Cal and General Relief programs.
These services are now available in a one-stop storefront, in what was formerly an outside eating area at the Metropolitan Transit System building. Prior to the remodel, customers had to go into the building, be screened by security by going through a metal detector, and take the elevator to the fifth floor where the rest of the Family Resource Center was located.
“With these improvements, the County is providing easier access and faster service to our customers, most of whom are vulnerable residents without a stable place to live and who are struggling with a mental illness and/or substance use issues,” said Self-Sufficiency Services Director Rick Wanne.
Since the storefront opened about 18 months ago, it has received over 110,000 customer visits, averaging approximately 250 per day with a typical wait time of fewer than 15 minutes. Additionally, the Family Resource Center storefront has issued more than 24,000 electronic benefit transfer or EBT cards.
Quickly established 18 months ago to provide in-person services to the public during COVID-19, this new way of providing walk-up, triage, and quick transaction services have proven so successful that the County is exploring plans to implement this model at the other 11 Family Resource Centers.
“We expect this service delivery model to effectively support our customers at all locations moving forward,” said Wanne.
Currently, there are 367,000 San Diegans receiving CalFresh benefits, 42,000 on CalWorks, 967,000 getting Medi-Cal, and 3,000 receiving General Relief assistance.
Residents can apply for Self-Sufficiency programs online, at a County Family Resource Center, or via the Customer Service Call Center at (866) 262-9881.