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San Diego County government appears to operate “under the radar.” How else can we explain why wanton disregard for the suffering of poor families creates barely a ripple?

San Diego County has the distinction of being the very worst county in the nation in terms of percentage of low-income households approved for food stamps. This is not due to lack of need.

The Department of Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) prefers to spend its money on tracking down fraud (fingerprinting and home investigations) in spite of ample evidence that there is very little fraud in this program, and the only impact of these activities is that families choose to go hungry rather than struggle through a tangled, humiliating process.

On top of this dismal record, HHSA recently failed to apply for millions of dollars in federal stimulus money designed to create jobs which could include staff to assist in reducing barriers to food stamp access. The excuse was that 20 percent matching funds were required (much of which could have been met through in-kind services) and that the guidelines were “unclear.”

Somehow, 47 of the other 58 California counties were able to figure it out and avail themselves of these precious funds.

JOAN DAHLIN, La Jolla

You can read more about San Diego’s social welfare programs and denial rates in VOSD’s special report “Out of Reach”.

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