COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
Contact: Judy Hammond, Director of Public Affairs, (213) 974-1363
Brian Lew, Assistant Director, (213) 974-1652
Shirley Christensen, DPSS Special Assistant (562) 908-8311
Sept. 23, 2010
County Rolls Out Health and Nutrition Mobile Unit to Help Fight Hunger
Targets Non-Traditional Locations
Los Angeles County will roll out its new 34-foot Health and Nutrition Mobile Unit on Sept. 29, going into the community to assist low-income residents sign up for Food Stamp benefits.
The mobile unit will be at St. Joseph Center in Venice from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., providing residents the opportunity to fill out Food Stamp applications and meet with an eligibility worker the same day.
Residents participating in the event have made appointments through St. Joseph Center.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who is co-sponsoring the event with the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) and St. Joseph Center, said the mobile unit will be an important tool to allow the County to target non-traditional locations to reach residents needing assistance.
“In these tough economic times, we need to take the department’s outreach effort to the next level, and bringing these eligibility and enrollment services directly to the community is the way to do that,” Yaroslavsky said.
The Board of Supervisors in 2004 instructed DPSS to increase efforts to enroll residents in the Food Stamp Program, and the department has implemented a number of programs with community-based organizations to reach those who might qualify for benefits.
“Since the recession began, more than 300,000 individuals have been added to the Food Stamp Program. However, there are many more that are potentially eligible to the program and are not aware that they are eligible,” said DPSS Director Philip Browning.
The Food Stamp Program is 100% federally funded. “Increasing participation in the program will allow us to assist low-income residents, reducing their hunger, insecurity and related health problems,” said Browning.
In addition to being used for Medi-Cal and Food Stamp outreach, the mobile van, which was funded by a grant from the Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission, will serve as an emergency response unit during a natural disaster.
As of August, there were 941,140 residents in Los Angeles County receiving Food Stamps benefits. Many more qualify for the program, but may not know they are eligible, may be reluctant to sign up or may not understand the process.
Residents may apply for Food Stamp benefits at any of the 28 DPSS offices located throughout the County. A list of those offices, as well as eligibility requirements, may be found online at http://dpss.lacounty.gov , or by calling the toll-free Health and Nutrition Hotline at (877) 597-4777.