Legislation introduced Wednesday by a San Diego lawmaker is aimed at protecting low-income families and the elderly and disabled against increased hunger and hardship during declared states of emergencies.
“California’s low-income, seniors and disabled communities are among our most vulnerable,” said Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego.
“During states of emergency, their susceptibility to hunger and hardship is increased yet access to the public assistance programs they rely upon is often decreased or threatened,” he said. “With this bill, we can ensure those who need it most can still access these government resources during and after disasters occur.”
Gloria said the safeguards would provide additional stability and peace-of-mind during “times of crisis.”
The bill would:
- Allow CalWorks recipients to receive benefits if they are unable to work due to a natural disaster.
- Authorize additional state budget resources to be triggered for disaster assistance services for recipients of food assistance programs, should the governor declare a state of emergency.
- Require county Health and Human Services departments to adopt planning strategies to identify and inform CalWorks recipients of temporary housing options and benefits during times of natural disasters and execute the plans during declared states of emergency.
- And require state and county agencies to support remote application and issuance of disaster benefits.
Gloria said his legislation is backed by the California Association of Food Banks, the Western Center on Law and Poverty and the San Diego Food Bank.