General Assistance - Public Assistance Of Last Resort
By Dave Rosenberg Yolo County Supervisor, 4th District
Most everyone is familiar with the term "General Assistance", but what does it really mean?
General assistance is public aid of last resort. It is a welfare benefit required by State law, and must be established and paid out of County funds. General assistance provides limited and temporary relief for poor and needy residents of a county who do not qualify for any other cash assistance. The levels and amounts of general assistance vary from county to county in California.
In Yolo County, only a few hundred people require general assistance at any given time, but for those folks, it's critically important. The amount of assistance which is provided is low, but it is of some help to people with no other means. To be eligible for general assistance, a person must have countable income of less than $290 for one person or $430 for two people, and countable property of less than $500, and one car with a value less than $1,500.
General assistance benefits are paid through a combination of cash and vouchers made out to landlords and utility companies for verified rent and utility expenses. Homeless clients with no verified rent and utilities receive only the general assistance food allowance as their grant (but are eligible to stay in the county's homeless shelter).
The monthly amounts of general assistance in Yolo County at the present time are $136 (by voucher) for a one person household or $193 (by voucher) for a two person household for rent; $26 (by voucher) for a one person household or $33 (by voucher) for a two person household for utilities; and $54 (in cash) for one person or $110 (in cash) for two persons for food. The food allowance is reduced by $20 per month for homeless clients staying at the general assistance shelter.
The county's homeless shelter for general assistance recipients is located at the Dana Motel complex at 621 East Street, in Woodland. People needing the shelter may check in between the ours of 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. any day. The shelter provides bunks as well as towels, bedding, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, toilet paper, storage boxes, plastic bags and laundry facilities. Breakfast is served every morning from 7:00 to 7:30 a.m. dinner is available at the Wayfarer center, 201 Fourth Street, in Woodland, at 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and 3:00 p.m. on weekends.
To be eligible to continue receiving general assistance benefits, recipients between the ages of 18 and 64 who do not have a doctor's statement verifying that they are disabled, will be required to participate each month in a work program. Applicants and recipients may also be required to be screened for possible drug and alcohol problems, and if the results are positive, may be required to participate in a drug and alcohol treatment program as a condition of continued assistance.
If you need general assistance or know of someone who needs this help, you can call the Yolo County Department of Social Services at (530) 661-2750 or (916) 375-6200.