To help the challenges faced by low-income San Franciscans, Mayor London N. Breed announced that the City budget for Fiscal Years 2019-20 and 2020-21 will provide $9.8 million over two years in additional income assistance for residents. The County Adult Assistance Programs (CAAP), administered by the San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA), provide monthly cash assistance to approximately 4,700 low-income adults without dependent children, including those experiencing homelessness, adults with disabilities, and those who need help finding employment.
“In a city as expensive as San Francisco, every dollar counts. This increased cash assistance can make the difference between someone having enough to eat or going hungry,” said Mayor Breed. “I’m glad that we’re able to increase this funding so that people can afford everyday things like food, toiletries, and medications, while we also connect them with the services they need, like housing placements, education, and jobs.”
Through CAAP, San Francisco provides locally-funded cash aid and social services to extremely low-income residents with no dependent children. HSA also administers the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program, which is similar to CAAP, but provides state and federally funded cash assistance for adults with dependent children.
The purchasing power of both CalWORKs and CAAP monthly benefits has eroded over time, so the State and San Francisco recently implemented cost-of-living adjustments that increased cash grants by 23% to ensure that participants’ incomes are above 50% of the federal poverty level by 2020-21.
“Supporting our most vulnerable San Franciscans to afford the skyrocketing costs of basic needs like food and housing is simply the right thing to do,” said Trent Rhorer, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency. “Helping people get back on their feet with temporary cash assistance allows us to connect them with a lifetime of better opportunities through education, employment training, and job placement.”
San Francisco’s CAAP ordinance requires that the maximum grant amounts for the CAAP program increase in tandem with any cost of living adjustments implemented in the CalWORKs program. CAAP monthly benefits increased by 10% in April 2019, and will increase by another 13% in October 2019, resulting in a total increase of 23%. More than 11,000 currently enrolled San Franciscans are eligible to receive CAAP and CalWORKs benefit increases once fully implemented in October. The budget contains an additional $9.8 million over two years to fund the increased CAAP grants.
As a result of April’s 10% increase, CAAP currently offers a monthly benefit of up to $520 per month. After the implementation of the October increase, recipients may be eligible for a monthly benefit of up to $588 per month. Benefit amounts are determined by an applicant’s income, housing status, and length of San Francisco residency.
CAAP provides adults seeking employment with training, work experience, education and supportive services with the goal of moving them to self-sufficiency. Through connections to job training with local nonprofit organizations and City Departments, including Public Works, Recreation and Parks, and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, CAAP recipients give back to their community by providing administrative support and helping to keep our public transportation, parks, and streets clean. Individuals who choose the education track are connected with classes to complete their GED or High School Diploma, and City College courses.
In addition to the monthly cash benefits, HSA works with recipients to help them apply to other state and federally funded social safety net programs, including Medi-Cal, CalFresh, and Supplemental Security Income. Recipients of CAAP also receive assistance with housing or shelter placements, access to substance abuse and mental health services, assistance obtaining a free ID or driver’s license, free monthly Muni passes, and free museum passes.
Currently, 16% of CAAP recipients were experiencing homelessness at the time of enrollment in the program. HSA partners closely with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) to provide coordinated services to homeless CAAP clients, whose benefits includes access to shelter and long-term housing.
The budget also funds five new positions to connect clients at the new and expanded HSH Navigation and SAFE (Shelter Access for Everyone) centers to Medi-Cal, CalFresh, and CAAP benefits on-site. These benefits connectors will meet those experiencing homelessness where they are, streamline business processes whenever possible, and provide personalized support to help them navigate application systems.
For more information on CAAP and to apply, visit www.sfhsa.org