Alameda County officials last week released a report on the local health impacts from declining state health care funding.
“The most important finding is that, even though the economy is recovering, there are many more people in poverty now, including seniors and children,” said Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan.
“The child poverty rates are still climbing. One in six families count on a food bank as their main source of food,” Chan said. “We’re concerned these children, rather than being productive, they’ll be a burden, so we have to watch that.”
The Alameda County Human Impacts Report released June 19 emphasized the need to restore health care programs and to increase enrollment in existing programs.
According to the report:
- 60,000 children live in poverty in Alameda County;
- The top 20% of incomes in the county are five times greater than the bottom 20%;
- More than 44,000 Alameda County residents are employed and yet still live below the federal poverty level;
- One in four families headed by a single adult in Alameda County earns less than the FPL (for a family of three, FPL is $19,530)
- More than half the 50,000 Alameda County children eligible for subsidized early childhood education are not receiving it; and
- The number of people receiving CalFresh in the county has grown from 74,000 in 2008 to 128,000 people now. Another 61,000 people are eligible but have not enrolled.
Chan said improving the number of those receiving CalFresh benefits who are eligible for it could make a big difference to families below federal poverty level.
“It’s a federal program that doesn’t cost the state anything but a little administration,” Chan said, “so we’re hoping the state can improve enrollment there.”
Other states have same-day enrollment to programs similar to CalFresh and there’s no reason, she said, that same ease of enrollment shouldn’t happen in California.