Strengthening the Safety Net

DATE: July 11, 2000
TO: Board of Supervisors
SUBJECT: Strengthening the Safety Net

SUMMARY:
As we continue our efforts to make welfare a temporary safety net, not a permanent lifestyle, one of the biggest obstacles for CalWORKs recipients seeking employment is a lack of accessible transportation. Today's action will pursue a cooperative program with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), local auto dealers, insurance companies and financial institutions to help get CalWORKs recipients into cars of their own and on the road to self-sufficiency.

Recommendation: 
Chairwoman Jacob and Supervisor Cox:

Direct the CAO to develop a cooperative program with the Department of Motor Vehicles, local auto dealers, insurance companies, financial institutions and CalWORKs recipients that will enable recipients to purchase and maintain cars of their own at an affordable price and to report back to the Board in 45 days.

Fiscal Impact: 
This request will result in no additional costs.

BACKGROUND: 
This Board of Supervisors has been a leader in moving families off of welfare and into the workforce. Since the Board developed the County's welfare reform policies, San Diego County has moved 38,000 families from welfare to work, saving taxpayers nearly $500 million. As we continue our efforts to make welfare a temporary safety net, not a permanent lifestyle, one of the biggest obstacles for welfare recipients seeking, or trying to maintain, employment is the lack of transportation.

Because of this region's fragmented public transportation system, it can take as long as two hours every morning for some parents to get their child to childcare and get to work. For some parents, that means four hours lost from family and work responsibilities everyday riding public transit. This represents both a hardship and a barrier to self-sufficiency.

By working collectively with the DMV, local auto dealers, financial institutions and insurance companies, CalWORKs recipients will be provided the right tools to purchase and maintain their own vehicles. Having a vehicle of their own will allow recipients to better manage their time. In addition, it will help to ensure they get their children to school or childcare and themselves to work in a timely manner. This effort will better ensure recipients do not fall through the safety net and end up back on public assistance.

It is also important to note that this will not be a gift. The intent of this program is to establish tools that meet the qualifications of the applicants, such as low to moderate interest loans, extended payment plans, and/or incentives linked to job retention. Often, many CalWORKs recipients are denied loans because of the stringent guidelines financial institutions adhere to. This program will work to create innovative new tools and methods useful to recipients working to better themselves and their families.

By pursuing a cooperative program with the DMV, local auto dealers, insurance companies, financial institutions and CalWORKs recipients, we can help CalWORKs recipients get into cars at an affordable price and on the road to self-sufficiency. We urge your support.

We urge your support for the recommendations in this Board letter. Respectfully submitted,

Respectfully submitted,

DIANNE JACOB
Chairwoman

GREG COX
Supervisor, First District