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  • Times of San Diego

    CalFresh Numbers Increase as Food Insecurity Remains Concern in SD County

    By Debbie L. Sklar,

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    San Diego County Wednesday reported record enrollment in the CalFresh food supplement program, with more than 398,000 eligible people in the region receiving benefits as of June 1.

    That number is 5.8% more than those receiving the same benefits in 2023. More than 539,000 people have been enrolled at different points over the last year.

    “We’ve seen this trend steadily increase as the need increased,” said Rick Wanne, director of the county’s self-sufficiency services. “Our focus remains on outreach, enrollment and widely sharing information to connect individuals and families with the resources they are eligible to receive.”

    According to Feeding America, around 10% of San Diego County residents feel the impact of food insecurity.

    CalFresh is California’s federal food assistance program, the state’s version of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The number of enrollees in the program has increased by 59% over the past decade.

    CalFresh is intended to increase access to fresh and healthy food, by providing a financial supplement to eligible households.

    Additionally, CalWORKs — a program that provides temporary cash assistance to eligible families with children under 18 years old and helps parents find independence through workforce training — also has posted a significant increase. Enrollment in that program is up to 51,348, a 10% increase from 2023.

    Consumer statistics website WalletHub released a report Tuesday comparing 23 major Metropolitan Statistical Areas across two key metrics related to the Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation.

    Despite the above increase in benefit recipients, San Diego ranked 19th, showing some of the highest rates of inflation in the country.

    “The year-over-year inflation rate sits at 3.3% as of May 2024, which is still above the target rate of 2%,” wrote Adam McCann of WalletHub of the country as a whole. “Various factors, such as the war in Ukraine and labor shortages, drive this higher than average inflation.

    “Despite the country not meeting its target yet, it’s possible the Federal Reserve could even cut interest rates this year rather than raising them further,” he writes.

    — City News Service

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