The Human Services Agency of Ventura County has a goal of preventing homelessness and hunger. To make this happen, the agency offers food, emergency rental assistance, transitional housing, and self-sufficiency. They oversee all of that, and more, including several different government benefit programs such as CalFresh. The main programs from HSA are below.
Homeless assistance, including temporary housing and funds to pay rent, is available from Ventura Human Services Agency as part of the Homeless Services Program. This assists currently homeless families and individuals by providing referrals to partner agencies. Many of groups in the county specialize in health care, temporary housing, drug and alcohol abuse treatment, mental health services, and any other related issues that accompany homelessness. Assisting the recently evicted or those seeking housing in the region with securing an affordable, permanent home is a priority.
The county will consider a person to be homeless if he or she sleeps in unsafe or inhumane conditions, in a shelter, in a different place every night, a motel, or a transitional housing center. Oftentimes lack of transportation goes hand-in-hand with this challenge, so social workers from HAS will often travel to where the clients are to provide services. For more information on housing programs, call 805-385-1800.
Those residents of the county that may be facing eviction from rental housing, or who have been evicted and are currently homeless, can receive financial assistance from the Ventura County Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. Relying on funding from the Federal Emergency Solutions Grant Program (ESG), HPRP provides comprehensive housing assistance that can include grants to pay security deposits; utility payments; short-term rental payments; free credit counseling; utility deposits; and there may even be funds for moving and storage costs.
Additionally, case managers from County of Ventura Human Services Agency work closely with clients to both develop and implement service plans that can include access to additional public benefits. The overall goal of HAS and the government funded program is to help clients avoid becoming homeless again.
RAIN Transitional Living Center provides intensive case management as well as temporary housing for families and individuals working toward becoming self-sufficient. In addition to providing the homeless from the county with needed shelter, RAIN services also include counseling, free nutritious meals, child care if needed and transportation to work or to job interviews.
In order to use the transitional centers, residents need to participate in a savings program to build funds for paying the rent and deposits on permanent housing. Meanwhile, transitional housing is available to provide people time to do that. Telephone - 805-383-7505.
Shelters in Ventura County are funded largely by donations and are for the most part operated by volunteers. They include County Homeless Services (phone 805-385-1800), Catholic Charities-Oxnard (dial 805-486-2900) as well as Project Understanding-Ventura (dial 805-652-1326).
Please note that all persons (adults, children, seniors, etc.) must have proof of a TB test and meet other conditions before becoming residents of a shelter. VC Health Care Agency Urgent Care Clinics can offer immunizations and some basic medical services to the homeless. Some sites include West Ventura Urgent Care, Academic Family Medicine Center Urgent Care, Conejo Valley Urgent Care, Magnolia Urgent Care, Fillmore Urgent Care, and many others.
General Relief program is in place to provide various forms of financial aid to indigent adults who are legal residents of Ventura County and have no other means of support. Mandated by the state of California and funded through the county, and administered locally by HSA, the program is open to eligible adults under the age of 64 who have no dependent children. Once determined to be eligible, based on certain criteria relating to work ability and/or physical or mental disability, clients of General Relief may receive assistance with basic living needs, if all other sources have been exhausted.
Additionally, the County of Ventura Human Services Agency program may provide direct payments to utility companies or landlords for rent or utility bills. This will have a maximum of a few hundred dollars per month. Such publicly funded payments are viewed as loans to the resident, which must be repaid to the county.
Based on individual circumstances, recipients of any form of loan or financial support may be required to engage in certain activities in order to continue with the program. For example, those individuals with long-term disabilities must apply for Social Security Income (SSI). If approved for SSI, repayment for the General Relief loan from the county may be deducted from the initial SSI payment.
Cash assistance is offered from the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids, or CalWORKS. It offers grants to families with children, combined with job-search support for adults. For those that qualify, adults may be required to participate in welfare-to-work activities, such as attending job training, actively seeking a job, working, or furthering their education. The goal is self-sufficiency.
County of Ventura Human Services Agency and CalWORKs has employment specialists on staff to help with the development of a wide variety of career goals. CalWORKS also provides free referrals to quality day care programs so that parents can get to their training or to work. Participants are automatically eligible for Medi-Cal and will also general qualify for CalFresh food benefits.
VCHSA's Job and Career Centers act as a direct link between the unemployed, job seekers of all ages and local resources that help in seeking and obtaining employment. Specialists are available to assist in offering advice and creating employment action plans. Information on job training and education is also available from the centers.
As part of the JCC services, clients are encouraged to take advantage of free services and opportunities, including the use of public computers, printers, and fax machines. In addition, they can get information on a variety of careers and also access electronic job listings. The Centers also present workshops to provide support during the employment search. Low-cost or free training programs are available as well on topics such as On-the-Job Training, English as a Second Language, Short-Term Entry-Level Courses, Certificate Programs, Including GED and more.
Medi-Cal is the state of California's public health insurance program that provides needed medical care for seniors, low-income individuals, families with children, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, and those suffering from specific diseases. There is also public health care for the uninsured.
The Food Stamps Program is known as CalFresh. The purpose of the government benefit program is to assist low-income households with purchasing nutritious groceries or foods. Rather than providing cash assistance, CalFresh benefits are in the form of a voucher or maybe an electronic benefit transfer card. All funding available in Ventura County California is designated for the purchase of nutritious food, and the card is accepted at most grocery stores.
The disabled and seniors may benefit from HSA In-Home Supportive Services. This ensures that eligible low-income seniors and people with disabilities (including children) avoid the transition to a nursing home or residential care facilities. It works to help them to remain living in their home. IHSS provides financial help with paying for needed support services, such as non-medical personal care, light domestic help, and assistance with traveling to and from medical appointments.
For more information on government benefits or programs, the County of Ventura Human Services Agency is located at 800 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura, CA 93009
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