San Diego public assistance.

The government of San Diego California offers residents several public assistance and social service programs. Resources can include health care, insurance for low income and uninsured, emergency cash assistance, and other aid. Many of the services are administered and available from Family Resource Centers that operate across San Diego County.

The San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) also administers several public assistance programs that help lower income families and individuals through the centers. While more information is below, they include Medi-Cal, General Relief, County Medical Services (CMS), CalFresh/SNAP, CalWORKs, and the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI).

Cash assistance and general relief – The county can provide temporary cash assistance and grants for qualified residents who are out of options and who have no other means of financial support or income. Money can be used to pay rent, housing, food, and other bills. Any public assistance received by a family must be repaid to the county. Keep in mind that if the recipient completes hours of required Job Training, then those hours of training may in fact count toward repayment of the debt to the county of San Diego. For more information or to apply call 866-262-9881, or stop by a center below.

  • Family Resource Center - El Cajon, 220 S. 1st Street, El Cajon, California 92019
  • Metro Family Resource Center, 1130 10th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Family Resource Center - North Coastal, 1315 Union Plaza Court, Oceanside, CA 92054
  • South Region Center, 690 Oxford Street, Chula Vista, California 91911
  • Southeast Family Resource Center, 4588 Market Street, San Diego, CA 92102
  • Family Resource Center - Lemon Grove, 7065 Broadway, Lemon Grove, California 91945




Another cash assistance program offered in San Diego is CalWORKs. This program was designed to transition struggling, unemployed, and poor people from welfare to work. Most of the grant based aid is for very low income residents or those in poverty.

The welfare type solution provides temporary cash and public assistance to eligible families with minor children. Immigrants can also apply for CalWorks in San Diego County. The aid is intended to move San Diego families with children from dependency to self-sufficiency through employment and job training, while at the same time providing short term cash assistance for paying bills. Find additional welfare cash assistance programs that may be able to assist.





Full participation in the Welfare-to-Work (WTW) job and cash program is required for all employable recipients. In addition to cash for paying bills and basic expenses, the primary goal is to assist parents to obtain employment through job search activities as well as job readiness and other employment-directed activities. Additional supportive and social services, such as childcare, work related expenses, and transportation payments are also available to those who participate in the San Diego Welfare-to-Work service.

Uninsured medical care can be administered from San Diego County Medical Services. This is a health care program that funds medical care and pays the bills for uninsured indigent and working poor adult San Diego county residents. This is not a health insurance program, however it does pay for services and medical bills through a network of hospitals, community health centers, clinics, and private physicians.

Referrals and information on social services and public assistance is provided from the ACCESS Customer Service Center. Dial 866-262-9881. This service is an extension of the County of San Diego Family Resource Centers (FRCs). The free ACCESS referral lines serve residents, providers, families and other non-profit and government agencies with questions or needs related to the various Family Resource Centers. Get information on assistance programs and social services, including how to get case management services and public aid.

San Diego assistance for paying medical bills is offered by Coverage Initiative. This financial program pays for medical care and their bills for uninsured adult county residents. A total of 16 community health centers and clinics, along with hospitals and community physicians throughout San Diego County, work with Coverage Initiative to provide health care services to the low income. A number of criteria need to be met by applicants.




Healthy San Diego can inform residents about their health care choices. Social workers and case managers can provide information and services to thousands of people each month who apply for or renew their benefits. The best place to turn to for information and additional help is your local Family Resource Center.

The San Diego Health and Human Services Agency cam be reached at 866-262-9881. Call them for information on these public assistance programs and other resources they can provide.


By Jon McNamara

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