If Congress fails to resolve the government shutdown this month, funding for food stamps and the Women, Infants and Children program in Inyo County will suffer. Senior citizen programs could as well.
Health and Human Services Director Jean Turner told the Inyo Supervisors that 989 households in Inyo would not receive food stamp funding if the government failed to re-open by the end of October. Turner told Sierra Wave that Board Health and Human Services could not cash flow CalFresh (food stamps) nor WIC ( Women, Infants and Children) because those programs have their cash “uploaded” from Sacramento to the client vouchers and/or EBT cards. Turner said on a very technical level, there is no process in place for cash flowing those programs. She said, “Of course, we hope – and are cautiously optimistic — that the federal shutdown will resolve in the upcoming days, so our most needy don’t have
to worry. ” Turner said, ” Whether or not we continue to cash flow other federally funded programs will be discussed further with the Board of Supervisors in November in the terrible event that the federal shutdown should last that long.”
Turner said the Women, Infants and Children program would impact 650 children and pregnant women who would not receive food vouchers. Turner recommended to the Supervisors that Inyo County “help people meet their basic needs.” Turner said that Senior Programs could also be affected. She said an advisory council will meet October 30th at 10 am at Statham Hall in Lone Pine on this. Turner said if the government news is worse, officials want to figure out how to manage senior programs. Turner said, “We want a range of solutions in advance of getting people too scared. We don’t want to wait for a train wreck,” she said. Director Turner also said, that if the shutdown continues, she would want to have a policy discussion with the Board of Supervisors about the need to “temporarily cash flow federally-funded programs that help local folks meet basic needs of food, clothing & shelter. This would include programs like food programs within the Eastern Sierra Area Agency on Aging (senior meals), and CalWORKS, for example.”