BRAWLEY — In a historic move, Brawley hosted the Imperial County Board of Supervisors Tuesday evening for their first ever meeting outside their own BOS chambers. The meeting, held at Brawley City Council Chambers, convened at 6 p.m. to accommodate workers who normally would not be able to attend the normal early morning 8:30 a.m. meetings.
Michael Kelley, District 3 representative, stated that this move “shows unity in the Valley,” and affirmed that he was pleased to be “taking the show on the road.”
John Renison, District 1, stated that it was a “pleasure to be in Brawley,” asserting that the town was a “guinea pig” for transitional meetings, “but a great way to start.”
Upon being in Brawley, the Board received a presentation of services provided specifically to the community of Brawley, along with the North End from Behavioral Health Services.
Also, Social Services Director, Peggy Price, reported to the Board on their work. Price explained to the board and the packed room the different functions of Public Assistance, Medi-Cal, In-Home Supportive Services, Protective Services, and Child Welfare Services.
The department reported that currently, there are 4,700 cases countywide of people using Public Assistance. That totals to 12,000 individuals with public assistance in the Imperial County, said Price.
Public Assistance through the department includes programs such as CalWORKs, CalFresh, and General Relief to those in need.
CalFresh is California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as SNAP), which is a federal program that provides food assistance to low income families. In our county, Price reported that there are a total of 16,000 cases on this program, equaling over 41,000 individuals on use.
In addition, almost one third of the Imperial Valley’s residents are recipients of California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal.
“This has expanded with the help of the Affordable Care Act. Before, we use to see the numbers fluctuate. As times got better, our numbers went down. Now, with the Affordable Care Act, the numbers are rising dramatically,” said Price.
In the Valley, there are a reported 31,000 Medi-Cal family cases, which translates to over 51,000 individuals receiving this insurance program.
Charlie Cruz of the Department of Social Services added, “We do not perceive these numbers to be going down at all.”
The department provides In-Home Supportive Services to North County residents, of whom the majority recipients are citizens over 60 yrs. old, Cruz reported. There are currently 5,000 individuals who are using Medi-Cal, and are also taking this aid. Through this service, recipients receive personal care and other related in-home assistance.
Supervisor Renison begged the question to Price and Cruz, “In a perfect world, could they (residents of Brawley), walk in and get immediate help?” Cruz responded by affirming that the goal of the Department of Social Services is to help in every way possible. Though it may not be exactly perfect right away, “We try to help them walk away with something in their hand,” said Cruz.
The department also gave an update on the Protective Services they provide to Brawley, stating that they have an abuse hotline for adults, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The board also recognized in a special presentation the 2015 Brawley Wrestling CIF Champions, who have accumulated 15 straight CIF titles. The board also honored the National Correctional Officers and Employees Week where Sheriff Loera and his officers stood for the department.