With applications for CalFresh and the California Food Assistance Program rising as the effects of the pandemic grow year over year for those with low or fixed incomes, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors heard the pleas of the community – we need to address food insecurity in our County. In response, the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance
(DHA) has launched a Food Insecurity Pilot Program – aimed at lessening the impact the pandemic has had on individuals struggling to feed themselves and their families.
The pilot program includes increased funding to the food bank, providing food delivery services and working with local non-profit partners to ensure the services are reaching those that need them most. The BOS approved $3,859,993 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Revenue Replacement Funds and $250,000 in APRA funding to implement a County Food Insecurity Pilot Program.
The County received proposals directly from the community to address food insecurity that mirrored the restaurant meals program administered during the pandemic, which saw an increase in needed food supports.
DHA is contracting with Family Meals Sacramento (FMS) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for an initial pilot program of one-year to ensure individuals and families are receiving the food services. DHA chose FMS and NAACP for their experience and their ability to expedite restaurant meal services to families experiencing the greatest need. Funding allocations:
- FMS (Restaurant Meal Service): $1.25 million
- NAACP (Restaurant Meal Service): $2.5 Million
- NAACP (Outreach on Food Insecurity): $250,000
- County Administrative Costs: $109,993
Total Program Allocation: $4,109,993
While ARPA funds can be used to fund this program directly, DHA determined there would be significant challenges in allocating ARPA funds to restaurant meal services if the partners were unable to meet the ARPA compliance and reporting guidelines – which are fairly strict. It was also determined the program would become an administrative burden and create an audit risk if partners were unable to comply with program rules, thus creating further hardship on restaurants, the community and the County.
Administering the ARPA Food Insecurity Pilot would also require extensive training for all partners and restaurants, increasing the costs of County administrative support significantly. Thus, DHA determined that using General Fund in lieu of ARPA funding for this program would allow for a more effective and streamlined approach to the implementation of the program. However, in order to still fully utilize the ARPA funds available, but allow for more flexibility and versatility in the program, DHA requested the funds come in the form of revenue replacement to cover the full program costs.
In addition to the information provided above, in the coming months, DHA will be seeking approval from the BOS for two additional contracts the food bank and meal delivery services. The funding for these two contracts has already been approved by the Board, adding an additional $2 million to address food insecurity in the County.