Social services say they are safe for now

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

Despite the ongoing partial shutdown of the federal government, local social services supported by federal programs continue.

Officials with social service agencies in both Tuolumne and Calaveras counties say it's business as usual so far in terms of funding and operations. Numerous programs in both counties are federally funded, including the Women, Infants and Children food program, CalFresh (formerly food stamps), the CalWORKS welfare program, Head Start preschool and more.

"At this point, there's nothing immediate," Ann Connelly, director of social services for Tuolumne County, said of funding issues related to the shutdown. "Right now, there's sufficient funding and we will continue to work with our partners."

As of this morning, leaders in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives were still working on a possible agreement to prevent a national financial default and reopen the government after a two-week partial shutdown.

The government shutdown has furloughed 350,000 federal workers, impeded various government services, put continued operations of the federal courts in doubt and stopped the IRS from processing tax refunds. It has also closed federally managed parks like Yosemite National Park and New Melones Reservoir, as well as campgrounds and other facilities in the Stanislaus National Forest.

According to Connelly, approximately 4,758 local residents receive a combined $770,000 a month in CalFresh benefits. About 1,200 people receive benefits through the CalWORKS program, she said.

Connelly described the current situation as a "wait and see," with the funding intact but hope that the issues between Democrats and Republicans in Washington will be resolved before such issues could emerge.

"Our hope is that they resolve this issue so there wouldn't be an impact," she said.

The message was the same in Calaveras County, where Calaveras County Works and Human Services Director Mary Sawicki said it's been "quiet" in terms of any word of immediate changes to federal funding. Sawicki also described the current situation as a "wait and see."

"Thank goodness we're OK," she said.

The shutdown has had far-reaching consequences for some but minimal impact on others. Mail is being delivered. Social Security and Medicare benefits continue to flow. But the shutdown has been particularly harsh on those who rely on tourism like the community of Groveland which gets much of its business from travelers heading to Yosemite.

11908316
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Friday August 26, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Sheriff’s Office responds to critical report

08/22/2016

The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office has responded to a grand jury report ... more

Nursed back to health, hawk flies free

08/19/2016

Sonora resident Laura Reid was driving on Tuolumne Road when she saw ... more

Woman dies of injuries in Highway 120 accident

08/24/2016

The woman who spent Monday night pinned in an SUV after an ... more

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt to remain in prison

08/23/2016

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt won’t be getting out of prison anytime soon. ... more

Three rescued from wreck near Yosemite

08/23/2016

Three German tourists were rescued Tuesday from the scene of a crash ... more