Fresnoland newsletter: social services, evictions resume



West Fresno residents gather outside the Department of Social Services building in West Fresno to protest the move of service resources to the old Pelco facility in Clovis on Wednesday, September 15, 2021.

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Hello, it’s Dympna Ugwu-Oju and Danielle Bergstrom here.

First, don’t miss our colleague Cassandra Garibay’s report on ending the moratorium on state evictions and what it means for tenants in the San Joaquin Valley.

Tenants in the City of Fresno are still immune to eviction for non-payment of rent, as city leaders have chosen to maintain local protections.

A few weeks ago, we reported on concerns expressed by several West Fresno residents about the inaccessibility of social services at the West Fresno Regional Center in Fresno County on California Avenue. (Listen to a recap of the situation on this week’s Valley edition, on KVPR.)

What was once billed as a ‘one-stop-shop’ has become practically an information kiosk, as residents seeking to connect with food or benefits have been sent to Clovis, where the county recently consolidated its employees of the social services.

Our report revealed that county officials moved eligible workers from the West Fresno regional center to Clovis – a type of key employee who helps people navigate paperwork and bureaucracy.

Residents of West Fresno are less likely to own a car than other residents of Fresno County. A 10 mile trip to Clovis may seem ordinary, but without a car it can turn into a full day’s ordeal.

“I feel for people who don’t even have a car to borrow, especially if they have family,” said Avis Braggs, a social services recipient, who previously only walked a few blocks to meet her. social worker.

After our reporting and a protest from residents of West Fresno, county officials backed down and restored prior access to eligible workers and employment specialists for the community.

According to Jean Rousseau, Administrative Director of Fresno County, the West Fresno Regional Center is once again a full-service one-stop-shop, where clients can get all DSS services, including meeting and consulting with eligibility workers and employment specialists.

Rousseau made the announcement during an interview with the editorial board of The Fresno Bee on September 23. [WFRC] is now designed to be a one stop shop [center], to allow people to do whatever they need there, ”said Rousseau.

Fresno County District 1 Supervisor Brian Pacheco, who represents the West Fresno community, told The Bee opinion editor that “it shouldn’t be necessary for anyone from West Fresno to go upstairs. on a bus and go to Clovis for services ”.

“You should be able to get everything you need in West Fresno.”

What does it mean?

  • Clients no longer have to travel to Clovis for services, including getting help filling out forms to become eligible for various forms of social services, including SNAP and CalWorks. These services, once again, will be directed to the West Fresno Regional Center.

  • Residents can meet eligible workers as well as employment specialists at the West Fresno site.

  • Residents who choose to use a self-service computer at the center will receive assistance from WFRC staff.

This week in local town halls

(Be sure to watch live tweets from Fresno City Council and Fresno Supervisory Board by Andy Hansen-Smith at @AndyHS and from Clovis City Council and Fresno Housing Authority by Heather Halsey Martinez at @heatherhalsey ).

At the Clovis Planning Commission meeting on September 23, documentary filmmaker Heather Halsey Martinez reported that commissioners approved zoning in the Loma Vista planning area for the DeYoung properties and approved changes to development standards for align with state housing laws. Read here for more information.

At the Lemoore city council meeting on September 21, librarian Ramiro Merino said council approved a police department’s Harley Davidson motorcycle upgrade, resolutions to the League of California Cities and a new cost allocation plan for the next budget cycle. Read here for more information.

At the Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting on September 21, librarian Bre Yamaoka reported that the board had approved a joint task force with the Visalia Police Department and County Mental Health for People without- shelter in Visalia, called Homeless Outreach and Proactive Enforcement (HOPE). The council also voted to observe Juneteenth as a paid public holiday for employees. Read here for more information.

At the Clovis City Council meeting on September 20, librarian Heather Halsey Martinez said council had approved a planned new unit development with deviations from typical Gary McDonald Homes development standards and an extension to ‘a sales tax agreement between the city and Anlin Industries. Read here for more information.

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