CalFresh participation in San Mateo county

Through ongoing work with the San Mateo County Human Services Agency (SMC HSA), Thrive encourages community based organizations, the business community and individuals to learn about and engage in the economic and social benefits that are available to the County through the increased usage of CalFresh.  

Thousands of San Mateo County residents receive vital services that support and improve their quality of life through a network of community based organizations and agencies. The climate of ongoing economic hardship, coupled with the high cost of living in the region, however, negatively impact residents of all ages throughout the county. Promoting access to healthy food through CalFresh – California’s program for Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) -- can provide sustenance to residents in need and strengthen the local economy.

CalFresh/SNAP is a fully funded Federal entitlement program. Though state and county programs have been reduced due to budget constraints, more than $84 million dollars in additional federal nutrition assistance benefits are available to San Mateo County residents if CalFresh reached all income-eligible individuals currently not participating in the program, according to projections released by California Food Policy Advocates.

Increasing enrollment in CalFresh provides the opportunity for low-income families and individuals including seniors to re-allocate dollars they would otherwise spend on food to other basic needs such as shelter and health-related necessities. Greater participation also offers the State and County the opportunity to increase revenue through the resulting taxable sales. SNAP dollars have been calculated to provide a multiplier effect on average of $1.79, thereby having the potential to contribute over $150 million to the local economy. 

SMC HSA recently completed their system redesign, focused on two goals 

  • To better serve the growing number of people who need CalFresh, CalWORKs, General Assistance and Medi-Cal; and
  • To improve the customer service experience

On December 12, 2012, HSA opened the first of their redesigned centers at 2500 Middlefield Road, Redwood City.  Significant features of the redesigned service model include:  


Busy customers will be able to access their case information by phone, web and in person. Phone and web services will be available 24/7 and all services will be offered in multiple languages. 


Professional and welcoming lobbies will feature kiosks, information centers and navigators to provide information, referrals and applications assistance.


Streamlined application and renewal processes and task management system to expedite flow and reduce the carbon footprint of the process.