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Few San Diegans Collect General Relief Compared to Other Counties

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Aired 4/29/09

Fewer than 800 people in San Diego County collect General Relief. That's a public assistance program for people living in poverty. In Los Angeles County, more than 75,000 people are enrolled. Joanne Faryon has more on the disparity in numbers.

— Fewer than 800 people in San Diego County collect General Relief. That's a public assistance program for people living in poverty. In Los Angeles County, more than 75,000 people are enrolled. Joanne Faryon has more on the disparity in numbers.

There are three million people living in San Diego County. According to census data, one in ten lives in poverty.

General relief is a program that provides $270 a month for single people who are unemployed with no assets. Despite San Diego County's declining economy, the number of people enrolled in this program in January of this year was just 760.

Dale Flemming is with the San Diego County Department of Health and Human Services. "It is intended to be the program of last resort and that's why the numbers are pretty low," he says.

The program is required by state law, but must be paid for by counties. Los Angeles County spends 30 tines more per capita on General Relief than San Diego.

By comparison Sacramento and Alameda counties have enrollments of nearly 9000. But Orange and Riverside Counties both have fewer than 500.

Joanne Faryon, KPBS News.

LIVE ANCHOR TAG: For more on this story, you can watch the KPBS-TV special, "Poverty and Recession in San Diego." It airs Wednesday night at seven p-m.

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