Did you know?

only 45% of those eligible for CalFresh in Marin County actually receive benefits

What is CalFresh?

The CalFresh (formerly Food Stamps) Program helps people with little or no income buy nutritious food. CalFresh benefits are not cash, they come on an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card that you use like a bank card to buy food. Most grocery stores and farmers markets take CalFresh benefits.  Learn more by calling 1-877-847-3663 or  apply online.

What is the CalFresh Task Force doing?

We are putting into practice principles set forth by the 2018 Marin Health and Human Services Strategic Plan, which focuses on health and wellness equity, to expand access to CalFresh and streamline enrollment to eligible and existing clients. By deepening our understanding of how individuals experience CalFresh enrollment and membership, we have been able to identify how to improve service delivery. In addition, knowing that HHS services are often siloed and disconnected, we are focusing on integrating service delivery through dual-enrollment to connect clients to all of the appropriate services in a timely manner. Lastly, the 2018 Strategic Plan emphasizes that providing the right services when and where community members need them will result in improved health and wellness, so we are incorporating more place-based community outreach and CalFresh enrollment opportunities. 

our goal

Increase CalFresh participation in Marin County 10% by December 31, 2021

How are we accomplishing our goal?

CalFresh Task Force Strategies:

1. Customer Service

2.  Dual Enrollment 

3. Place-Based              Outreach  


Create and implement customer service strategies to increase CalFresh enrollment, decrease re-certification discontinuances and churn.

What is Churn? Churn is when a client unexpectedly loses CalFresh benefits, often due to missed reporting requirements for re-certification, only to re-enroll within one to three months


Marin County's innovative flexible interviews are being considered as best practice by CDPH


•  Marin County CalFresh Program implemented flexible interviews scheduling, which allows clients who missed their scheduled appointment  to interview over the phone. To accommodate these changes, the call center expanded and increased staffing. 


• Auto-enrolled clients into the C4 platform text messaging,  which sends text message reminders to client regarding cases (interview, rectification, pending documents). The system allows clients to opt in or out via text messaging. 

• Implement interactive voice response system (IVR) and application e-signatures during the application process.

•  In October 2017,  the Elderly Simplified Application Process (ESAP) and Standard Medical Deductions (SMD) was introduced and adopted by the County of Marin for clients 60+ years or disabled. Through a collaboration between Marin County HHS and SF-Marin Food Bank:

     ✔ HHS identified clients possibly eligible for ESAP/SMD and sent a letter to clients notifying them of the changes. 

     ✔ SF-Marin Food Bank reached out to clients identified by HHS and assisted with SMD submission and recertification process, which resulted in           a $2954.00 cumulative increase in  CalFresh benefit allotment. 

     ✔   Engaged the community through pilot testing and focus groups to develop evidence-based marketing materials for ESAP/SMD. 



We understand that many clients who are eligible for one type of public assistance program are eligible, and would benefit, from enrollment in other programs. Our focus is to minimize silos in public assistance and encourage dual enrollment in CalFresh and Free and Reduced Price Meals, SSI/SSP and Medi-Cal.

     • Identify through the school districts families who utilize Free and Reduced Price Meal program at school and enroll those potentially eligible for CalFresh via AB402 legislation

      • Identify clients in Marin County on SSI/SSP and assist them with enrollment in CalFresh, as made possible by new legislation


•  Adoption and Implementation of AB402: Through a collaboration between the San Rafael City School District, Marin County HHS and SF Marin Food Bank we are able to:

     ✔ Identify CalFresh eligible families by updating the existing Free and Reduced Price Meal application to include an option to learn more about                CalFresh

     ✔ SF-Marin Food Bank provided direct enrollment assistance and follow up with those families who expressed interest in CalFresh 

   ✔ These efforts have built community trust, enhance provider partnerships, increase access to staff and ease enrollment into CalFresh. As a result,              school  direct certifications increased.

•  CalFresh Expansion to SSI/SSP Recipients 

    ✔ Beginning Summer 2019, Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Problem recipients will be eligible to receive CalFresh benefits. 

    ✔ We have identified 1,900 potential Marin County residents that will qualify. The CalFresh Task Force is working closely with internal and external stakeholders and community partners to create an efficient roll-out plan for CalFresh expansion to SSI/SSP recipients. 

887 of the Free and Reduced Price Meal applications with the new CalFresh checkbox were collected from San Rafael City School District. 

• Only 4% of potentially eligible families who receive Free and Reduced Price Meals were already on CalFresh. 

• 18% of families applied to CalFresh as a result of the in-reach conducted by SF-Marin Food Bank

• 78% of families indicated "Not Interested" or did not respond, which represents an opportunity for continued in-reach for CalFresh enrollment

CalFresh and Medi-Cal

Only 29%

of Medi-Cal recipients in Marin county also receive CalFresh benefits.

Most Medi-Cal recipients are eligible for CalFresh, so this means that

up to 71%

of potentially eligible recipients are not receiving benefits.

The goal is to increase the number of Medi-Cal recipients receiving CalFresh by 10% by 2021.

• CalFresh Expansion to SSI/SSP Recipients

✔ Beginning Summer 2019, Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Problem recipients will be eligible to receive CalFresh benefits.

✔ We have identified 1,900 potential Marin County residents that will qualify. The CalFresh Task Force is working closely with internal and external stakeholders and community partners to create an efficient roll-out plan for CalFresh expansion to SSI/SSP recipients. 


Implement targeted, place-based outreach strategies to engage clients in high-priority communities identified through geomapping. 


• Geomaps created by the California Department of Public Health have aided Marin County in the identification of census tracts with the highest number of eligible residents that are NOT receiving CalFresh. This allowed us to target our place-based outreach to the areas where there was the most unmet need, with the highest needs being in: Central San Rafael and Marin City.  

• By overlaying locations of community based organizations and low-income housing, we were able to identify potential community partnerships to address these unmet needs. As a result, place-based eligibility has been incorporated in the services offered at Marin City Health & Wellness and Canal Alliance.


• Our commitment to providing excellent customer service is, in part, demonstrated by co-locating within organizations that the community already trusts. This has provided the foundation for a continued partnership between Marin County HHS and community members, and resulted in clients returning to these community sites to continue the conversation and not only enroll in CalFresh, but also in other public assistance programs. 

• Interviews at place-based events resulted in almost 100% of applications being successfully approved, as compared to school and community based outreach, where events yielded only 25-50% approved applications.

In the Spotlight

Marin County Health and Human Services Acting Director/COO, Hyacinth Guillermo Hinojosa recognized Social Services and Public Assistance for placing bilingual eligibility workers in high priority communities.  This strategy was highlighted in the HHS Strategic Plan Presentation, in executive meetings and in communication to all County of Marin staff.