The Stanislaus County Community Services Agency (CSA) is temporarily closing its StanWORKs lobbies countywide for one day a week due to the COVID-19 pandemic, staffing challenges, and an increase in CalFresh applications and customers.
Beginning August 24, 2022 through February 22, 2023, all StanWORKs lobbies will be closed every Wednesday for six months.
StanWORKs Call Center hours will also be reduced from 8:00 am to noon, every Wednesday, during the same six-month period.
"It was a difficult decision but a necessary one," stated Christine Huber, CSA Director. "The pandemic and staffing challenges have dramatically impacted our ability to meet federal and state mandates in processing applications for our safety net programs."
Huber says a 50% increase in customers seeking in-person services combined with a backlog of applications also contributed and there aren't enough staff to provide the level of service needed to properly support the community.
CSA recommended the temporary closure which was approved by the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors at its August 16, 2022 meeting.
The closure does not affect other county departments such as Workforce Development and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program or partner agencies that share lobbies with StanWORKs.
Like other departments and public agencies, CSA is experiencing worker shortages with a record number of employee resignations. The pandemic has placed an additional strain on the workforce with lost hours and employee leaves of absence.
The closure will enable CSA clerical and Family Services Specialist workers with adequate time to process applications for programs such as CalFresh, CalWORKs, and MediCal within state requirements.
Technology is also expected to help fill the gap during the lobby closures as it did during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Customers can apply for, and access and renew benefits through self-serve websites, mail, fax, on-site drop boxes, and phone.
To improve application processing timeliness, CSA is also redirecting resources to meet the demand, streamlining staff training, offering overtime to increase production, and leveraging clerical assistance from other divisions to assist with case assignments.
For more information, please visit the CSA website at CSA Main