2022 Grants Challenge

How To Get Food And Money

Hunger Action Los Angeles will put information on tax credits, income support, health care, food benefits, housing, workers rights, renters rights, programs for immigrants and more at the fingertips of the community in a phone app that reimagines the 40-year publication “The Peoples Guide to Welfare Health & Other Services” (nicknamed "How To Get Food And Money".) The app will educate people seeking financial assistance with overviews of programs & provide links to apply directly for benefits as a first step to better income & quality of life.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Income Inequality

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

West LA

South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Los Angeles County has a high poverty rate. Much suffering could be alleviated by federal, state and county funded benefits that are available even to people who are working, supplementing their low incomes and allowing them coverage for health benefits and food assistance. LA County residents are leaving millions of dollars on the table by not applying for and receiving these benefits (such as CalFresh, WIC, Tax Credits, and others.) Many people have no awareness of what’s available and others don’t believe that they are qualified if they are working. Homeless persons and persons leaving from incarceration often don’t know where to get help. Many immigrants and refugees also either don’t know about benefits available, or are afraid of the impact of Public Charge regulations. Besides cash, food and health care benefits, many people are not aware of their rights on the workplace or with their landlords. Knowing how to stand up for these rights can also save money and stress.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The Peoples Guide publication, published by HALA for over 20 years,offers basic information on a spectrum of public benefits, and encourages people to engage in advocacy to improve programs. This book has won plaudits from consumers and the County of LA itself who funded it for 100,000 English and 50,000 Spanish copies annually for a period, and whose workers often said they used it as a reference guide. By updating the Peoples Guide to an app, we can make the information accessible for thousands more people and keep it updated properly.The book has 25 chapters broadly grouped as Income, Jobs and Trainings, Food, Health Care, Transportation and Utilities, and Assistance for Immigrants. HALA will update the information from the 2020 version of the guide to 2022. HALA will then contract with a software consultant who can create a phone app and transfer the information over. This has already been done with a Sacramento version of the guide, on which we participated.. The app will be made accessible in many languages via translation or use of translation functionality on the app. Once the app is developed we will outreach to potential users. Contact and follow through with the LA Unified School District, the other school districts in LA County, the LA Sheriff’s Department., Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the LA County Board of Supervisors and the city governments of the 88 cities in Los Angeles County can increase the number of users and beneficiaries.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

LA County will be a place in which knowledge of benefits programs & workers, renters and immigrant rights will be readily available and far more of the dollars currently being left unutilized are flowing to persons in need. Residents of LA County will also understand how public benefit program rules are legislated and will take part in advocacy to improve them. Investment in the app makes efficient use of one-time funding to create the platform which can be updated within minutes. Push notifications can immediately advise people of changes to benefit programs. Had this app been implemented before the pandemic, it would have solved numerous logistical problems later faced by the County and City in getting the word out on temporary programs. Many seniors, disabled persons and people with visual difficulties and mobility issues—cannot easily use digital media.. Our project will include consultation to make the app as user friendly as possible especially for the blind population.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

While the Peoples Guide has been in publication since 1978, the app version is a new project and thus we would need to design new methods to define and measure success. We will identify several key populations for whom we will create separate evaluation components consisting of both anecdotal reporting and hard data (such as number of downloads.) These populations include: Working people in low income occupations People in social work and/or nonprofit Homeless persons People with visual difficulties Seniors and people with mobility issues Persons in re-entry The evaluations will consist of surveys and plenty of time devoted to anecdotal reports on the ease of use of the app: The usefulness of information provided: Instances where the app was used to provide a connection to a benefit that the user was not previously aware of Instances in which the app was able to help solve a problem related to their rights or to receipt of benefits.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 500

Indirect Impact: 50,000