Strengthening the Social Safety Net and Health Equity
According to the US Census’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which accounts for California’s high cost of living, the state has the highest poverty rate in the nation, at over 20%. Millions of Californians depend on a wide array of social safety net programs to provide basic needs like food, healthcare, and housing. These programs help the most vulnerable households and are also a ladder for economic mobility. There is increasing evidence that, as a whole, they are a social investment that generates high returns for society. Yet, too many households still fall through holes in the safety net, either because they fail to enroll (for whatever reason) in available benefits or because the safety net is incomplete in crucial ways that need fixing.
There is interest at many levels of government in improving coordination among the various social safety net programs and services. The California Policy Lab is uniquely positioned to partner with state, county, and local agencies to streamline, integrate, and analyze administrative data pertaining to service delivery. Along with a secure and confidential data platform, CPL provides timely and rigorous analyses that allow government partners to be more effective, flexible, and responsive in their services to those most in need.
CPL is working with the state Department of Social Services to better understand how successful families are progressing on the road to self-sufficiency, through an analysis of several overlapping safety net programs.
CPL is also working with the Department of Social Services and the Children’s Data Network to assess the impact of Bringing Families Home, a new $20 million program the provides rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing for homeless child welfare cases.