Agenda Item   



                                                                                                                        ASR Control  18-000954




legal entity taking action:

Board of Supervisors

board of supervisors district(s):

All Districts

SUBMITTING Agency/Department:

Social Services Agency   (Approved)

Department contact person(s):

Alyson Piguee (714) 245-6190 



Mike Edmundson (714) 541-7766



Subject:  Expansion of CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program


      ceo CONCUR

County Counsel Review

Clerk of the Board






3 Votes Board Majority




    Budgeted: Yes

Current Year Cost: $250,000

Annual Cost: $250,000




    Staffing Impact:


# of Positions:

Sole Source: N/A

    Current Fiscal Year Revenue: N/A

  Funding Source: See Financial Impact Section

County Audit in last 3 years: No



    Prior Board Action: 5/23/2017 #65, 12/31/2016 #21




Authorize the Social Services Agency to expand implementation of the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program from the pilot phase to countywide.







Authorization for the Social Services Agency to expand the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program will enable homeless, disabled and elderly CalFresh recipients to purchase meals at participating restaurants with their CalFresh benefits countywide.






The Social Services Agency (SSA) is seeking the Board of Supervisors' (Board) authorization to expand the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) Countywide.  On December 13, 2016, the Board authorized SSA to implement RMP in a pilot capacity in the cities of Anaheim and Santa Ana.  The Board directed at that time to return within one-year of implementation to provide an update on the pilot program.  Additionally, on May 23, 2017, the Board approved the non-financial Master Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation and administration of RMP, effective through June 30, 2020.  


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, is a federally funded and state-administered food assistance program that helps low-income individuals and families with their food purchases.  CalFresh is the state-administered SNAP program in California.


RMP is an optional program which enables elderly, disabled and homeless CalFresh recipients to purchase meals at participating restaurants using their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards.  RMP is intended to increase food access for those who do not have a place to store or cook food, may not be able to prepare food or lack access to a grocery store.  The County voluntarily enrolled in RMP, but no additional funds are provided for administration of this program. In addition to the pilot program in Orange County, RMP is currently operated in eight other California counties including Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz.


On February 1, 2018, SSA went live with RMP.  As of October 5, 2018, there were 39 restaurants participating in the program.  Attachment C shows the list of current participating restaurants.  One exception was made to approve the Domino’s in the city of Orange due to its proximity to Anaheim and a large concentration of eligible clients.  


In August 2018, the average transaction cost in Orange County was $14.41.  There have been expenditures by Orange County RMP-eligible clients in neighboring counties that also offer RMP at participating restaurants.  This usage in other counties is likely due to geographical proximity since in Orange County the pilot program was launched only in Anaheim and Santa Ana for restaurants, but countywide for eligible clients.


RMP usage by month is shown in the table below:



February 2018

March 2018

April  2018

May 2018



July 2018

August 2018

Eligible Households








Participating Restaurants








Transactions in Orange County








Orange County Expenditures









Due to the success of this pilot program in Anaheim and Santa Ana, SSA is recommending to expand this program countywide.  Interested restaurants must submit an application and provide all necessary documentation in order to be eligible to participate.  In order to manage workload and assess program needs, SSA will initially cap the number of participating restaurants at 150.  Upon completion of processing the first 150 applications, SSA will reassess to determine if this cap could be increased should demand warrant an increase.


SSA will continue to provide the Board with bi-annual updates regarding the usage and number of participating restaurants in RMP via off-agenda memos. Additionally, SSA will return to the Board upon expiration of the Master Memorandum of Understanding before June 30, 2020.


Since bringing the Director of Care Coordination on board in May 2016, the County has concentrated its efforts on building a responsive System of Care in Orange County that meets the needs of the homeless populations. The development and implementation of the Restaurant Meals Program was one program to assist individuals experiencing homelessness in Orange County in connecting with necessary resources. The expansion of this program as highlighted in this Agenda Staff Report will increase the opportunity to access this resource countywide. 







The County voluntarily enrolled in RMP, but no additional funds are provided for administration of this program.  Operation of the RMP is approximately $250,000 annually in ongoing expenditures.   As no separate State allocation is provided for RMP, the program costs have been absorbed within the existing CalFresh allocation in order to incur no increase in cost to the County General Fund.  The CalFresh program is funded 50% by Federal, 35% by State and 15% by County General Funds.  County General Funds are the required match to access Federal and State funding.










Attachment A - CalFresh Elderly and Disabled Client Count June 2018
Attachment B - CalFresh Homeless Client Count June 2018
Attachment C - List of Participating Restaurants