One in Five people on public assistance in L.A. County

One in five Los Angeles County residents — nearly 2.2 million people — are receiving public assistance payments or benefits, a level county officials say will rise significantly over the coming months as the fallout from the recession continues.   The percentage of people on county aid already equals the figure at the height of the 2001-03 recession and far exceeds the one in seven who needed help during the economic downturn in the early 1990s and the one in nine assisted in the collapse of the early 1980s.  County officials warn that tens of thousands of additional frustrated job seekers — unemployment in the county currently stands at 9.5% — are expected to seek aid to weather the persistent recession once their other benefits run out.    Full Story at today’s L.A.Times.

The rising demand has left public assistance offices ill-equipped to deal with the growing multitude of indigent people. In some locations, lines routinely snake hundreds of feet outside entrances.

“We have the highest human service burden of any county in the country in sheer numbers,” Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said.

“Two million people is the size of some countries; that’s how big our problem is,” he said.

To have reached the point of receiving county aid, recipients usually have little left.

Qualifying for help most often means they already have run out of unemployment insurance and drained their bank accounts and other assets.

Said one applicant, “This is getting scary.  There are no jobs”.

What’s in the future for Orange County?

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