No Dollar Left behind: Resources for Angelenos

No Dollar Left behind: Resources for Angelenos

Written by Manyell Akinfe-Reed

Don’t Leave Money on the Table: Your Cheat Sheet to LA Resources

Navigating through public service resources and benefits can be an overwhelming task. Researching programs, gathering paperwork, and yelling at automated operators push eligible applicants to leave money on the table. Knowing where to start is half the battle.

The Los Angeles Public Services Department (DPSS) website is a good first step to finding money, food, and other free and low-cost benefits. The site provides detailed information and eligibility requirements for state benefits and other resources. To kickstart your research and save you some time check out this list of some of LA’s most common resources.


California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)

CalWORKS is temporary cash assistance for pregnant women and families who have little to no income or property. Cash assistance may be provided for rent, housing, food, clothing, medical payments, and utilities. The amount of cash provided will depend on your family situation, resources, and income.

Basic Requirements

  • United States citizen or immigrant who has been given permission to live in the US
  • Social Security Number or have applied for one
  • Have an eligible child(ren) and/or you are pregnant and.
    • One or both parents do not live in the home, are no longer living, or are disabled; or
    • Not employed or working less than 100 hours a month at the time your family applied for CalWORKS.
  • Have less than $10,888 in cash, bank, accounts, and other resources ($16,333 if disabled or 60 years or older)
  • Have a vehicle worth $25,483 or less

If you meet the basic requirements for CalWORKS but are a refugee or asylee you may be eligible for Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA). The (RCA) Program provides temporary assistance and employment-focused services through the Refugee Employment Program to individuals who are not eligible for other welfare assistance.

Diversion Payment

General Relief (GR)

General Relief is a program that provides cash assistance ($221 / $375 2ppl) if you are an adult without money or resources. Children that are ineligible for federal or state programs may be eligible for GR.

Basic Requirements

  • LA County resident
  • Monthly net income lower than the maximum GR grant of $221. The monthly net income for a couple is $375
  • $100 ($200 couple) or less cash on hand in a bank account.
  • Personal property with a combined valued less than $2,000
  • Motor vehicle valued at $4,500 or less.



CalFresh also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or food stamps, provides monthly benefits on a EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card which can be used to buy food at grocery stores, farmers markets and other locations. The amount you receive will depend on your income and the number of people in your household.

Basic Requirements

Expedited CalFresh

If you meet one of the requirements below you may be able to receive benefits within three days or even as early as the same day after your application is received. To qualify you must meet ONE of the conditions below:

  • Your combined gross monthly income and cash resources are less than your monthly rent or mortgage and utility cost.
  • Your household has less than $150 in gross income AND cash resources of $100 or less.
  • You or someone in your household are migrant or seasonal farmworkers who are destitute, and your cash resources are $100 or less.

If you and your family need additional food, 211 LA’s food resource page includes a food finder map that will help you locate food you in your area.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

WIC is a nutrition program that helps pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children under five eat well and stay healthy.

Basic Requirements

  • Pregnant, had a baby within the last six months
  • Breastfeeding a baby under the age of one
  • Have a child under the age of five
  • Experienced a pregnancy loss/termination
  • Have income less than or equal to the guidelines


The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

LIHEAP helps with managing energy cost and immediate home heating and/or cooling needs.

The program can help with one-time financial assistance, provide help in an energy crisis, and offers free energy efficient upgrades.

Basic Requirements

If you qualify for LIHEAP, you may also be eligible for 20% off your monthly bill with California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE).  If your income is slightly higher than the CARE and LIHEAP requirements, you may qualify for Family Electric Rate Assistance Program (FERA)FERA, provides and 18% discount on electricity bills.

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)

LIHWAP provides up to $2,000 to help pay down outstanding residential water and sewer bills.

Basic Requirements

Additional resources for utilities:

Los Angeles Department Water and Power Assistance Programs

SoCalGas Assistance Programs

Utility Company Emergency Assistance

California Lifeline

California LifeLine provides discounted home phone and cell phone services to qualified households.

Basic Requirements

  • Enrolled in a public assistance program

California Low-Cost Internet Plans

The California Public Utilities Commission offers a search tool to find low-cost internet in your area.

Everyone’s circumstances are different, to get the most thorough assessment of the benefits available to you and your family your first step is to apply for CalWORKS here. If you qualified to receive CalWORKS or RCA benefits, you unlock a number of additional resources. Your Case Worker should share all benefits that are available to you; however, it is your responsibility to take control of your finance by becoming familiar with all that is available to you. Don’t leave money on the table.

Should Los Angeles Pay Reparations For The Drug War Against African Americans?

Should Los Angeles Pay Reparations For The Drug War Against African Americans?


The conversations and movement around reparations for African-American descendants of U.S slavery continues to rise.

Last year, The City of Los Angeles established the Reparations Advisory Commission, to establish a reparations pilot program for a group of Black residents.


California also recently became the first state to enact its own reparations task force. Lawmakers first presented a bill for reparations in 1989. However, it would never pass.


Following the end of the civil war, Gen. William T. Sherman’s Special Field Order 15 was signed, which allocated 400,000 acres of land to newly freed slaves in the south.


This is where the famous ’40 acres and a mule line comes from.


However, newly freed slaves in the south would never receive this land. When President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, successor Andrew Jackson, would return the land back to those in the confederacy.


H.R 40 was introduced by Texas Senator Sheila Jackson in 2019, and passed the House last year. The bill proposes an apology for African-American slavery and a proposal for reparations.


Jackson says that if the bill is not passed by the senate, she will encourage President Biden to sign an executive order.

While African-American political leaders and community members are working to ensure H.R 40 becomes law, what can cities do at the local level to address wealth gaps and economic barriers facing their Black residents?

Evanston, Illinois, became the first U.S. city to enact a reparations plan for the inequities that have hindered longtime Black residents from building generational wealth.

Socioeconomic conditions of poor and working-class Black communities in Los Angeles have been declining since the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Much of this decline is due to the explosion of crack/cocaine in the inner city community of South Central, L.A.

The subsequent war on drugs to offset the crack epidemic, would lead to trillions of wasted tax dollars through failed policies, police militarization, and a new wave of mass incarceration.

The famous 1994 crime bill introduced mandatory sentencing laws targeted mainly at Black men.

Those in possession of “crack” which was prominent in Black communities, would receive 3 years jail time. Possession of cocaine in powder form, found in more affluent and white communities would receive a 3 month jail sentence.

These enhanced sentencing laws funneled Black men through the prison industrial complex in rates that significantly altered family dynamics of the Black community.

When Black men are jailed and removed from their homes and the community under racist drug laws, they are excluded from the economy and declined the opportunity to provide assistance to their families as men.

The war on drugs helped to solidify a poor quality of life for Black Angeleno’s who were unable to move West into more nicer areas like Baldwin Hills and Ladera Heights.

If you really want to understand the rapid adoption of crack cocaine in inner cities across the U.S, including South Central, we must analyze and understand the experiences of the Black community in cities like L.A prior to the 1980’s.

Following the end of slavery, African-Americans began to travel en mass to Northern cities including areas like Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York.

These Black families hoped to escape intense racial hatred and discrimination and this was known as the great migration.

What they found, was a more insidious form of anti-Black racism and discrimination, through covert means of segregation imposed on African-Americans.

These types of attitudes would limit access to wealth building for the larger African-American community, despite notable gains for some.

Los Angeles has not always treated their Black residents the best, or allowed the majority to freely obtain wealth in one of the richest cities in the U.S.

Whether through redlining, restrictive housing covenants, police brutality and murder, or African-American communities being crack bombed. The truth of the matter is that Black communities in L.A have been intentionally sabotaged and undermined to limit and control our growth.

So what can be done to increase the quality of life for Black Angeleno’s?

Los Angeles should enact robust measures and reparation plans that can balance economic disparities that have plagued Black L.A for decades.

The roles played and/or blind eyes turned while drugs infested Black L.A through gangs and international drug connections, has yet to be addressed by the city, let alone rectified.

Dedicate resources to respark the idea of self-determination for Black communities. Help support infrastructure for the creation of more Black businesses in L.A. Provide the tools to help restore the economic vitality of Black Angeleno’s who continue to be left behind.

MoCaFi and the City of Detroit Mutually Agree To Terminate Detroit-ID Relationship

MoCaFi and the City of Detroit Mutually Agree To Terminate Detroit-ID Relationship

July 22, 2022 — The City of Detroit purchased municipal identification services from Mobility Capital
Finance, Inc. (MoCaFi). In light of concerns from local interest groups regarding using data to create the
identification cards and with less than 1,000 cards produced, we agreed with the City of Detroit to stop
providing this service.

The City asserted in a statement that it had received no complaints or indication of any misuse of the
collected data. The statement reads, “the concerns raised by some are false and have no legitimate relation
to the Detroit ID program. Because this false information was being spread throughout the immigrant
community, we agreed with MoCaFi on Friday to shut down the Detroit ID program to stop the spread of

MoCaFi has not sold and does not sell personal information to third parties, including Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other government agencies. MoCaFi does not share personal
information with law enforcement agencies unless required to do so by law.

MoCaFi was founded on creating equitable and inclusive communities for everyone and recognizes and
celebrates the dignity and humanity of all people. This company was born out of a commitment to address
the needs of people of color whom traditional banking institutions have systematically disenfranchised.

As we continue to reimagine financial products and services to empower and elevate communities, we
will remain vigilant to continue serving individuals ethically, transparently, and respectfully.