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Federal pandemic unemployment benefits end, what local resources there are to help

The federal pandemic unemployment benefits have supported millions of Americans who lost their jobs and struggled financially. But now, those federal unemployment benefits have expired.

Riverside County is spreading awareness of the resources it has to offer to help those still struggling.

"Even though the pandemic benefits are ending, we're still not outside of the pandemic, families are still facing hardships," said Andrea Joubert, supervising program specialist for the Community Outreach branch of Riverside County. "Even though individuals may be experiencing a hard time right now losing unemployment insurance due to the pandemic, they still may qualify for CalFresh, CalWORKs, or Medi-Cal."

CalFresh, federally known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assitance Program), is a food benefit program. CalWORKs is a cash aid assistance program, and Medi-Cal is a health insurance program. You can find out how to sign up for CalWORKs, CalFresh, and Medi-Cal through the C4 Yourself website. Or you can call the CalFresh and Medi-Cal customer service center at 1-(877)-410-8827.

"Right now, a lot of people don't know that they are eligible for CalFresh and Medi-Cal. Oftentimes, people struggle in silence," said Joubert.

The county also partners with valley organizations and groups to spread the word about their programs. One of those organizations is Lift to Rise which helps give rental assistance.

"Every day brings a new sense of urgency to make sure that we're able to deploy resources as quickly as possible," said Lift to Rise CEO Heather Vaikona. "Our work is solely focused on radically increasing housing stability and economic mobility."

Vaikona said the organization has had a partnership with the county for over a year now helping the countywide rental assistance fund. Anyone in need of rental and utility assistance can apply on the United Lift website.

Some people who may have relied on the federal pandemic unemployment benefits may now be looking for a job. The Palm Springs Convention Center is hosting a hospitality job fair this Thursday, September 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"It's perfect timing to, you know, have a group here with over 200 positions available, and you know, we'll give people the opportunity to come in and fill out applications, they can be interviewed," said Palm Springs Convention Center Director of Sales Rick Leson.

If you plan on going, bring copies of your resume, a mask, and come interview ready. 

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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.

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