Budget cuts are already hitting home



North Central Coast residents from Los Osos to San Simeon will have to travel to access a variety of social services ranging from Medi-Cal to child welfare assistance because the County Department of Social Services is closing its Morro Bay office, effective April 25.

Lee Collins, director of SLO County Social Services, said that the closure is primarily due to budget cuts from state and county budget shortfalls.

"It's a very tough year and, as is the typical practice in Sacramento, most of the proposed budget cuts are targeted disproportionately to programs that serve elderly, the children, and low-income families," he said in an e-mail. "They don't create the budget problems, but usually are expected to resolve them."

The closing office handles Child Welfare Services, In-Home Supportive Services, CalWORKS, Medi-Cal, and Food Assistance.

While Collins said that he expects this office will be the only one closing, the department is also losing some 17 positions to the budget wrangling.

To maintain a presence in the area, he said, the department is looking for space for two case managers to remain there. They will operate in either Morro Bay or Los Osos.

People affected by the closure can still access services at Social Services offices in San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, and Atascadero.

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