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Health and Human Services Agency Newsletter Issue 17 February 2013

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Health and Human Services Agency Newsletter Issue 17 February 2013
Published on: 2/3/2013 12:00 AM
A Word from the Health & Human Services Agency…
Apart from the negative impacts that many of our organizations and families are experiencing due to this year’s influenza outbreak, we only have good news to share on the state and local front.  The State’s economic picture continues to improve while we move forward creating supported housing opportunities for many of those we serve, seeking funding for community development projects to better support our communities and assisting families to apply for Medi-Cal for their children as the Healthy Families Program transitions into Medi-Cal.  

Happy reading,

Public Input Needed for 2013 Community Development Block Grant Program Funding
The Health & Human Services Agency is soliciting input from local citizens on possible activities for funding in the 2013-2014 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
Up to $2 million dollars are available through the State’s CDBG program to fund projects in the community to primarily address the needs of low income Nevada County residents.
A public, community meeting will be held to discuss possible applications for CDBG funding on Tuesday, February 12, 2013, from 2:00-2:30 p.m., during the Adult & Family Services Commission meeting, which will be held in the Empire Room (second floor),  located at the Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Avenue, Nevada City, CA 95959.
The main purpose of the CDBG program is to develop viable communities by providing a suitable living environment and housing by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low incomes – households that earn 80 percent or less of the median income in our area.
Eligible activities include, but are not limited to: homeownership assistance, housing rehabilitation, public services, public facility improvements; including: new housing construction, acquisition of property for public purposes, construction or reconstruction of public infrastructure, demolition and rehabilitation, planning studies, economic development and assisting businesses with expansion and development. Projects paid for with State CDBG funds are one-time only, i.e., not for ongoing operations and must meet one or more of the three national objectives listed in CDBG federal statutes as follows: benefit low income households or persons, elimination of slums and blight or meeting urgent community development needs.
If you are unable to attend the public meeting, you may direct written comments to Cheryl Rubin, Senior Administrative Assistant/Housing, County of Nevada, Health & Human Services Agency, 950 Maidu Avenue, Nevada City, CA 95959 or call (530) 265-7256. Information is also available for review at the Department of Social Services, 950 Maidu Avenue, Nevada City, CA,  Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m.to 4:00 p.m. 
If you plan to attend the public meeting and require special accommodations because of a sensory or mobility impairment/disability or need an interpreter, please contact Cheryl Rubin at (530) 265-7256 no later than February 8, 2013, to make the necessary accommodations.
The County of Nevada promotes fair housing and makes all programs available to low and moderate-income families regardless of age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual preference, marital status, familiar status (children) or handicap.
2013 Community Initiative Funding
The Nevada County Adult & Family Services Commission announces a Request for Funding (RFF) for County General Fund dollars to allow local non-profit agencies an opportunity to provide creative and collaborative services that will enhance the safety net services for residents of Nevada County. A total of $15,000 County General Fund dollars has been allocated to support a single, one-time only funded project subject to the Board of Supervisors’ approval and fiscal resources. These funds are not intended to provide long-term support of a program and are not to be used to pay for administrative overhead costs. The same project cannot be funded for more than two (2) consecutive years. The RFF can be downloaded by visiting: http://www.mynevadacounty.com/nc/hhsa/dss/
The application deadline is 3:00 p.m. on March 1, 2013. For information or questions, contact Nicole Pollack at (530) 265-1410.
California Likely To See $5 Billion in Extra Revenue for January
California will likely collect $5 billion dollars more in January income tax revenue than forecasters initially expected, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO). 
LAO said that three factors could be contributing to higher-than-expected January income tax revenue:
• The prospect of higher 2013 federal tax rates prompted high-income earners to take more capital gains and dividends in 2012;
• A retroactive state income tax increase might have prompted high-income earners to pay their state taxes earlier than expected; and
• Improvements in the economy have surpassed fiscal experts' expectations.
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg has said that any extra money the state receives could be used to pay off debts, expand certain state programs and/or boost the state's rainy-day fund.   Steinberg also has talked about using extra revenue to restore dental benefits for low-income adults, which were eliminated under cost-cutting strategies.
However, Steinberg said that lawmakers should be "relatively cautious" about the extra money "until we get more information".  In his State of the State address last week, Governor Jerry Brown called for state officials to practice fiscal discipline by using any extra funds to pay down debt and boost reserves instead of restoring funds to social programs.  It should be noted that a recent Public Policy Institute of California poll finds that 69 percent of residents support Governor Brown’s new budget plan. 
Mental Health Services Act and Housing and Urban Development Housing Programs
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The Nevada County Behavioral Health Department is partnering with Nevada County Housing Development Corporation (NCHDC) to implement our Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Housing Program and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Programs.  These programs provide long-term rental assistance to individual adults who are homeless and enrolled in or eligible for MHSA Full Services Partnership (FSP) services.  Adults enrolled in MHSA FSP programs have severe mental illness and require intensive case management services in order to secure and maintain housing. Individuals are provided a range of supportive services from medication management, therapy, independent living skills, employment, vocational, educational services and community services.  These services are provided depending on the participants’ needs.  The primary goal of these services is to support residents in maintaining their housing.
NCHDC’s mission is to provide affordable housing for eligible residents of Nevada County.  They have been serving Nevada County residents for over 30 years.  Some projects they have been involved in over the years include: the Section 8 Voucher program, construction of the first self-help housing program; purchased, remodeled and implemented the first transitional family homeless shelter. Currently NCHDC is the Managing General Partner for 42 apartments in Penn Valley, owner and property manager of the first MHSA single family house, fiscal agent for Emergency Assistance Coalition (EAC) and a member of the Nevada-Placer Continuum of Care to End Homelessness (CoC). 
NCHDC, Executive Director, Joyce Peterman will be collaborating with the Behavioral Health Department and our MHSA FSP service agencies.  She will assist in planning, implementation, evaluation and reapplication of the HUD grant programs.  Additionally, Joyce will be working directly with program applicants and participants to secure and maintain housing.
Healthy Families Transition
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New California law states that children in the Healthy Families Program (HFP) must be moved to Medi-Cal. The move will take place over one year, starting in 2013.   The transition of approximately 875,000 HFP enrollees will be implemented in four separate phases over the course of one year and in a manner that minimizes disruption in services, maintains adequate provider networks and ensures access to care. Each phase will require an implementation plan, including information on health and dental plan network adequacy, continuity of care, eligibility/enrollment requirements, consumer protections and family notifications. 
The transition of HFP enrollees to Medi-Cal will simplify eligibility and coverage for children and families while providing additional benefits and lowering costs for children at certain income levels. The State will also gain administrative efficiencies, achieve General Fund savings and provide a more consistent health plan contracting process while increasing plan accountability for providing high quality services to children.
Medi-Cal will cover these children under the optional targeted low-income coverage group.  This new coverage group is named the Targeted Low-Income Children’s Program.   January 1, 2013, the Healthy Family Program will stop enrolling new children and these children will subsequently be covered under the Medi-Cal Program. The Department of Health Care Services intends to begin the transition of the Healthy Family Program children into the Medi-Cal Program no sooner than January 1, 2013. As the children transition to the Medi-Cal Program, their Medi-Cal eligibility will be temporarily granted based on their last known annual eligibility date under the Healthy Family Program. Granting temporary eligibility allows for a smooth transfer to the Medi-Cal Program without the need for the family to reapply for Medi-Cal at the time of transition.
Targeted Low-Income Children’s Program will create a new bright line of income eligibility for children zero (0) to nineteen (19) years of age, at 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
Seasonal Flu
It is flu time again and this year it has been particularly harsh in the United States.  The flu season occurs annually during the cold half of the year (October – March) and typically peaks in January – February.  The flu virus is actually transmitted throughout the year, but transmission increases in cooler temperatures.  Although exact reasons for the seasonal nature of flu are unclear, some proposed explanations are: 
• People are indoors more, and in closer contact in winter which promotes the transmission of flu virus
• Cold temperatures and drier air dehydrate mucous membranes which decreases resistance to respiratory infections
• The flu virus may live longer on exposed surfaces (doorknobs, countertops, etc.) in cooler temperatures, and
• A decrease in the exposure to sunlight in the winter reduces Vitamin D production which may alter the immune system. 
Susceptibility to the flu virus depends on a number of factors which include pre-existing chronic medical conditions, age and overall health of the immune system.  Children younger than 2 years of age and people over 65 years of age are at highest risk for complications of the flu. 
The best protection against flu remains the annual, seasonal flu vaccine and it is recommended for all people six months and older, including pregnant women.  Protective immunity develops about two weeks after vaccination and it is estimated that efficacy of the flu vaccine is about 70 percent.  The vaccine is necessary each year because immunity decreases after a year and because each year’s vaccine is formulated to prevent only that year’s anticipated flu viruses.
The Public Health Department has no more community flu clinics scheduled for this season, but it is not too late to get the flu vaccine.  There is no shortage of flu vaccine.  Check with your medical provider or local pharmacies for availability and raise your odds of avoiding this seasonal malady.  For more information visit: www.cdc.gov/flu
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Brandi McManus, Health & Human Services Agency
Michael Heggarty
Director of HHSA
Health & Human Services Agency

950 Maidu Avenue Suite 120
Nevada City, Ca 95959
Hours: 8am-5pm M-F
Phone: 530.265.1627
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