Increase May Translate to a Wardrobe for the Needy


If an extra $22 seems paltry, consider that $13 a month for a year can buy an entire set of clothes, according to the Orange County Social Services Agency.

Shopping in thrift stores, general purpose discount stores and clothing discount stores, researchers concluded in a July, 1986, draft report that basic clothing for a woman on general relief is available for $159.27. A man’s wardrobe could be bought for $139.86.

For women, the clothing includes a pair of sturdy shoes, one pair of canvas shoes, six pairs of underwear, four bras, four pairs of pantyhose, four pairs of socks, a light robe or housecoat, two skirts, four blouses, two pairs of pants, a sweater, a warm coat and a slip.


Six Sets of Underwear

For men, the allotment includes six sets of underwear, four sets of work clothes, two pairs of shoes, four pairs of socks, one set of dress clothing to be worn at job interviews, a sport coat, a sweater, a warm coat and a belt.

None of the county’s estimated 1,800 general relief recipients has yet received the increase in benefits negotiated by Legal Aid Society lawyers, but the delay may be an inadvertent fringe benefit, said Deputy County Counsel David Epstein, who represented the county in the negotiations. Retroactive payments could provide a larger lump sum.

“With two or three months of $22, they may be able to go out and buy an overcoat or bedding. Normally, they can’t scrape that money together,” he said.

Monthly Bus Pass

A monthly bus pass from the Orange County Transit District costs $28. Each round trip on a bus costs $1.50, or $3 on Dial-a-Ride during early morning and afternoon hours.

The study concluded that monthly groceries, based on a U.S. Department of Agriculture “thrifty and nutritious” diet of meats, fruits and vegetables, could be obtained for $60.61. The average cost of rent and utilities for a single general relief recipient was $204.44, according to the study.