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COUNTYWIDE : Building Sought for Welfare Overflow

Because of a growing number of welfare recipients, county officials are searching for a building to handle the overflow of clients from the Oxnard district office.

James Isom, director of the county’s public social services agency, told the County Board of Supervisors Tuesday that he has instructed the county public works real estate division to begin looking for space in Oxnard to rent.

When the district office opened at 1400 Vanguard Drive three years ago, it accommodated 200 to 400 people a day, said Tony Murguia, facilities manager for the social services agency.

Now the clients number 350 to 500 a day, he said.

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“There are too many people,” Isom said. “The stress level is too high. We’re waiting for something to happen.”

He said the reception area is too crowded, too many people stand in line for help and parking is inadequate at the Vanguard Drive building. Despite the conditions, there have been no serious altercations between workers and welfare recipients.

“There has been a lot of concern,” Isom said. “Workers have felt they were in threatening situations.” Fights have broken out between clients, he said.

“We have to deal with it or we’ll have an explosive situation there,” Supervisor John K. Flynn said.

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The welfare office needs a building with about 15,000 square feet, Isom said. Even if such a building is found, the county won’t have money for rent until the beginning of the new fiscal year in July, he said.


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