Bay Area Legal Aid and the Public Interest Law Project successfully settled a case that brought significant changes to the Marin County Health & Human Services General Assistance (GA) program. These included reducing unnecessary hurdles to gaining assistance, as well as imposing standards for sanctioning and cancellation of a recipient’s benefits. Highlights of the settlement include greatly shortening the wait time for an initial intake appointment, a combined eligibility screening with the food stamps program, requiring clear and prompt notice of sanctions, and due process protections during a cancellation hearing.

The Focal Point’s Role

The Focal Point worked closely with the trial team to construct a case map to organize the many themes, stories, and evidence at issue. The creation of the case map enabled the team to organize and focus their story throughout a series of hearings, briefings, and the settlement process, by distilling and prioritizing the relevant elements of the case. Graphics were also developed as a result of that process, highlighting the unique discordance Marin’s GA program had with other California GA programs and illustrating the lengthy and difficult application process Marin imposed on its applicants.


The case was successfully settled with Marin County agreeing to change the proess to shorten wait times and protect due process for applicants.


Marin Superior Court (San Rafael)

The Focal Point's Clients

The Public Interest Law Project

Judith Gold
Patti Prunhuber

Bay Area Legal Aid