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(Santa Barbara, CA – May 25, 2022) — Santa Barbara County has received two awards from the California State Association of Counties (CSAC). The first, the 2021 Merit Award, was in recognition of the establishment of the Latinx and Indigenous Migrant COVID-19 Response Task Force. The second, the 2021 Challenge Award, was related to the transparent outreach program to ensure community input in the retail cannabis process. The California State Association of Counties showcases creative and collaborative solutions through the CSAC awards program. The two awards were based on 433 entries, the most in the history of the program.
The Santa Barbara County Merit Award recognized the establishment of the Latinx and Indigenous Migrant COVID-19 Response Task Force that reduced health inequities in the County by working directly with different communities during the initial phase of the pandemic. The challenge was providing up-to-date resources, education, referrals, and communications between the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, community partners, and populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The work conducted by Task Force Partners has resulted in enhanced COVID-19 response efforts within the Latinx and Indigenous communities thereby reducing the spread of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County
The Challenge Award recognizes Santa Barbara County’s work in creating a fair and legal process for retail storefront operators to apply while also leading a transparent outreach program to ensure the community had every opportunity to provide input. Community outreach was re-envisioned during the pandemic using interactive mapping, tutorials, a survey, and materials provided far in advance of remote meetings. Combined, almost 600 people attended the meetings, and the County gained 420 new subscribers to cannabis e-news and notifications. The survey was live for more than eight months and generated 343 responses.
The CSAC awards recognize the most innovative programs developed by California’s Counties this past year. In 2021, CSAC is honoring 52 programs from 22 different counties, including: 3 Innovation Awards, 21 Challenge Awards and 28 Merit Awards. These recipients showcased the amazing creative and collaborative solutions being utilized across topics, such as the pandemic, homelessness, voter access, technical assistance, organic waste, employee wellness, cannabis, and more.