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Locals are facing long waits for aid.

Sonoma County officials say they are well aware of the problems and are working on solutions.

County officials say those applying for food or medical aid are dealing with unusually long wait times for in-person or telephone help.

People are being directed to a website that officials say is faster at processing applications. The website is

Officials blame the long waits on short staffing at the county department of Human Services, and other issues. Officials say workers have been sidetracked by a wave of fraud that redirected more than $600,000 to scammers. About two-thirds of that has been clawed back, but required re-assigning workers, the county says in a release.

Making it worse, the department is in the midst of adopting new software, part of a statewide effort to roll out a new system to manage aid eligibility.

The county says it is in the process of hiring 30 new eligibility caseworkers, who should start work October 31st. Roughly 160,000 Sonoma County residents, about a third of the total population, receives some form of public assistance.

The county's call center is receiving about 800 calls a day, while about 300 people turn up daily seeking help.

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