VENTURA, Calif – By a unanimous vote on June 8, the Board of Supervisors concurred with the recommendation of County Executive Officer Mike Powers to appoint Melissa Livingston as the Director of the Human Services Agency.
“Melissa has been an influential County leader during her 40 years of service,” said County Executive Officer Mike Powers. “She has been a great partner and an integral member of our County leadership team in supporting the mission to provide comprehensive and compassionate services for our diverse communities. Dedicated, bright and compassionate, she has dedicated her life to helping the most vulnerable. She is exceptionally well qualified, and this is critical, especially as our community recovers from the impacts of COVID-19.”
Melissa Livingston has been with the County of Ventura since 1980, starting as a student worker for the Public Social Services Agency (later renamed to the Human Services Agency). Throughout her public service she has worked in a variety of positions supporting both the administrative and program operations of the Human Services Agency. Melissa has over 20 years of senior and executive leadership experience including having held the positions of Administrative Services Deputy Director, Adult and Family Services Deputy Director, Chief Deputy Director for the Human Services Agency, and the Acting Director for the past 4 months.
Livingston has held numerous leadership roles with the Agency and has contributed significantly to countywide programs and initiatives. Livingston has developed many community partnerships that have been instrumental in providing services to those residents most in need.
“It has been an honor to work along- side the Human Services Agency team and the County Family these past 40 years- as well as our collective partners- inclusive of cities, schools, businesses, philanthropy, community-based organizations, and non-profits. The work we all do to serve our most vulnerable is valuable and most powerful and impactful when done together in unison- as we provide for quality of life opportunities and a more vibrant Ventura county. I look forward to the opportunity to lead the Human Service Agency at this critical and transformative time- continuing to promote safety, well-being, independence, and strengthening children and families so our communities can thrive,” said Livingston.
Livingston has a proven track record in driving service excellence and performance outcomes having lead many systems and process improvement initiatives over the years including implementation of the CalFresh- Food Assistance Programs Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Program that provided for a transition from food stamp coupons to a debit card capability, and the implementation of an Eighteen County Consortium Eligibility, Issuance and Reporting System called CalWIN that facilitated timely and accurate issuance of public assistance benefit. As the CalWIN system is now merging with 3 other systems to become a single statewide system called CalSAWS, Livingston is a member of the Joint Powers Agreement Board responsible for the successful migration of the systems. She was also instrumental in formation and support of the recently approved Farm Worker Resource Program implemented in July of 2019.
She has played a primary role in oversight and coordination of Mass Care and Sheltering leading the Thomas, Hill/Woolsey events in partnership with county, cities, and numerous partner and community based organizations; and has lead the County Disabilities, Access and Functional Needs Task force for the current COVID pandemic event with a primary focus to maintain the safety, well-being, and feeding of older adults on stay at home orders, and has been instrumental in the development and upcoming launch of the COVID pandemic rental assistance program launching June 17 at www.vcemergency/rent.com.
Livingston has invested in the county workforce through her leadership roles as a member of the County Service Excellence Council, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and as a trainer supporting the County Nuts and Bolts and Leadership Excellence and Action Programs. She has received numerous recognitions and awards over the years including the Directors Excellence Award for the EBT Project, Digital Government Award for Project Management Excellence, Ventura County Management Council Directors Award and Mentoring Award, and the CEO Good Government Award for her extensive community engagement and partnerships.
The Human Services Agency provides services and support to over 225,000 individuals representing nearly a quarter of the County’s residents. The mission of the Agency is to strengthen families, promote self-sufficiency, and support safety, health and well-being. The Agency consists of three main departments, Community Services, Children & Family Services, and Adult and Family Services, which provide a wide range of services, including more specialized services for the homeless, a transitional living center, veteran services, Public Guardian Public Administrator, workforce programs, and a farmworker resource program.