C19 relief funds-NOTE

Date: Fri, Sep 2, 2022 at 11:40 AM
Subject: C19 relief funds
To: Kenneth Miyagishima <[email protected]>

Dear Mayor Miyagishima,I was digging through the document about the projects to be funded with the COVID relief funds this morning (Resolution No. 23-027 – Pdf – since it is on the agenda for next week) and I have some concerns.

Sorry if these questions are coming late in the process; I know I’m “showing up late to the party” on this… ?

One overarching question is my mind is why these COVID relief funds are being used for projects that don’t seem directly related to impacts of COVID. We know that many people and businesses in the community were harmed by the lengthy closures and lockdowns with job losses, business closures, etc. I’m not seeing anything in the funding that will target families or businesses which were harmed by COVID specifically. Can you help me understand the rationale behind funding the projects that have been selected when they don’t seem to have any clear connection to damages from COVID?

The Housing Relief Mitigation Funds going to the MVCOH are largely to cover expenses related to helping landlords stay willing to rent to people with unfavorable qualifications and/or rental histories. This includes paying for property damages incurred in the rental properties as well as paying the rent itself. The funding breakdown shows that $250,000 will be used to cover client “rent, mortgage, utilities, deposit”. I have some concerns and questions about this.

  • Do you know what limitations are being imposed in order for people to qualify for this assistance?
  • Are there qualifications such as making sure the person is substance free (and maintains that status, through drug testing etc)?
  • If a person trashes a rental property, are they then barred from receiving the same service again?

These questions go back to a larger overarching concern that we may be actually enabling people to continue their self-destructive lifestyles instead of helping them actually turn their lives around.
The project for providing $500 monthly to 150 families for 18 months raises some big flags for me. These families will likely become dependent on the monthly funds, and then the seemingly-inevitable next step is that there will need to be more and more funds devoted to this. Yet, where would those funds for continuance come from? This seems like a slippery slope that will not be helping these families in the long-run.

I realize the City already has this large chunk of Federal funding and is trying to find the best ways to use it. If the City Council wanted to help people who were harmed by the closures and lockdowns, it seems like it would make more sense to have some mechanism to identify who was harmed and then have some sort of nuanced process for determining what they actually need (such as a grant to recover their business, training or assistance for finding a new job if their job was lost, etc).

I appreciate your consideration on all of this,Sarah
–Sarah Smith


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