The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on a proposal to ban nonpayment evictions for renters impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and also to provide $3 million to start an emergency fund to assist residents, nonprofits and small businesses.
The ban on certain evictions would include both incorporated and unincorporated areas of the County, totaling over 105,000 rental units, according to a County statement. Eligible renters include those who, due to the COVID-19 outbreak and related shelter-in-place order, experienced job loss, cutbacks in work hours, needed to stay home with school-age children or care for a stricken loved one, or who become ill with the disease.
Under the regulation, renters would have to pay landlords what they owe within 180 days after the state of emergency ends. The County Counsel’s Office is working with the Department of Housing to develop a process where renters can petition landlords for rent relief, according to the County’s statement.
Meanwhile, the County supes on Tuesday will also vote on a plan to provide $3 million in seed funding to develop the San Mateo County Strong Fund. The Fund would provide emergency assistance exclusively to presceened individuals and families, small businesses and nonprofits serving the most vulnerable residents. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) would administer the Fund and seek to grow it with additional donors. A website is being created in partnership with the San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA) where those impacted can apply for emergency aid and donors can add to the fund.
In a statement, County Manager Mike Callagy called the impacts from COVID-19 “swift and far-reaching.” Rosanne Foust, SAMCEDA president and CEO, said “residents and businesses, and especially our small businesses and sole proprietors who do not qualify for unemployment benefits, are reeling from this crisis.”
Elected leaders have a duty “to do everything within our power” to form a social safety net, Board of Supervisors President Warren Slocum added.
“So many people have been hurt by this outbreak,” Slocum said. “Our hearts go out to anyone impacted by the disease itself as well as the families and individuals who have experienced layoffs and cutbacks to their hours.”
The Board of Supervisors meeting will start Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Hall of Justice in Redwood City. While members of the public cannot attend, they can view a video broadcast of the meeting here, and may provide written comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Still image from video of County Manager Mike Callagy addressing the community on the COVID-19 pandemic response. Full video here.