Supes secure $20M from CARES Act, order protections for retail and food delivery workers

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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors secured more than $20 million in federal funds through the coronavirus relief package or CARES Act, of which $5.3 million will go toward projects to help low- to moderate-income residents within the county’s five supervisorial districts. 

On Tuesday, board members voted unanimously to implement funds allocated to the county, starting with the included $13.6 million in Community Development Block Grant dollars expected to cover temporary rental and business assistance, and protection for retail and food delivery workers. 

The funds stem from the relief package President Trump signed on March 27 designated for the COVID-19 crisis. Nationally, $5 billion in CDBG coronavirus funds will be distributed to local governments for their response to the pandemic. 

The grant dollars are expected to be disbursed in two parts by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with the first in late April and the second on a rolling basis, according to a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas passed Tuesday. 

More closely, of the $13.6 million, $5.37 million will be allocated to the five supervisorial districts for projects in the unincorporated areas of the county, such as Stevenson Ranch and Castaic within the Santa Clarita Valley. The projects, which will address COVID-19 needs among low- and moderate-income residents, will be implemented by the Los Angeles County Development Authority and its partner agencies, the motion read. 

“The CARES Act is a local lifeline. I think this is a good start,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose district covers the SCV.

The county will also receive $6.6 million in Emergency Solutions Grant funding, of which $6.3 million is expected to go toward projects to assist people experiencing homelessness and $264,000 for LACDA administration, the motion read. 

Emergency Rent Assistance program

The board also unanimously approved a proposal by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis to create an emergency rent assistance program from CDBG funds for families affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

When created, the program will offer up to $1,000 per month for three months to renters who have lost income due to the effects of the crisis, according to a Hahn news release. 

The board is expected to receive a plan for the program within 30 days. 

Protection for retail grocery and food delivery workers

Under an interim urgency ordinance authored by Ridley-Thomas and passed by the supervisors Tuesday, retailers and drug stores are now required to enhance sanitary practices and workplace safety protections on their premises. 

The ordinance, which went into effect immediately, also orders employers to provide sanitizing products and protective face coverings to help protect the health and safety of not only their employees but of customers and delivery workers. 

“As more guidelines are being placed for first responders, we must set stricter guidelines for those in the food and grocery sector. Food and grocery stores have become essential in this difficult time, and we do all that we can to support and protect them with the resources we have available, including appropriate protective equipment and policies,” said Ridley-Thomas in a prepared statement.

For all local coronavirus-related stories, visit: signalscv.com/2020/03/covid-19-coverage-summary.

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