June 15, 2021 11:30 AM
by Anuj Gupta
At the June 8 City Council meeting, staff representing the City’s Economic Recovery Task Force provided a comprehensive update and progress report marking one year of community-wide economic recovery efforts focused on supporting vulnerable populations, advancing local business and neighborhood vitality, promoting safe indoor and outdoor spaces, and sharing a robust communications and engagement effort. Watch the presentation in this video and see the presentation slides here.
Thank you to our entire community for your work to support recovery efforts. There is more work to do, but here’s a recap of some of the work done over the past year to accelerate Santa Monica’s Economic Recovery:
- Over $1.15 Million raised for the We Are Santa Monica Fund that supports COVID-19 relief for Santa Monica residents including rent relief and meals, business recovery, and advancing racial equity in our community. Recently funded projects include the ThanksGIVING food giveaway event with SMC, food boxes at the Virginia Avenue Park Emergency Food Pantry, creation of the Black Agenda, and soon the Fund will support small business recovery grants.
- Over $2.8 million in rental assistance provided to 640 Santa Monica families to keep residents in their homes and connected an additional 300 Santa Monica families with up to $10,000 in rent relief funded by state and county programs.
- Established the Virginia Avenue Park Emergency Food Pantry that has distributed over 10,000 boxes of food and feeds over 250 families weekly.
- Actively working to create the Virginia Avenue Park Commercial Kitchen which will be a fully licensed community-led commercial kitchen that will serve as a small business incubator and offer kitchen rentals for local businesses.
- Produced community resources in English and Spanish to support Santa Monicans with finding employment including local training and search services for job seekers, an active “Local Hire” jobs board that has posted over 150 Santa Monica jobs, an Entrepreneur Series that addressed topics like starting a business, product ideation, business plans, and more, and a Calling All Chefs series that focused on bringing together local chefs and restaurant owners to share their entrepreneurial journey with aspiring chefs.
- Helped connect Santa Monica parents and local childcare providers through provision of timely information and assisted local childcare centers with staying open and/or reopening throughout the pandemic so that Santa Monicans can work.
- Expanded use of public outdoor space for business activity allowing for increased dining, fitness, personal care services, and retail. Parklets, sidewalks, and private property was reimagined and used to ensure that more people can safely experience Santa Monica in accordance with public health and safety distancing requirements. The Ocean Avenue Boardwalk and drive-in experiences were created to support local business and neighborhood vitality.
- The Art of Recovery project harnessed the power of the arts by completing over 14 projects with over 50 artists so far. Efforts included the Main Street Al Fresco K-rail dividers, the Día de los Muertos installations, Bob Baker’s Windows of Wonderment at the Santa Monica Pier, the Rose River Memorial project, and many more. Over 50 artists have participated in this project, and 13 more projects are upcoming.
- Created the Santa Monica Shines COVID-19 Assurance Program ensuring Santa Monica employees are equipped with information about the changing public health requirements and shows Santa Monica’s ongoing commitment to public health to people visiting our businesses. Businesses who have completed the program have gone above and beyond to ensure the community feels safe and comfortable when visiting our stores. So far, over 265 businesses have registered, over 635 employees have been trained, and 124 businesses have fully completed the program.
- Comprehensive communication and outreach efforts were implemented to expand the reach and awareness of the economic recovery efforts. Highlights include the launch of santamonica.gov/economicrecovery and santamonicashines.com that features consumer facing information about the assurance program, business specials, and more, weekly social media messages and bi-weekly emails sent to over 10,000 business contacts, distribution of over 8,000 health and safety signs and 50,000 free masks to local businesses to support reopening efforts and ongoing education. Over 300 earned media placements and a 12-part “Santa Monica Shines” series addressed a broad range of topics like local volunteer opportunities, jobs, childcare, and buying local. Specific outreach efforts focused on buying local over the holidays and keeping our public spaces clean were deployed city-wide, and work continues to create a shared identity that will assist with future economic recovery efforts with a community survey launching later this month.
For more information, visit www.santamonica.gov/economicrecovery.
Deputy City Manager