City Launches COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program and Provides Free Meals to School Aged Children and Families

July 1, 2020 2:13 PM

 City Launches COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program and Provides Free Meals to School Aged Children and Families

SANTA MONICA, Calif.  The City of Santa Monica Housing Human Services Division collaborates with local organizations to help provide rent and food relief to struggling residents and their families through the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. Rent and food support were prioritized through the City’s restructuring and budget reduction efforts and come as COVID-19 Safer at Home orders are again increased in LA County as cases and hospitalizations rise. 

 

“We’ve heard loud and clear from our most vulnerable residents that making rent and putting food on the table are urgent concerns,” said Mayor Kevin McKeown.  "These two new crucial basic-need programs are meant to help our neighbors most at risk.  Your City is very clear that we’re all in this together, and we continue not only to fight the spread of COVID-19 but to support those of us most impacted by the pandemic’s effect on jobs and the economy.” 

 

The Santa Monica COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance program application will launch on Tuesday, July 7, 2020to provide rental funds to eligible Santa Monica residents who demonstrate a loss of income or increase in expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program aligns with the City’s Economic Recovery Task Force focused on developing and supporting measures to help Santa Monica businesses and residents recover during and after this unprecedented crisis. 

 

The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide eligible applicants up to three months of rental assistance to pay rent for August 2020 or later, up to $5,000 per household, for up to an estimated 300 householdsThe program does not cover back rent deferred by the local eviction moratoriumEligible applications will be entered into a lottery for final selection. 

 

Rental assistance payments will be made directly to landlords or property management companies on behalf of qualifying Santa Monica residents.  The City will partner with St. Joseph Center, a local nonprofit organization with rental assistance experience to low-income populations, to expedite the review of applications and the payment of emergency rental assistance to landlords on behalf of Santa Monica residents.  

 

Online applications will be available in multiple languages. Paper applications will be available for pick up at the Thelma Terry building at Virginia Avenue Park, 2200 Virginia Avenue, Santa Monica, 90404. The application deadline is noon,Friday, July 17, 2020. Online applications and program details available at santamonica.gov/coronavirus-renthelp 

 

In addition to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, the City has opened its free summer lunch program this week for school-aged children at Virginia Avenue Park. The program is a collaborationwith The Way Forward Foundation, and the Department of Education, and offers free grab-and-go meals Monday through Friday at Virginia Avenue Park outside of the Patio Room just north of the Thelma Terry buildingAll meals meet the nutritional requirements established by the United States Department of Agriculture and will be distributed June 29 – August 14, 2020 between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. (meals will not be served Friday, July 3 due to the holiday). Adults can pick up a bag lunch for each school-age child in their household without a child present due to COVID 19 safety guidelines until supplies last. This service is walk up only. For more information about the lunch program, call 310-458-8688 or email vap@smgov.net. 

 

The City also operates a COVID-19 Emergency Pantry at Virginia Avenue Park in partnership with the Westside Food Pantry. Pre-assembled food bags, one per household are available by appointment only to low-income Santa Monica residents and/or families with children enrolled in SMMUSD schools. For appointments, individuals can call (424) 410-1354, Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm. 

 

Information about Virginia Avenue Park programs available at smgov.net/vapark. For information about local COVID-19 Community Resources, visit santamonica.gov/community-resources. 

 

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