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County supervisors to vote on eviction ban, assistance fund

 
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San Mateo County supervisors on Tuesday, March 24, will consider a pair of actions to relieve financial stress caused by the novel coronavirus crisis.

The measures are an emergency regulation that would ban evicting tenants suffering financially during the emergency for nonpayment of rent and an emergency $3 million "San Mateo County Strong" fund to help residents, nonprofit organizations and small businesses.

The Board of Supervisors meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the board chambers at the Hall of Justice in Redwood City.

"Our county's most vulnerable residents and small businesses have been hit the hardest by this crisis," County Manager Mike Callagy said in a news release. "The impacts from COVID-19 have been swift and far-reaching."

The emergency eviction ban is intended to protect renters in the 105,000 rental units countywide from being evicted as they deal with lost work hours and health concerns during the shelter-in-place order.

"Job loss, cutbacks in work hours, staying home with school-age children, caring for a stricken loved one, or becoming ill with the disease would qualify under the emergency protections," the county said.

County departments are developing a process for renters to petition landlords for rent relief, officials said.

If the emergency order is approved, tenants would be liable for back rent 180 days following the termination of the emergency. Supervisors and the county manager will review the emergency regulation as needs dictate.

The San Mateo County Strong Fund would provide $3 million in emergency aid to assist prescreened individuals and families; small businesses; and nonprofit organizations that serve the community's most vulnerable residents, the board said.

Funds would come from Measure K, a half-cent, voter-approved sales tax extension and would be administered by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The foundation would seek additional donors and the fund would only be available to San Mateo County residents, nonprofits and businesses.

The county, the foundation and the San Mateo County Economic Development Association are creating a website where donors can add to the fund and those in need can apply for assistance.

"San Mateo County's residents and businesses, and especially our small businesses and sole proprietors who do not qualify for unemployment benefits, are reeling from this crisis," said Rosanne Foust, SAMCEDA president and CEO.

The Board of Supervisors meeting will not be open to the public due to the shelter-in-place order, but a video broadcast will be available at sanmateocounty.legistar.com. Comments can be submitted by email to boardfeedback@smcgov.org.

— Bay City News Service

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