News

With $1M in federal aid, Mountain View pours more money into renter relief

Mountain View committed $500,000 to help those who can't keep up with rent. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Faced with a prolonged pandemic wreaking havoc on the local economy, the Mountain View City Council agreed Tuesday to pour more money into renter relief and small business loans.

The unanimous decision is the latest round of cash to be pumped into the city's COVID-19 relief effort, and is a direct result of $1 million in CARES Act funding awarded to the city. Of the money, $500,000 was immediately routed to Community Services Agency (CSA) to help families who are struggling to stay housed while out of work.

The council also earmarked another $250,000 for zero-interest loans to small businesses struggling to survive since the pandemic began earlier this year, though it's unclear how popular the program will be. Some council members argued the city needs to shift gears and start providing outright grants if it wants to see small businesses survive.

To date, a bulk of the city's COVID-19 support has come in the form of renter relief, burning through millions of dollars since March to help renters who are at risk of losing their home because they are out of work as a result of the pandemic. County officials and nonprofit leaders have referred to the problem as an eviction time bomb waiting to go off, as tens of thousands of tenants fall behind on rental payments.

Though data is sparse on whether a time bomb is coming here in Mountain View, the city has spent big to avoid the problem. Before Tuesday, the City had poured $2.6 million into the renter relief program, which has helped 963 households with at least one month of rent. Checks are made directly to landlords, and average $2,000.

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With $700,000 left in the program and 403 still-pending applications, it's expected that CSA will burn through the rest of the cash soon. To that end, council members devoted $500,000 of the CARES Act money for CSA to use as they see fit, which will likely be funneled into rent relief and other emergency financial assistance programs.

Alongside renter relief, the city has run a small business loan program that has provided 71 businesses with $7,000 zero-percent interest loans, to be paid back in three years. On Monday, the program relaunched with $277,000 left in the fund, with the maximum loan amount doubled at $15,000.

Council members agreed to fund the small business loan program with $250,000 from the CARES Act money, but not without some hesitation. Councilman Lucas Ramirez said the county could very well launch its own, much larger $100 million small business relief program in the coming weeks, raising concerns that the city would be funding a duplicate and unneeded service to small businesses. He said the city should be ready to revert that money to other needs if that comes to pass.

Council members Lisa Matichak and John McAlister said they would prefer a small business grant program. McAlister, a business owner, said he too is going through the struggles of COVID-19, and that many may be reluctant to go deeper into debt when there's no guarantee they'll be able to pay it back.

"I think the grant program is actually the best way because you give immediate help for people," McAlister said. "It's immediate, it takes care of some concerns and hopefully it can get you through the next month or two months."

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McAlister also raised concerns that the automatic minimum wage increases will put even more pressure on businesses, and that the city might want to reconsider that as well.

"When you see small businesses going out, that is going to be part of the reason they're going out," McAlister said. "The wages are going up and the income is not coming in."

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With $1M in federal aid, Mountain View pours more money into renter relief

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, Nov 11, 2020, 1:31 pm

Faced with a prolonged pandemic wreaking havoc on the local economy, the Mountain View City Council agreed Tuesday to pour more money into renter relief and small business loans.

The unanimous decision is the latest round of cash to be pumped into the city's COVID-19 relief effort, and is a direct result of $1 million in CARES Act funding awarded to the city. Of the money, $500,000 was immediately routed to Community Services Agency (CSA) to help families who are struggling to stay housed while out of work.

The council also earmarked another $250,000 for zero-interest loans to small businesses struggling to survive since the pandemic began earlier this year, though it's unclear how popular the program will be. Some council members argued the city needs to shift gears and start providing outright grants if it wants to see small businesses survive.

To date, a bulk of the city's COVID-19 support has come in the form of renter relief, burning through millions of dollars since March to help renters who are at risk of losing their home because they are out of work as a result of the pandemic. County officials and nonprofit leaders have referred to the problem as an eviction time bomb waiting to go off, as tens of thousands of tenants fall behind on rental payments.

Though data is sparse on whether a time bomb is coming here in Mountain View, the city has spent big to avoid the problem. Before Tuesday, the City had poured $2.6 million into the renter relief program, which has helped 963 households with at least one month of rent. Checks are made directly to landlords, and average $2,000.

With $700,000 left in the program and 403 still-pending applications, it's expected that CSA will burn through the rest of the cash soon. To that end, council members devoted $500,000 of the CARES Act money for CSA to use as they see fit, which will likely be funneled into rent relief and other emergency financial assistance programs.

Alongside renter relief, the city has run a small business loan program that has provided 71 businesses with $7,000 zero-percent interest loans, to be paid back in three years. On Monday, the program relaunched with $277,000 left in the fund, with the maximum loan amount doubled at $15,000.

Council members agreed to fund the small business loan program with $250,000 from the CARES Act money, but not without some hesitation. Councilman Lucas Ramirez said the county could very well launch its own, much larger $100 million small business relief program in the coming weeks, raising concerns that the city would be funding a duplicate and unneeded service to small businesses. He said the city should be ready to revert that money to other needs if that comes to pass.

Council members Lisa Matichak and John McAlister said they would prefer a small business grant program. McAlister, a business owner, said he too is going through the struggles of COVID-19, and that many may be reluctant to go deeper into debt when there's no guarantee they'll be able to pay it back.

"I think the grant program is actually the best way because you give immediate help for people," McAlister said. "It's immediate, it takes care of some concerns and hopefully it can get you through the next month or two months."

McAlister also raised concerns that the automatic minimum wage increases will put even more pressure on businesses, and that the city might want to reconsider that as well.

"When you see small businesses going out, that is going to be part of the reason they're going out," McAlister said. "The wages are going up and the income is not coming in."

Comments

Welfare for Landlords
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Nov 11, 2020 at 2:33 pm
Welfare for Landlords, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Nov 11, 2020 at 2:33 pm
12 people like this

A few million dollars is peanuts.
& "Checks are made directly to landlords, and an average $2,000."


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2020 at 3:10 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 11, 2020 at 3:10 pm
25 people like this

I hope that Allison Hick proposes that all rents lawfully paid during the COVID be pro rated to the market rates and not the previous rent rates.

This will drop the rents by 38% given the latest Zumper reports found here (Web Link a One Bedroom apartment.

Or at the very least only provide the 25% rent amounts to those under the program so that more renters can access the benefits for a longer time.


Otherwise Allison Hicks correctly pointed out that by not doing so, the City is paying inflated rents out of federal, state, and local money.

Private landlords are NOT entitled to it.


Dan Waylonis
Registered user
Jackson Park
on Nov 11, 2020 at 3:10 pm
Dan Waylonis, Jackson Park
Registered user
on Nov 11, 2020 at 3:10 pm
14 people like this

Perhaps some people don't realize that landlords need to pay their mortgages or costs as well as renters? And the banks are much less likely to be as forgiving. A much better answer is for the draconian business limitations passed by Newsom to be repealed. Residents can choose the level of risk that they're comfortable with and can continue to practice best practices for staying healthy AND interact with businesses and customers.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2020 at 3:37 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 11, 2020 at 3:37 pm
21 people like this

In response to Dan Waylonis you wrote:

“Perhaps some people don't realize that landlords need to pay their mortgages or costs as well as renters?”

They have their Ellis Act rights to sell the property or go out of business, they are not ENTITLED to any SPECIAL treatment. You wrote:

“And the banks are much less likely to be as forgiving.”

the “BANKS” made the mistake of providing loans of properties which had inflated and manipulated property values that were not accurate. They are ENTITLED to correct for that problem. The “INVESTORS” or the “BUYERS” choose to take their ACTIONS and they are responsible for their own ACTIONS, not the City. You wrote:

“A much better answer is for the draconian business limitations passed by Newsom to be repealed.”

The problem with that is by statute both the Federal and State Public Health laws require RISK AVOIDANCE and not RISK MANAGEMENT so when you said:

“Residents can choose the level of risk that they're comfortable with and can continue to practice best practices for staying healthy AND interact with businesses and customers.”

In effect that is the worst FALSE logic I have ever heard. Unless all people will have to agree that they are both criminally and civilly liable for the injuries or deaths they cause. The WHOLE point of the PUBLIC HEALTH laws is to remove that responsibility. In order to do this, we would be required to prove 100% contact tracing and the ability to document the infection pathways. WE CAN’T DO THAT, AT LEAST NOT YET.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2020 at 3:46 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 11, 2020 at 3:46 pm
15 people like this

OMG,

The latest COVID Blueprint update for Nov. 9, 2020 is out regarding Santa Clara County, we are now back in the Code Red state.(Web Link)

Its just a matter of time an announcement of the change will happen. The Adjusted rate went up .9 a relative change of 28% plus.

It is just a matter of time.


Tal Shaya
Registered user
another community
on Nov 13, 2020 at 8:22 am
Tal Shaya, another community
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2020 at 8:22 am
26 people like this

"Residents can choose the level of risk"

I choose not to be put at risk by other people's lack of concern or sheer stupidity.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 13, 2020 at 11:09 am
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2020 at 11:09 am
6 people like this

Given that COVID is raging out of control. THe Feds, State, County and City are GOING to be REQUIRED to extend eviction restrictions for a while.

The Disease itself even with the best projections will take 2 years to get under control if we get a vaccine TODAY.

The Jobs and Economy are predicted to not recover until 2024.

In fact Powell says our previous economic situation is now GONE for GOOD.

The City is going to have to do something in a short time.

And sorry but the "workers" nor the "businesses" in reality have no way to prevent it.

The City better get as much as $10 Million a year budgeted for rental assistance at the minimum per quarter, or many landlords will be out of business.

But I don't see how that can be arranged with the crash of revenues the City has.


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