The city’s response to COVID-19 has been adequate at best, and too late at worst. While we’re just now appearing to see the light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel, there is a lot we could have done to mitigate this disaster before we got to this point. We also should be focused on getting our teachers and small business owners back to work safely rather than focusing on whether or not the playgrounds are reopening. Here are some of my plans for recovering from COVID as quickly and effectively as possible:
- Provide rental assistance to renters in need. COVID has decimated our local and national economy and job market. We need to make sure that everyone has the same opportunity to get back on their feet. Which is why the city of Irvine needs to step in to make sure we all have that opportunity, by providing rental assistance to everyone who needs it.
- Keep mom and pop landlords in business with rental assistance. Ensuring that mom and pop type landlords can still cover their own bills and income while potentially not receiving rent from their tenants is a problem the City Council should be able to stop in and solve. Irvine has done a small part of this, with a Rental Assistance program that helps tenet pay their rent, helping both the tenets (by covering part of their rent) and the landlords (by getting money in their hands). The current RA program is funded using federal CARES Act funding and so it is not majorly affecting our city budget. I propose that we continue this program until the local economy is strong enough to self support once again. LA County has set up programs to help landlords and property owners prevent foreclosure and I would be heavily in favor of Orange County and the city of Irvine enacting a similar service.
- Provide PPE and safety equipment to small business in Irvine. One of the biggest obstacles when reopening is the sheer cost of doing so in a way that fulfills all state guidelines. As a city I believe this is something that we can help alleviate. The City of Irvine should help our small business owners reopen by providing PPE and safety equipment so that they can get our economy back on its feet. Doing so also fosters a safety-focused community environment, something we all need in these trying times.