Last night, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf hosted a virtual townhall in regards to the pandemic. You can view the townhall meeting here. Here’s a recap of what topics were covered:
General Info presented by Mayor Schaaf
- Main change is the extension of SIP to early May with new prohibitions
- Schools will not reconvene this school year
- Started testing site for first responders, and city employees
- 2 hotels are starting to get utilized – one for homeless, seniors (+ FEMA trailers arriving Friday)
- Update on school meals
- Oakland Covid-19 Fund: oaklandfund.org
- Violations of SIP can be reported through County’s website: acgov.org
- Mortgage banks are starting to offer 90-day payment holidays; BofA’s is during the length of this current SIP. Check with your lender.
Chanee Franklin Minor – Rent Adjustment Program manager
- Eviction and Rent Increase Moratorium (most prohibitive in state, passed by council last week) for most residential and commercial properties through end of May 31st. “Complete defense” for non-payment, landlords cannot charge late fees
- Courts are not taking action on eviction proceedings
- Moratorium on lockouts by Sheriff
- Oakland’s Housing Dept. is reaching out now to property owners to find further solutions
Daryel Dunston – Homeless Administrator
- Current on-the-ground measures: City has doubled # of encampments receiving hygiene services 3x/wk, plus increase in garbage collection. Also, ceased closure of encampments during this time.
- Strategic measures: Working with partners (such as shelter partners, CDC), measuring occupancy/trends
- Planning measures for a surge: Working with county partners for isolation and quarantine spaces
Jenna Gerry – senior attorney at Legal Aid at Work
- SF-based non-profit, assists low-income working families, offers free legal advice, and free virtual assistance for individuals that need it. More info on their website and FAQ: www.legalaidatwork.org
- 1.9 new unemployment claims in CA last month, 878k claims just last week. EDD wait times, 450 staff have been re-allocated to assist EDD.
- Main provisions for workers and how they may have been changed recently (Families First Coronavirus Response and CARES Acts).
- Sick leave:
- CA law= 3 days, Oakland= 5 days for small employers (<10 employees), otherwise 9 days
- Federal law now = 10 days of additional paid sick days paid by employer (if employer has 499 or fewer employees)
- Can be used for yourself or a family member due to Covid 19
- However, only available to those still employed. May not be available to you if your employer had to shut down.
- Up to $511/day.
- 2/3 pay if you’re using it for childcare due to a school or care closure, capped at $200/day.
- Clarified that days can be taken intermittently, except in the case that it’s because you are diagnosed/quarantined because of Covid 19 – in that case, the whole point is to take a chunk of time so that you can stay properly isolated or quarantined.
- Unemployment Benefits
- For unemployed or underemployed
- Usually: $50-$450/week up to 26 weeks
- Now: 3 big changes
- Increase of weekly benefits by $600/week + whatever you would have through July
- Additional 13 weeks of benefits (26 + 13 = 39 weeks)
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program: new program for independent contractors, gig workers, etc. but still getting set up/application not yet available. Would also be through EDD, but claims would be retroactive to January. Although many are miscategorized under CA law
- State Family Leave or State Disability not restricted to immigration documentation status. Available to you as long as it’s on your pay stub. Up to 60-70% of your income.
- Sick leave:
Alexa Jeffress – Director of Workforce Development (help for small businesses)
- City has posted a survey on its website, please participate. www.oaklandbusinesscenter.com
- City launched a Small Business Emergency Grant Program for very low-income business owners ($5k grants are very limited)
- SBA Disaster Loan (aka Economic Injury Assistance Loan) newly streamlined. Includes a $10k advance that can come to you in as little as 3 days. 3.75%, or 2.75% for non-profits.
- SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), forgivable for payroll and certain approved expenses. Available to sole proprietors. Available to 501c(3)s, churches and related organizations may be eligible. Review the SBA’s guidelines.
- Also look at other organizations:
- Kiva.org crowd-sourced loans up to $15k, Pacific Community Ventures, Working Solutions, Main Street Launch, among others
- There are also organizations working on grants and loans for artists and non-profit arts organizations. Those resources will also be listed on the website.
- Info on the commercial eviction moratorium also on their website.
- Businesses need to post a Social Distancing Protocol if they are continuing to operate (not remote).
- State level – free deferral of sales tax for eligible small businesses for up to 1 year without fines or penalties. covid19.ca.gov
- Tax – Alameda County will waive late fee for late payment of property taxes (form will become available)
- Oakland Chamber of Commerce is maintaining a list of businesses that are remaining open for restaurants take-out/delivery during SIP. Businesses can apply for a temporary white curb in front of their business.
Dr. Bechara Sukar – Kaiser
- Globally: 1M confirmed cases
- US: largest # of current cases
- Starting to see a flattening of the curve
- 70% of Kaiser’s outpatient care is now through telephone/virtual visits, more utilization of mail delivery of medications
- Good news: they are seeing a 40% decrease week over week of flu, cough, cold (leading indicators of future hospitalizations).
- Surge planning:
- Better equipped after past years’ experience with power outages, etc.
- Surge space planning/preparation is in process
- Seeing uptick in testing, test availability, primarily for first responders
Congresswoman Barbara Lee
- 1st package: $8.3B, included $3B for development of treatments and vaccines, $2B for Public Health (including funding for community health centers, free testing but test kits, PPE, ventilators are still in short supply)
- 2nd package, Families First Coronavirus Response Act: strengthened unemployment benefits, food assistance program funding, additional Medicare funding
- 3rd package, CARES Act: $2T bill, includes funding for state/local governments, more unemployment insurance benefits, small business and non-profit relief
- Lee is on the Appropriations Committee – fought for clarifications that checks also go to seniors
- Maxine Waters has fought for funding to help stabilize affordable housing
- There will be a 4th bill – invites input on our/Mayor’s priorities for Oakland.