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Please amend "tenant assistance" fund for greater flexibility to respond to COVID-19 impacts

From: domainremoved <Karen>
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2020 01:28:23 +0000

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Dear Mayor Taylor, City Council and Staff,

Thank you for your leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic. These are times that test a community and Im grateful to you all for acting with the clear-eyed consideration and decisiveness the moment calls for.

Im glad to see the recommendation to amend the grant agreement with Samaritan House to provide them with additional flexibility to keep Menlo Park residents housed during this crisis, but I hope we can go farther and do better.

Given the extraordinary circumstances we face today, and the decades-long track record of Samaritan House in serving our most vulnerable residents with innovative, efficient, comprehensive life-saving social services, please give Samaritan House full flexibility to keep Menlo Park residents housed whether they rent or own, and regardless of what is causing them financial pressures that can lead to homelessness or other crises.

People may need rent AND utility assistance, for example; or they may need money for vital medications. Homeowners may need assistance to keep their homes. In fact, with the recently passed county-wide eviction moratorium, homeowners may be at higher risk of losing their homes than renters. This is just one example of how quickly things are changing and for that reason, its in our best interest as a community to give our front-line helpers (Samaritan House) the ability to do their work without artificial barriers we choose to impose on them.

I realize this fund was intended to fill the gaps related to our tenant relocation ordinance and I understand the desire to honor that intent. But we are in an epic public health and economic crisis and we should act with consideration and integrity -- in response to the moment we are in rather than the moment that was.

Im writing as a resident of Menlo Park, but my primary occupation is as chair of the Grove Foundation. I can tell you that philanthropies across the board are recognizing the importance of unrestricted general operating support particularly in this moment. Grants that were written as project support are being amended to be unrestricted general support. Grants due to be paid later in the year are being paid now. Regional response funds are setting up to provide general operating support to front-line organizations such as Samaritan House. We should too.

Please accept my alternate amendment to the Tenant Relocation Fund, attached.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Received on Wed Mar 25 2020 - 18:30:50 PDT

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