So many updates from City Hall as we (mostly) shelter in place:
Sup. Hillary Ronen announced this morning that she and others are working on plans to help gig workers who are struggling:
A plan is in development for independent contractors and non-traditional workers.
The City is lobbying strongly for large expansions to Federal and State wage replacement programs. Once those programs are announced, the City will create a wage assistance program to fill any gaps.
Stay tuned. Artists, domestic workers, stagehands, day laborers, sole proprietors, and more, help is on the way.
Sup. Dean Preston is asking the developer of 555 Fulton to make available for vulnerable homeless people the 53 units that are completed, ready for occupancy, but unsold.
“Families with children are sleeping on mats on a shelter floor in my district, and we know a considerable portion of our unsheltered population are seniors, the most at-risk demographic for contracting the coronavirus,” said Preston. “We know that preventing the spread of coronavirus depends greatly on keeping people housed to the best of our ability. The property at 555 Fulton Street presents an opportunity to help meet this need. … Given the severity of this health crisis, and the importance of shelter-in-place directives, we believe any and all vacant units should be looked at by the city for temporary occupancy. Lives are at stake.”
That development is part of the ongoing DPW and DBI scandal.
It’s by no means the only building in the city that’s ready for occupancy but vacant.By some accounts, there are thousands of empty apartments in San Francisco that could be used during the crisis.
“For landlords who have vacant buildings, now is the time to step up and make those units available,” Preston said at today’s board meeting.
Sups. Ronen and Preston have introduced legislation to ban commercial evictions for small businesses that can’t pay rent because of a loss or revenue. “The fear of eviction and default among small businesses is real and growing,” Preston said.
Gov. Newson has issued an executive order allowing cities the authority to limit evictions.
Mayor London Breed is also demanding a moratorium on commercial evictions: “Now that the Governor has waived laws allowing us to prevent commercial evictions, we are taking action to make sure that our small businesses are not displaced as a result of the economic impact caused by coronavirus,” she said. “We will continue to push for more immediate state and federal support in addition to the programs we’ve introduced locally, because this pandemic is having major widespread economic impacts on almost every business and resident in our city.”
Ronen has been working to create a $20 million line of credit that would allow loans of up to $15,000 at zero interest to businesses with $1.5 million in gross receipts or less. She’s also authored a resolution calling on grocery stores to hold special hours for seniors and other vulnerable populations.
Sup. Sandra Lee Fewer called on the Department of Disability and Aging Services to expedite its process for screening volunteers. She asked that anyone who is healthy and able-bodied look for ways to volunteer at food pantries and food-delivery services for homebound people.
Fewer noted that the budget process will have to change as we address the financial impacts of the crisis.
At some point, the billionaires in this city, the multimillionaires, and the very successful and rich businesses particularly in the tech sector, which are not hit as hard by the crisis, are going to have to help pay their fair share.