Riverside County Unveils COVID-19 Rent Assistance Program, Plans to Review Law Enforcement Policies

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Riverside County officials said on Friday they were responding to the coronavirus pandemic, economic recovery and racial inequality as intertwined issues that must be addressed in tandem.

One way to achieve this will be a rent relief program of up to $ 3,500 for landlords and tenants, Supervisory Board Chairman V. Manuel Perez said, noting that racism institutional impact has had an impact on housing, education and employment.

The program will provide up to three months of financial assistance, with no repayment required, benefiting up to 10,000 households. The only qualification is the documentation that you couldn’t pay rent due to the pandemic, Perez said.

“Now we also have to face institutional racism and the fact that it has been over our heads, our dark cloud, for centuries,” he said. “But with this rental assistance program, it’s one way Riverside County is proud to support its people.

People can apply for money from the Riverside County Rental Relief Fund whether they live in a city or an unincorporated area. Applications will open on June 22.

It will be funded with up to $ 30 million available to the county under the CARES Act, as well as with help from two nonprofits, Perez said.

The president also said he would present two measures related to racial justice at Tuesday’s board meeting: one is a resolution to support the charges against four officers involved in the death of George Floyd, and the other would initiate a review of the county sheriff’s department police policies.

“We want to take this time to review our policing and recruiting procedures and assess how we are doing and identify any opportunities for improvement,” he said. “There are bad apples in everything we do.

But Perez added that he was “proud” of the work of the sheriff’s department.

The board will also discuss a proposal to launch a nonprofit relief fund to help more than 400 organizations affected by the pandemic at its meeting on Tuesday.

In California, the black community has experienced the highest number of coronavirus deaths per 100,000 people, followed by the indigenous community – at 16.7% and 10.1%, respectively.

“Not only do we face racism. But we also need to understand that this epidemic impacts mostly communities of color and disproportionately on African Americans and the Latino community, ”said Perez.

But Riverside County does not experience the same level of COVID-19 disparities reported elsewhere, according to Kim Saruwatari, county public health director.

The Latinx population accounts for 46% of deaths and 45% of the population, whites make up 38% of the population and 37% of deaths, and blacks 6% of the population and just over 8% of deaths. Saruwatari noted that the county’s data is incomplete, with no ethnicity reported in 30% of cases and 3% of deaths.

Saruwatari said officials are also working to improve the health of minority residents beyond the pandemic.

“We in public health have seen the health disparities that have wreaked havoc in communities of color and resulted in higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and low birth weight. infants, ”she said. “These are problems created by a system that discriminates against a segment of the population, and it has taken generations to get us to where we are now. This must change.

As of Friday, nearly 8,800 cases of COVID-19 were reported in the county, killing 355. But officials say more than half of those infected – about 5,150 people – have recovered.

Coronavirus hospitalizations have been fairly stable over the past few weeks, although there was a small jump around Wednesday that authorities “will continue to monitor,” Saruwatari said.

“However, even with this jump, we are still well within the state’s guideline of 5% change between given days,” she added.

Saruwatari noted that the county’s positivity rate rose to 8% on Wednesday, which she said underscores the importance for as many people as possible to get tested “so that we have a better idea of ​​the place. where the virus is in our community, and where the virus is not.

Although the county has overturned its order requiring face coverings to meet state guidelines, they are still highly recommended when in public, supervisor Karen Spiegel said.

“We will not be able to continue taking these next steps and opening additional businesses if we lose control of this virus,” she said.

Also on Friday, the state announced it would move to phase 3 of its reopening plan. This means gymnasiums, bars, schools can reopen and professional sports can resume with changes from next Friday.

Schools and day camps can open immediately statewide. But counties will have to meet certain criteria on the number of cases, testing and preparation before the reopening of other areas is approved.

Riverside County was granted permission to move to the Fast-Track Phase 2 of the governor’s plan late last month. It is not known whether he will be qualified to move immediately to Phase 3. Spiegel said officials are awaiting further guidance from the state before they can make the decision.

So far, shopping malls, churches, swap meetups, barber shops and eateries have been allowed to reopen with modifications in Riverside County.

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