This is a challenging and scary time for you and our community. My staff and I are working extremely hard to address concerns and keep our community safe. I will be sending out periodic updates that I hope you find helpful. Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.
What we are doing:
1. Coordinating with Federal, State and City officials- I am actively coordinating with other government entities on issues of health, support for individuals and small businesses, and making sure information is shared during this evolving health emergency.
2. Coordinating the Health Response-The County Health Services Agency is leading the local health response. Check this website for local COVID-19 information and updates including the Shelter in Place Order, additional important guidance and useful FAQs.
3. Eviction Protection- Supervisor Leopold and I are bringing a resolution to the Board of Supervisors urging the County to enact a moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial properties affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The resolution will be considered at the Board's March 24 meeting.
4. Supporting Small Business- On Friday, March 20 at 3pm, the Santa Cruz County Economic Development Office is holding a webinar to provide COVID-19 guidance and resources for Santa Cruz County businesses. Click here to join the webinar, which will also be telecast on Community TV's channels 27/71. In addition, the City of Santa Cruz has been compiling and updating information and resources for businesses impacted by COVID-19. You can find information here.
5. Supporting Individuals-
Food & Insurance: Many residents are suddenly losing their jobs and income due to the COVID-19 impact. You may be entitled to food assistance (CalFresh), CalWORKs Cash Aid, and/or Medi-Cal Health Benefits. Apply online at GetCalFresh or https://www.mybenefitscalwin.org/. You can also apply by phone by calling 1 (888) 421-8080 Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Property Taxes: While property tax payment dates are set in the state code, the local Tax Collector has the legal right to waive penalties and interest charges when a payment is made late if the late situation is due to "circumstances beyond the taxpayer's control." Usually this is considered to be a death of someone on title, emergency medical situations, elder care situations, etc., but each case is considered individually. You can visit the Santa Cruz County Treasurer Tax Collector's website here.
6. Protecting the Homeless- The County is working with City of Santa Cruz on a variety of efforts to protect our local homeless residents. Special care is being taken to serve the elderly and chronically ill homeless population. Shelters continue to operate, taking precautions to keep shelter guests safe.
What you can do:
1. Follow the Shelter In Place Order. Here is a helpful Shelter in Place FAQ. Please also follow Social Distancing Guidelines and self-isolation for older adults and those who have elevated risk.
2. Support our Non-Profits
The Second Harvest Food Bank is continuing to distribute food through their distribution sites during these challenging times.
Meals on Wheels is delivering meals to residents all over our County. You can support or volunteer for food delivery here.
The Community Foundation of Santa Cruz county has established a COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Fund. You can donate now to protect public health and support our most vulnerable people. You can donate to the fund here.
3. Support Small Businesses- Many of our beloved small businesses are being hit incredibly hard by this crisis. Please do what you can do support them. Consider buying take out food or gift cards from local businesses. Where you spend your dollars over the coming months will have a profound impact our community's economy.
Thank you to our Local Heroes
Our local health workers, emergency responders, grocery workers, and more are going above and beyond to help us get through this. We can never thank them enough! And thank YOU for taking care of yourselves, sheltering in place, and for helping your neighbors.
TEDx- The Art of Hope
TEDx Santa Cruz recently held an event called "The Art of Hope" featuring local speakers and performers who explored The Art of Hope from nearly every angle. I was honored to give a TEDx talk called Local Government: Where Democracy Lives. If you're in need of a hopeful diversion while you practice social distancing, you can watch my TEDx talk here.