October 7, 2021 3:09 PM
by Anuj Gupta
As the Santa Monica community continues to demonstrate its resilience to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is worth highlighting all of the continuing efforts being made across our community to help the people and businesses of Santa Monica along the way to help recovery. Here is a summary of some of the programs that made a noticeable impact:
1. Rental support – Connecting our commercial and residential tenants and landlords with rental support programs remains a priority. To date, nearly 2,300 Santa Monica households have applied for over $ 36 million in government rental subsidies, and 60 commercial tenants in the city have benefited from rent reduction assistance. Santa Monica residential and commercial real estate landlords and tenants can also access free referral assistance and the latest information about the business through a partnership with Pepperdine’s Straus Institute Eviction moratoriumwhich expired on September 30th.
2. Rent locally – Santa Monica has helped our local businesses by creating a Hire Local Jobs Board and distributing information to raise awareness of this new resource. So far, 360 vacancies have been advertised in 75 different companies with the aim of connecting our 4,200 job-seeking residents with our local business world, which is looking for new employees. Check out the latest entries at santamonica.gov/hirelocal.
3. childcare – Supporting our small business childcare providers has been critical to ensuring parents and carers can get back to work during the pandemic. The city has provided vouchers to 141 Santa Monica families to support childcare costs and grants (an average of $ 700 each) for educational materials to 76 childcare providers. In addition, the city has created a website where residents can find local licensed childcare facilities sorted by district.
4th Emergency pantry – In April 2020, we set up an emergency pantry in Virginia Avenue Park. It has served 200 families a week. It’s now an ongoing effort monitored by the Westside Food Bank thanks to over $ 300,000 in community donations to the We Are Santa Monica Fund.
5. Small Business Scholarships – To supplement losses and unexpected expenses resulting from COVID-19, the SaMo Small Business Recovery Grant program has distributed 78 grants totaling $ 5,000 to small businesses in Santa Monica. 475 local companies applied and the scholars were selected through a randomized online application system administered by Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Over $ 390,000 has been raised to local businesses to date thanks to generous community members, business leaders, and nonprofits who have donated to the We Are Santa Monica Fund and the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce Foundation with Santa Monica City funding.
6th Virginia Avenue Park Commercial Kitchen – The city is also making progress in its efforts to create new space for businesses looking for commercial space to prepare food. $ 640,000 in funding has been secured from public and private sources, an architect has been identified and enrolled, and work is now beginning. The employees are working on identifying a kitchen operator this fall.
7th Santa Monica outdoors – Knowing that 96% of Santa Monica residents want to eat and shop outdoors, Santa Monica has encouraged the move of business to the open air. Over 170 companies now offer third-party services, with 79% of companies reporting higher profits from Parklet businesses. The building rules have also been adapted to new needs and the city is currently working on developing a permanent outdoor program for the city council in 2022. The city will continue to focus on cutting red tape and streamlining permits to allow local businesses Can go outdoors operation in just one day.
8th. Share an open main road – Three weekends turning the street into a pedestrian mall supported over 300 stores on Main Street, creating more space for the entire community to reconnect with friends and neighbors, eat al fresco, shop, live Enjoy entertainment and activities and experience the road in a new and exciting way. This program is led by the Main Street Business Improvement Association and the Ocean Park Association and builds on the successful Al Fresco sidewalk and parklet project that was launched at the beginning of the pandemic. Visit us on the last weekend, which is scheduled from October 16-17.
9. Art of recreation – Local artists have turned some of the city’s most iconic landmarks and public spaces into living works of art, focusing on themes: economic recovery, racial justice and cultural equality, wellbeing and public health, and community bonding. Since August 2020, this program has funded 24 art projects with over 100 artists and strengthened and networked our entire community. Recent works include Birds in the Moon Opera, co-produced with Broad Stage and Downtown Santa Monica, and Americana in the Park, co-produced with McCabe’s Guitar Shop.
10. We are santa monica fund – The city established the We Are Santa Monica Fund to support critical community needs that are not funded by the city’s general fund. To date, private donors and corporations have contributed $ 1.3 million in support of the Santa Monica Recovery, the Santa Monica Black Agenda, and the Emergency Food Pantry. As of June 2021, $ 500,000 has been distributed to meet immediate reopening and recreational needs such as food insecurity and the small business grant program. Many thanks to our generous donors, and the entire We Are Santa Monica Fund Advisory Board, which began meeting this summer. If you want to support future needs, click here!
Many of these programs have been achieved over the past 18 months thanks to the hard work and dedication of our residents, the business community, and the city’s staff who have worked together to experiment with new ideas, test process improvements, and connections between private and public platforms. What is important is that the built area of Santa Monica, thanks to previous investments and strategic planning efforts focused on mobility and access, distinctive pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, technology investments such as our CityNet fiber optic network, and advanced plans such as the element of land use and circulation, and much more. In terms of short, medium and long-term opportunities to accelerate our recovery, the city will implement projects such as the Plan to Stabilize the Promenade on Third Street and the Plan for Economic Vitality, the Housing Element, Creating a Common Identity, Supporting Our Workers , Preparing a beach management and master plan and preparing for incredibly unique opportunities like the 2028 Olympics.
The City of Santa Monica continues to work with generous donors, corporations, partners, and local nonprofits to find ways to benefit the people and economy of our resilient city. While these efforts don’t give the full picture, and while there is still much work to be done, these 10 programs help keep Santa Monica’s recovery going to support almost every department for the incredible efforts we have made together to improve our economy to accelerate. The full report to the city council can be found here.
Deputy City Director
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