Since the onset of this pandemic over a year ago, I’ve worked to provide protections that will help those impacted by COVID-19 receive the security and peace of mind necessary to avoid the worst possible outcomes - health and financial. A top priority has been ensuring that renters are protected from evictions due to COVID related loss of income. Such evictions would not only be untimely and cruel, but they could make it impossible for folks to shelter-in-place and therefore worsen the health crisis. As you may know, with my strong support, the City implemented one of the strongest eviction moratoriums in the country, implemented new laws to prevent tenant harassment, and paid more than 100 million dollars of rent for struggling Angelenos. Before State and Federal funds were even available, I got the program started for my constituents by using money from my office’s discretionary funds.
The latest good news on this front is that with the funds provided by the American Rescue Plan, the City and State are combining efforts to streamline rental assistance for a new Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Angelenos will soon have access to a much larger pool of resources to ensure that qualified demand for assistance is met. “Housing is Key” is the central location for renters to apply for funds. Eligible households can get 100% of their rental debt paid. If there is insufficient funding for rental assistance from the City of Los Angeles to cover everyone, applicants will be notified that their application has been referred to the State program.
Applications are now being accepted and City of Los Angeles renters and landlords will be able to apply online via HousingIsKey.com. Residents can also call the appointment call center at 833-687-0967 if they need help filling out an application. To get past COVID’s devastating economic toll, we need to do everything we can to make renters and their housing providers whole. Please share the informational flyer at the end of this newsletter.
Please know that if you are a renter or property owner who previously applied for the City’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, you can check your application status online at hcidla.lacity.org. If you are on the waitlist for the City’s program, your application will be prioritized under Housing is Key. If you already received funds from the City’s program but need additional months of rent covered, you can apply to the new Housing is Key program as well.
Again, I encourage you to visit housingiskey.com to apply for rent relief as soon as possible. You can also see your rights and other important resources for yourself. Knowing your rights is important and you can find yours at stayhousedla.org.
These are challenging times but we will get through them together.
Recognizing the importance of fighting hate in schools and communities, the City Council recently approved Councilmember Blumenfield’s resolution calling on the Los Angeles Unified School District to direct all schools and offices to affirm the rights of Jewish students, staff, and families; to report acts of anti-Semitism; and to establish a curriculum and professional development working group to recruit teachers and administrators with expertise in Jewish history and culture. The measure includes updated bulletins, curricular and instructional resources, and training to address anti-Semitism.
It is particularly important now because anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise in California, Los Angeles, and across the country. Also, the timing and context is important because there is currently a well-organized and systematic effort among some educational stakeholders to demonize Israel and disenfranchise Israeli immigrants in Los Angeles. Some of these folks have been pushing a one sided, pernicious Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) resolution at UTLA. Blumenfield thanked the hundreds of parents and teachers who wrote in to support it and Dillon Hosier of the Israeli-American Civic Action Network.
Providing a new service for people who use transit or don’t own vehicles, Blumenfield joined local mobility leaders to welcome Mocean Carshare to Warner Center. This low-cost carshare service fosters sustainability, helps fight traffic and reduces parking needs. It is the latest step in Blumenfield’s effort to encourage transit ridership and reduce dependence on automobiles in Warner Center.
Last year, he designated Warner Center as the City’s first Transportation Technology Innovation Zone to test new mobility solutions, paving the way for companies like Mocean to come to the West Valley. Mocean provides drivers with quick and convenient access to hybrid-electric vehicles for up to three days, at a price comparable to renting an electric scooter. With the touch of a button, the app-based service allows drivers to rent the low-emission vehicles by the minute, hour or day, providing a much-needed alternative to privately owned vehicles.
On Saturday, September 11 at 11am, the LA City Redistricting Commission will be completing the first phase of public hearings. This is the last opportunity for Angelenos to participate and provide public testimony on their communities. Redistricting helps assure that communities have equal access to political representation. How and where district boundaries are drawn can shape the communities’ ability to elect the representatives of their choice. To attend this virtual meeting, please click here.
Joining many cities around the world in observing International Overdose Awareness Day, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield recognized local advocates, Dr. Laura Berman and Samuel Chapman, whose tireless advocacy work turned their family’s tragedy into a message of awareness and strength for others. In February, their son, Sammy, was the victim of an accidental Fentanyl poisoning and passed away. Too many families have experienced this pain with almost 100,000 overdose and poisoning deaths in the US, just since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please watch this PSA Blumenfield made with Dr. Laura Berman to learn more.
Blumenfield and his colleagues voted to support AB1400 which would create the California Guaranteed Health Care for All program (CalCare), to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage and a health care cost control system for the benefit of all residents of the state. Blumenfield stated, "When people have unexpected expenses for health care, they can end up homeless on the street. So many social issues and justice issues are inextricably linked with health care, and single-payer would help improve the lives of families.”
A longtime supporter of a single-payer system, Blumenfield was the co-author of SB 810 (in 2011) while a member of the State Assembly, fighting for a single-payer system in California.
Last week, Blumenfield joined Ken Craft and Rowan Vansleve from Hope of the Valley to visit Roya in her new home and make a special delivery. Not long ago she and her adult son were living in her car in the West Valley because they were priced out of their apartment and had no other options. Things started to get better for them when they were able to move into the Safe Parking program behind Blumenfield’s office. Soon after, Blumenfield’s team was able to help them become residents in the Cabin Community that is also behind his office. There, they were able to get stabilized, get signed up for appropriate assistance programs and the son was able to work a job at a pizza restaurant. Working with caseworkers they were able to find an apartment that they could afford and the team at Hope of the Valley helped them move in. Southern California Gas Company generously donated funds to help they acquire some furniture and basic supplies and Blumenfield helped deliver a brand new refrigerator and vacuum as part of these move-in efforts.
Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of LA (JBBBSLA) has been serving Los Angeles County, including the West Valley, for over 100 years. JBBBSLA’s signature mentorship program pairs local, disadvantaged Jewish youth with a Jewish mentor to help them thrive and build confidence. Right now, JBBBSLA has a huge need for West Valley based mentors (Bigs). If you are looking for a worthwhile volunteer experience, please visit jbbbsla.org/mentorship or call 323-761-8675.
In addition to the mentoring program, JBBBSLA offers disadvantaged youth of all faiths and backgrounds many programs including free college guidance and scholarships, Teen Talk App for social and emotional support, and weekend camp retreats that provide a safe, nurturing environment where children learn to be creative, responsible, and thoughtful individuals. More information can be found here.
This week's photo from the Los Angeles Public Library's archives is from the Valley Times on September 26, 1957. “Residents of California Home for Aged in Reseda, 19260 Sherman Way, worship in a tent as their ancestors did thousands of years ago in Israel. They are shown at Rosh Hashanah services which opened Jewish High Holy Days.”
Originally known as the Hebrew Sheltering Home for the Aged, the Jewish Home for the Aging was founded in Boyle Heights in 1912 and in 1967, acreage was purchased in Reseda and a facility was built on Victory Blvd. A second campus on Tampa Ave in Reseda was created in 1979 with a merger with the Menorah Village.
The sundown of September 6th marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the end of one year and the beginning of a new year. Blumenfield wishes you and yours a Shanah Tovah U'metukah, a good and sweet new year.