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Rental Assistance Available Now

Under the state’s previous rental assistance program, rent payments were capped at up to 80% of back rent owed. The new program will cover up to 100% of back and future rent and can help low-income renters pay some or all of their unpaid utility bills.

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Nancy Skinner
Dear Constituent,
If you are a renter having difficulty paying your rent or anticipate that you will in the next few months, or if you are a landlord whose tenant has not been able to pay rent, California has just authorized additional funds to provide financial relief to tenants and landlords.
Budget bill AB 832, provides $5.2 billion to help struggling California renters by covering rent that a tenant may owe for as far back as April 2020 – along with future rent payments, if needed. AB 832 also extends California’s eviction moratorium to Sept. 30.
Under the state’s previous rental assistance program, rent payments were capped at up to 80% of back rent owed. The new program will cover up to 100% of back and future rent and can help low-income renters pay some or all of their unpaid utility bills.
If you’re a renter and meet the income eligibility requirement (see below) and owe back rent, or have future rent payments you anticipate you can’t make, or are facing difficulty paying your utility bills, please apply for this program. And if you know someone who would benefit from this important program, please urge them to apply.
Income eligibility is based on you or your family’s adjusted gross income. In Alameda and Contra Costa counties, if you are a single taxpayer and your adjusted gross income (AGI) based on your recent pay stubs, unemployment payment, or other proof of income is up to $76,750, you meet the income eligibility threshold. Two-person joint filers are eligible with adjusted gross income of up to $87,700, and three are eligible with AGI of up to $98,650. Income eligibility for filers with more than three persons is adjusted accordingly.
Applications will be prioritized based on need. Those applicants with the lowest incomes will have their applications processed first, however, the state does not anticipate running out of rental assistance funds, so everyone who has the need for this assistance and meets the income-eligibility requirement should apply.
Here are the key elements of the newly revised rental assistance program:
  • Either renters or landlords can apply. NOTE: the application process works best (and fastest) if both the tenant and landlord complete it cooperatively.
    • If both the tenant(s) and landlord apply, then up to 100% of unpaid back rent – and up to three months of future rent – will be paid directly to the landlord.
  • Tenants can apply on their own without a landlord applying.
    • In that case, program staff will contact the landlord directly.
    • If the landlord still declines to participate, the payments will go to the tenant, who must sign a legally binding document agreeing to transmit 100% of the payments to their landlord within 15 days.
  • A landlord may apply on their own, if their tenant doesn’t apply
    • In this case, program staff will contact the tenant directly. If the tenant(s) qualifies and agrees, then the landlord will be paid directly the back rent that is owed.
    • However, if the tenant(s) still declines to participate, then, unfortunately, because of federal rules, the landlord will be ineligible to receive any program funds.
  • For tenants and landlords who already applied through Housing Is Key and received up to 80% of back rent, the Housing Is Key program will automatically “top off” those recipients to up to 100% of what is owed without the need to reapply.
    • However, tenants who need help paying future rent have to apply again to have their future rent obligations covered.
  • The program also allows non-occupancy payments. If a tenant who owes back rent has vacated the rental unit, then the tenant and landlord can apply for up to 100% of what is owed.
  • Utility Payments. Low-income renters who have been unable to pay some or all of their utilities because of the pandemic – or can’t pay future utilities – can also apply for assistance on paying their utility bills. Payments will be made directly to the utility provider.
Tenants living in, or landlords owning property in Contra Costa County or the city of Oakland, submit your application here: Housing Is Key.
Tenants who live in, or landlords who own property in Alameda County (excluding the city of Oakland), submit your application through Alameda County’s renter-landlord relief program, Alameda County Housing Secure. You can apply online using the Alameda County Housing Secure website or complete a paper application that is available in multiple languages. The paper application is downloadable from Alameda County Housing Secure.
NOTE: If you are a renter who lives in Oakland or a landlord who owns property in Oakland, you must apply through Housing Is Key, not through the Alameda County program.
Eviction Protection
All renters statewide are protected from eviction for inability to pay rent until at least Sept. 30. In Alameda County, the eviction ban will remain in effect longer, to 60 days after the county’s health emergency is lifted. These eviction protections only cover inability to pay due to the pandemic and not other actions that otherwise qualify for a just cause eviction.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Renters who submit an application to the rental assistance program by Sept. 30 are protected from eviction beyond Sept. 30 while their rental assistance application is being processed.
So submit your application ASAP. Don’t wait.
I hope you find this information helpful. It’s an honor to serve you in the state Senate.
Sincerely,
Signature
Nancy Skinner
State Senator, District

Commentary

First in a series on Jobs in Oakland City Government: Please Do No (More) Harm

Oakland city government declares war on the unemployed. An overstatement? Not really.

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Gay Plair Cobb
Oakland city government declares war on the unemployed. An overstatement? Not really.
City administration professes concern for its residents who need help with access to jobs and training, while at the same time failing to issue contracts to the community organizations that stand ready to provide needed services.
The city council approved these contracts in June. As of late September, they have not been issued by the city administration.
Q: What does this mean? A: Non-profit organizations, operating on shoestring budgets in the best of times, have been required to advance their own funds in July, August, and September to serve the unemployed, with no reimbursement by the city because as the administration says, “Your contract has not been signed yet.”
Another impact: the workers who provide front line job services may not receive their paychecks on time…. creating unnecessary instability in their own households.
And who is responsible for issuing these contracts? Yup…it’s the city…. painfully tone deaf to the needs of the community, particularly those on the economic margins. Most of those served with job help are Black and Latinx residents who consistently suffer double digit unemployment. Many are returning home after incarceration.
And for this level of harmful disregard, the city receives  28 percent of scarce job training funds. Astonishing, since the city provides no direct services to job seekers.
As Oakland struggles with its horrific crime wave, it seems that attention would be paid to root causes, joblessness being paramount among them. Instead, the city administration seems intent on hobbling the very groups who stand ready to help. This happens year after year…. with no apparent consequences to an impenetrable bureaucracy.
Oakland, we can do  better than this.
We must.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Bay Area

Rosie the Riveter Trust to Celebrate History, ‘We Can Do It!’ Spirit

Tribute to storyteller and park ranger Betty Reid Soskin marking her 100th birthday

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Betty Reid Soskin/Wikimedia Commons

The Rosie the Riveter Trust is celebrating the history of the World War II home front at a September 26 gala, Making History Together. The fundraiser will highlight programs supported by the trust in collaboration with Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park: Every Kid Outdoors, Rosie’s Service Corps, and a documentary about the park’s Rosie Ambassadors, currently in production.

“We have a gem of a national park located right here in Richmond, California, where visitors can come learn about the home front and hear stories told in first person. This includes women and men who worked in the Kaiser shipyards, as well as those who spent years in the internment camps during the war,” said Sarah Pritchard, executive director of Rosie the Riveter Trust. “The history of the home front and societal changes that transpired during World War II are important lessons to preserve and share.”

The gala will also include a special tribute to Betty Reid Soskin, who turns 100 in September. Soskin helped establish the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park, later joining the National Park Service and becoming the oldest ranger in the national park system at 85. 

Soskin’s programs at the park’s visitor center have captivated audiences since the center opened in May 2012. During her presentations, she shares her own experiences as a young woman of color during a time when segregation and discrimination were common, adding dimension to the stories of the home front too often left out of the history books. “What gets remembered is determined by who is in the room doing the remembering,” says Soskin in her 2019 film, “No Time to Waste.”

The gala will be held at the historic Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South (next to the park’s visitor center on the Richmond waterfront). The Craneway, which boasts a fabulous view of San Francisco, is the former Ford Assembly Plant where some 49,000 tanks and jeeps were assembled during the home front era. 

While individual tickets to the in-person event sold out on August 1, tickets to view the live-streamed event are still available. The event begins at 5:00 p.m., followed by a tribute to Soskin, highlights of the trust’s programs, a live auction, a Zoom afterparty, and entertainment.

Major event sponsors include the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Kaiser Permanente, The Marguerite Fund, Chevron Richmond Refinery, Accenture, Bank of Labor, California State Pipe Trades Council, Microsoft Corp., The Honorable Barry Goode, Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, IBEW Local 302, IBEW Local Union 595, and Marathon Petroleum. Event sponsorships are available beginning at $1,000.

Rosie the Riveter Trust is the official partner of the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park, founded in 2000 in Richmond, California. The Park chronicles the explosive growth of wartime industry, the innovations fostered by visionaries like Henry J. Kaiser, and the extraordinary history of people who were challenged as never before and came together to overcome wartime odds with the “We Can Do It!” spirit.

Event proceeds support expansion of educational programs for all ages and preservation of historical resources for the Bay Area and the nation.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the trust’s web site at www.rosietheriveter.org. For sponsorships, contact Executive Director Sarah Pritchard, at 510-507-2276, or by email at sarah@rosietheriveter.org.

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Business

100 Diverse-Owned Oakland Businesses Could Receive a $10,000 Grant from Comcast

Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and Asian American small business owners in Oakland can apply for a $10,000 grant from the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, which will issue 100 grants for a total of $1 million.

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Comcast RISE/Courtesy of Comcast

Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and Asian American small business owners in Oakland can apply for a $10,000 grant from the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, which will issue 100 grants for a total of $1 million.

To be eligible for the grant, businesses must:

• Have established business operations for 3 or more years

• Have one to 25 employees

• Be based within Oakland, California city limits

The Investment Fund is the latest extension of Comcast RISE – which stands for Representation, Investment, Strength, and Empowerment – a multiyear, multi-faceted initiative launched in 2020 to provide people of color-owned small businesses the opportunity to apply for marketing and technology services from Comcast Business and Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable. If a business is not eligible for the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, applications are also open for marketing and technology services. In fact, 228 businesses in California have been selected as Comcast RISE recipients.

“Like many others, my small business was impacted by the pandemic. Thanks to the Comcast RISE program, I can reach new audiences,” said Judi Townsend, owner of Mannequin Madness and Oakland resident. She has benefited from the program twice, once with the production and placement of a TV commercial and then with a technology makeover.

“The application process was much more straight forward than other grants. I encourage my fellow eligible business owners to apply for the grant and the other benefits.” To help drive outreach and awareness about Comcast RISE and provide additional support, training and mentorship, Comcast has also awarded a $50,000 grant to the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

“The economic effects of the global pandemic have been felt worldwide, including significant impacts here in Oakland,” said Barbara Leslie, President & CEO, Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. We know that our small, local, woman-owned and Black, Indigenous and People Of Color businesses – who are responsible for creating the beautiful tapestry we call home – have been disproportionately impacted by COVID. We applaud Comcast’s vision, through the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, to ensure that small businesses that exist today can be a part of Oakland’s economic and social fabric both tomorrow and for many years to come.”

Comcast RISE is part of a larger $100 million Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative that Comcast launched last year. In June 2020, Comcast NBCUniversal announced the development of a comprehensive, multi-year plan to allocate $75 million in cash and $25 million in media over the next three years to fight injustice and inequality against any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability.

Grant recipients will also receive a complimentary 12-month membership to the coaching program from Ureeka, an online platform for entrepreneurs, to help them build skills, gain more customers and become financially stable. Eligible businesses can apply online at www.ComcastRISE.com from October 1 through October 14, 2021 for one of the 100 $10,000 grants. More information and the applications to apply for either the grant program or the marketing and technology services are available at www.ComcastRISE.com.

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