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San Francisco to Distribute $90 Million in Rent Relief

City’s new Emergency Rental Assistance program, with funding from the U.S. Treasury will launch on May 28 and support vulnerable San Francisco tenants.

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By David Odisho: SAN FRANCISCO, CA / U.S. - MAY 1, 2020: Activists congregated outside of San Francisco’s City Hall on May Day rallying for the #CancelRent movement amid a crippled economy that has displaced many.

Mayor London N. Breed announced on Monday that the City’s new emergency rental assistance program will begin accepting applications on May 28. The City’s program is designed to keep tenants in their homes by leveraging existing eviction protections and maximizing prospective rental assistance.

San Francisco’s local program can provide up to six months of rental assistance including three months of future rent. The local program will prioritize the most vulnerable tenants using an evidence-based screening tool that considers a range of factors, such as past homelessness and extremely low household income. San Francisco’s program is in addition to the State’s rental assistance program, which will provide rental assistance for unpaid rents for the period of April 2020 to March 2021.

“This has been a year of challenges unlike anything we’ve faced before, and the economic fallout of the pandemic has been devastating for so many businesses and employees. This rent relief is critical to helping tenants and small property owners get back on their feet as we continue on with our economic recovery,” said Breed. “It’s absolutely crucial that we keep people in their homes, and this funding will help ensure that happens.”

The new rental assistance program is starting with a $26.2 million allocation from the U.S. Treasury, which will then be supplemented later this year by another round of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan. Over $90 million has been allocated to San Francisco tenants and landlords from the federal government for rental assistance, with over $60 million in total being allocated to this new rental assistance program over two rounds of funding. The remaining $30 million in funding from the federal government is earmarked for San Franciscans in funding directed to the State of California.

“Under the historic American Rescue Plan, thousands of struggling San Franciscans will receive much-needed emergency rental assistance,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “By expanding and extending the vital Emergency Rental Assistance Program, the Democratic Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration are ensuring that struggling families continue to have a safe place to live during the pandemic. As House Speaker, I will continue to work hand-in-hand with Mayor Breed to ensure all San Franciscans have access to safe and affordable housing in our vibrant City.”

“San Francisco’s rent relief program will play a big part in keeping families secure in their homes,” said Assemblymember David Chiu. “However, these programs are only good if the public takes advantage of them. I encourage all renters who may be struggling with unpaid rent to apply for this assistance as soon as possible.”

The City is committed to ensuring that as many residents who need assistance receive assistance. However, applications will be prioritized from households who are most vulnerable to becoming unhoused due to certain economic and social factors.

In order for a tenant to be eligible to apply, they must have qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They must also demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability and have a household income at or below 80% of area median income (AMI).

These limits are currently $102,450 for an individual and $146,350 for a family of four. However, the local program will prioritize applicants with very low (50% of AMI) and extremely low incomes (30% AMI). Applicants above 80% AMI will not be eligible for rental assistance through the City or State programs.

The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development is leading the implementation of the new rental assistance program in close partnership with a network of BIPOC-led, San Francisco-based, culturally competent community-based organizations. 

The City’s rental assistance program is part of a regional homelessness prevention initiative led by All Home. The multi-lingual, low-barrier application will be screened using an evidence-based tool developed in consultation with local and national experts, including UCSF School of Medicine’s Center for Vulnerable Populations, to ensure assistance is provided to the most vulnerable tenants.

Beginning Monday, tenants interested in applying can visit: sf.gov/renthelp to familiarize themselves with the program requirements before the application opens on May 28. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Applicants will be required to provide documentation to verify identity, income, COVID-19 financial impact and unpaid rent. Since the program will be targeted to the most vulnerable tenants, rental assistance will not be first-come, first-serve. The City encourages tenants to apply on their own online if they are able. If tenants need help completing an application, a network of community-based partners are available to help. These community-based partners may be found at sf.gov/renthelp, by calling 311 or at www.sfadc.org.

Alameda County

District Attorney Pamela Price Will Face Recall Election on November General Election Ballot

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors scheduled the recall election against Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price for November 5, coinciding with the 2024 General Election. The decision comes after weeks of controversy and drawn-out discussions amongst county officials, recall proponents, and opponents, and legal advisors.

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Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price’s future will be determined on the November General Election ballot instead of a special recall election. On the left, DA Pamela Price. On the right, principal officer of the recall campaign Save Alameda For Everyone (SAFE). Collage by Magaly Muñoz
Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price’s future will be determined on the November General Election ballot instead of a special recall election. On the left, DA Pamela Price. On the right, principal officer of the recall campaign Save Alameda For Everyone (SAFE). Collage by Magaly Muñoz

By Magaly Muñoz

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors scheduled the recall election against Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price for November 5, coinciding with the 2024 General Election.

The decision comes after weeks of controversy and drawn-out discussions amongst county officials, recall proponents, and opponents, and legal advisors.

Recall proponents submitted 123,374 signatures before the March 5 deadline, which resulted in 74,757 valid signatures counted by the Registrar of Voters (ROV).

The recall election will cost Alameda County $4 million and will require them to hire hundreds of new election workers to manage the demand of keeping up with the federal, state and local elections and measures.

Save Alameda For Everyone (SAFE), one of the two recall campaigns against Price, held a press conference minutes before the Board’s special meeting asking for the Supervisors to schedule the election in August instead of consolidating with the November election.

Supporters of the recall have said they were not concerned with the $20 million price tag the special election would’ve cost the county if they had put it on the ballot in the summer. Many have stated that the lives of their loved ones are worth more than that number.

“What is the cost of a life?” recall supporters have asked time and time again.

Opponents of the recall election have been vehemently against a special date to vote, stating it would cost taxpayers too much money that could be reinvested into social programs to help struggling residents.

A special election could’ve cost the county’s budget to exceed its current deficit of $68 million, which was a driving factor in the three supervisors who voted for a consolidated election.

“Bottom line is, I can’t in good conscience support a special election that is going to cost the county $20 million,” Board President Nate Miley said.

Many speakers asked Miley and Keith Carson to recuse themselves from the vote, claiming that they have had improper involvement with either the recall proponents or Price herself.

Both supervisors addressed the concerns stating that regardless of who they associate themselves with or what their political beliefs are, they have to do their jobs, no matter the outcome.

Carson noted that although he’s neither supporting nor opposing Price as district attorney, he believes that whoever is elected next to take that position should have a reasonable amount of time to adjust to the job before recalls are considered.

Reports of recall attempts started as soon as April 2023 when Price had only been in office three months.

Price and her campaign team Protect the Win have been adamant that the voters who elected her to office will not fall for the “undemocratic” practices from the recall campaign and they are prepared to put all efforts forward to guarantee she stays in office.

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Activism

Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. On stage: KTVU Fox 2 Broadcasters Roberta Gonzales and Dave ClarkDance-A-Vision Founder, Carla Service, Vice Mayor Kimberly Mayfield-Lynch, California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta and Lend A Hand Foundation Executive Director Dee Johnson with the Dance-A-Vision Dancers. Photo By Carla Thomas

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Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. On stage: KTVU Fox 2 Broadcasters Roberta Gonzales and Dave ClarkDance-A-Vision Founder, Carla Service, Vice Mayor Kimberly Mayfield-Lynch, California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta and Lend A Hand Foundation Executive Director Dee Johnson with the Dance-A-Vision Dancers. Photo By Carla Thomas
Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. On stage: KTVU Fox 2 Broadcasters Roberta Gonzales and Dave ClarkDance-A-Vision Founder, Carla Service, Vice Mayor Kimberly Mayfield-Lynch, California State Assemlbymember Mia Bonta and Lend A Hand Foundation Executive Director Dee Johnson with the Dance-A-Vision Dancers. Photo By Carla Thomas

By Carla Thomas

The Lend A Hand Foundation (LAHF) celebrated the 25th anniversary of the organization’s Stay In School Program on May 9 at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland.

Themed “Together We Can Empower Our Youth to Stay in School,” the event featured a pre-event reception featuring Oakland’s Kev Choice Ensemble.

The ensemble featured Oakland School for the Arts student, Ayo Brame, a 16-year-old, up-and-coming tenor saxophone jazz musician. The master and mistress of ceremonies were local broadcasters Dave Clark and Roberta Gonzales of KTVU Fox 2. Clark’s wife, Lucretia also supported the program.

A special appearance featured Dwayne Wiggins of Tony! Toni! Toné! on guitar, performing the group’s hit song “Anniversary” as guests dined on salmon, chicken, beef and vegetarian entrees prepared by the Food Network “Chopped” Champion, Chef Rashad Armstead of Oakland. California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) provided the keynote address and the Carla Service Dance-A-Vision youth dancers energetically performed a hip hop routine throughout the audience in white leotards as attendees clapped along. An auction led by Auctioneer Franco Finn assisted in raising funds for the organization with prizes that included a luxury resort vacation and other items.

LAHF presented District 5 Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and District 4 Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley with Lifetime Supporter Awards. LAHF presented the Trailblazer Award to Guy Richardson of Ernst and Young; Dante Green of Kaiser Permanente; Antioch Attorney Gordon Greenwood of the Kazan McClain Partner’s Foundation; and Sarah Yoell of PG&E.

Oakland Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. Kyla Trammel Johnson acknowledged LAHF’s impact.

“Each year, LAHF gives backpacks and school supplies to thousands of students across Oakland,” said Johnson. “In 2022 the effort topped 25,000 students. No matter the need, big or small, involving lots of students or just one, Lend A Hand is always there ready to make a difference in the lives of our young people.”

Founder and executive director of LAHF Dee Johnson took the stage as the DJ played the Sledge Sisters’ “We Are Family.”

Guests gave Johnson a standing ovation as she thanked supporters and presented many of them with gifts.

“It’s heartbreaking to know some children don’t have clothes or supplies for school,” said Johnson. “The babies really need our support and when we deliver supplies to them, it makes them really happy.”

Since the LAHF Annual Stay in School Program began in 1999, it has provided over 150,000 educational school supply kits to students throughout Alameda County, including Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, and San Leandro, among other cities.

“This past August, we provided for over 12,000 students with supplies, with the help and support of our very generous donors,” said Johnson. “This year, we aim to do all we can to match that amount or provide even more.”

For more information visit: www.LendaHandFoundation.org

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Alameda County

Alameda DA Pamela Price is Ready to ‘Protect the Win’ in Upcoming Recall Election

Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price and her “Protect the Win” campaign held a press conference Wednesday morning to discuss the consolidation of the recall election with the November general election and her steps moving forward. “We are here today to appreciate that the Board of Supervisors yesterday did the right thing and decided not to invest $20 million of our hard-earned tax dollars for a failed effort to overturn the November 2022 election,” Price said.

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Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price held a press conference Wednesday morning at Everett & Jones to discuss the recall election and her path forward now that a date is scheduled for November. Photo by Magaly Muñoz.
Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price held a press conference Wednesday morning at Everett & Jones to discuss the recall election and her path forward now that a date is scheduled for November. Photo by Magaly Muñoz.

By Magaly Muñoz

Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price and her “Protect the Win” campaign held a press conference Wednesday morning to discuss the consolidation of the recall election with the November general election and her steps moving forward.

“We are here today to appreciate that the Board of Supervisors yesterday did the right thing and decided not to invest $20 million of our hard-earned tax dollars for a failed effort to overturn the November 2022 election,” Price said.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday evening to consolidate the recall election so as to not put themselves in an even larger deficit than they are soon headed into. The board reported that they are almost $68 million in deficit for the county budget, but now with the consolidation, the election will only cost taxpayers about $4 million.

Proponents of the recall had continuously asked the Board to schedule a special election in August, regardless if it would cost upwards of $20 million to fund.

At her press conference, Price emphasized that she is the first non-appointed district attorney in decades and the first Black woman elected for the position.

She characterized the recall efforts against her to be a “platinum roots movement” bankrolled by a handful of super-rich real estate investors and tech executives.

The recall group Save Alameda For Everyone (SAFE) raised over $3 million for their campaign against Price, spending a large amount of their funds on paying signature gatherers to collect names to put the election on the ballot. This has created a point of contention with many who are opposing the recall efforts.

Although her campaign has not been able to raise nearly as much money, she assures the community that their efforts are best used for “defending the democracy” and serving the residents of Alameda County.

Price challenged the big donors behind the recall efforts, stating that if they have thousands of dollars to spend on overturning an election, then they can better use their funds to invest in the community, such as donating to Oakland Unified School District, Highland Hospital, homeless and housing services and anti-trafficking efforts.

A few key donors mentioned were Philip Dreyfuss, who donated $600,000; Isaac Abid donated $225,000; Kenneth Lin donated $100,000; and John Wayland donated $135,000.

The DA said she will continue to do her job including advocating for victims, prosecuting people who have committed crimes in the community, combatting retail theft efforts, implementing new technology to protect youth, amongst many other priorities.

The recall proponents have long accused Price of being “soft on crime” and that crime rates have gone up since she’s been in office, but according to Oakland Police data, crime is down 33% since 2023.

When asked about the drop in crime rates on Tuesday, SAFE leaders said they do not follow OPD data because they claim it is not accurate. They only listen to what they hear from the community.

Price refuted the accusations stating that her office does not track or count the type of data that the opposition claims to be following. She says that the recall supporters are spreading misinformation and the data they are referencing only “exists in the figment of their imagination.”

In an annual report that the DA Office released last week, it revealed that Price is prosecuting cases at a similar rate to her predecessor. Former DA Nancy O’Malley was prosecuting anywhere from 60% to 66% of cases in 2019 to 2022, while Price prosecuted 62% of cases in 2023.

Price stated that being district attorney is her priority and this recall election would not stop her from doing her job. She trusts the efforts of the Protect the Win campaign to ensure that the message of keeping her in office is heard loud and clear.

“We believe in democracy, the people of this county have the right to elect a district attorney. They did that. We should not have to do it again, but we will do it again,” Price said.

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