By Thomas Hughes. Bay City News.
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday reallocated more than $2.5 million to shore up emergency financial assistance programs for people in need, as well as the emergency rental program, calling for a county policy to be reexamined which restricts rental assistance to those who have lived in the county for at least 90 days.
Several supervisors said the policy should be relaxed in the face of increased demand.
“The need for emergency financial assistance has increased,” said Claire Cunningham, director of the County Human Services Agency, during his application to the board.
Cunningham asked the board to approve adding just over $1 million from Measure K, the county's half-cent sales tax increase passed in 2016, to the programs, which are administered through a group of eight nonprofit service providers known as the county’s “lead providers.”
Another $1.5 million specifically for rental assistance was directed to the emergency program through an appropriations transfer request from Supervisor Noelia Corzo. The funds, also from Measure K, were allocated to the county administrator's office. The rental assistance program is administered through the nonprofit Samaritan House for those who qualify.
But board members questioned one of those qualifications, which requires 90 days of residency in the county to be eligible for rental assistance.
“Maybe that's something the board should really consider. I would like to study it a little more,” said supervisor David Canepa.
He said he had been receiving more calls in the last month about constituents struggling to get housing.
Those who have not lived in the county for 90 days can apply for a bed in a congregate shelter. But while beds are regularly available on the bay side of the county, shelters on the coastal side of the county have a waiting list, according to County Executive Mike Callagy.
Corzo said he agreed the policy should be reexamined and said he would discuss it at the next meeting of the community action agency, which connects the public to the county's Human Services Agency. The next meeting is scheduled for November 28, but the location has not been set.
Both expenses were approved unanimously.
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