Solana Beach receives funding for rental relief, food drive

Solana Beach City Hall
(Staff photo)

Solana Beach City Council members crafted some of the terms that will be part of a financial assistance program for renters in the city who have lost their jobs or otherwise been impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The city received $70,000 from the county, which received more than $4.3 million in CARES Act funding that was appropriated to a Community Development Block Grant Program aimed at improving housing and economic opportunities.

Approximately $60,000 will be used for rental assistance to renters, and $10,000 will be used for food distribution to those in need, especially with the holiday season approaching. The council will vote on a resolution to authorize the rental assistance and food programs at its next meeting, according to a city staff report.

“Time is of the essence,” Solana Beach Mayor Jewel Edson said during the council’s Oct. 14 online meeting. “The faster we can move this along, the better.”

Council members said they supported maximum grant amounts of $2,500 to each approved applicant. Local tenants would have to provide documentation to prove their financial status, such as landlord verification that they fell behind on rent after the pandemic began. The city plans to partner with the nonprofit Community Resource Center in Encinitas, which would be paid by the city with 5% of the CARES Act funding, to administer the program.

Solana Beach City Councilwoman Kelly Harless said the city should consider moderate-income residents for rental relief as well as low-income residents.

“If you can’t pay the rent, you can’t pay the rent,” she said. “If you’ve lost your job because of COVID and can’t pay the rent, it hurts the person renting, it hurts the landlord and it hurts the city.”

In San Diego County, median- and low-income is defined relative to the median income of $92,700 for a household of two people.

The city of Solana Beach previously received more than $400,000 in CARES Act funding from the state and county, according to city staff. Solana Beach council members used a little more than $200,000 of the funding to institute a small business relief program. Eighty-four Solana Beach businesses were selected for the business grants, including 38 salons and related businesses, 17 restaurants and bars, 14 retail businesses, and 10 gyms and other exercise or dance studios.

The council put another $145,000 of the CARES Act funding it previously received in the general fund to be used for pandemic-related expenses.