COVID-19 Response Efforts
The past several months have presented a great number of challenges for our community and for the world at large. The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard for us all. As so many people have faced so much uncertainty and fear, and as social distancing has changed the structure of our everyday lives, it is clear that now, more than ever, it is the responsibility of city leadership to come together and take care of the community.
From the very beginning, I worked to keep the community informed about the status of infections in Pomona, as well as health and safety guidelines recommended by Los Angeles County and the Center for Disease Control. Many of you may remember the COVID-19 update videos I first started releasing in March.
When this crisis began, I knew that as Mayor, I needed to do my part to bring people together and ensure that the best possible actions would be taken to aid the Pomona residents who are struggling through this difficult time. Initially, twenty-five community leaders were brought together to form the COVID-19 Action Committee. We knew that we didn’t have answers, but we also knew the value of working together. We met with the intention of learning from each other and finding the best ways to help our community. That effort has since expanded to over fifty people, all of whom are committed to the cause at hand. These leaders come from large and small institutions throughout our community, representing a wide variety of different perspectives and interests.
One of our top priorities has been to provide community residents with valuable information about the resources that are available to them. Together, we established the COVID-19 hotline number to provide people with current, up to date information. This includes information on:
- Food Sources
- Tenants’ Rights
- Reopening of Schools
- Job Centers
This hotline is an accessible way for everyone to find the help that they need.
In addition to sharing information, we have also been working on programs for helping residents who need it. We have been able to help those who need to be quarantined find a place to isolate and recover. We are working to ensure that money from the Federal Care Act is going to the people who need it for food and rental assistance. This includes helping those who are confronting addiction and a system to apply for rent relief. For those who are not eligible for federal aid, the Pomona Compassion Fund has raised $200,000 to make sure that they can still receive the help that they need. Additionally, we are conducting workshops for tenants to help them understand their rights as renters.
Another program we are putting into place is the Pomona Champions Program. This will focus on outreach to community members, such as leaving door hangers to inform people about what they are eligible for and raising money for the compassion funds. The goal of this program, in addition to sharing information and resources, is to empower young people by getting them involved. We want everyone to have the opportunity to improve their community and have their voices heard.
To support local businesses, we allocated $550,000 to provide relief in the form of small grants. We also provided relief for business permits and revised business regulations through our Activate Pomona program to make it easier for restaurants, barber shops, hair salons, and other retailers to operate outside. These revised regulations are in effect through the end of 2020 and we are prepared to extend them if necessary.
While there is still work to be done, I believe we have accomplished a lot over these past few months, and that these accomplishments show the power of collaboration and teamwork. None of this could have been possible without the efforts of people in our community coming together to help people in a time of need. It has been a privilege to work alongside all these people and get to witness the compassion that exists in Pomona.
I have always been a firm believer in the idea of servant leadership. To lead means to serve more than just yourself. You serve the people of your community. That is the kind of leadership that this city needs. The response to this crisis has shown that to be true. By working together, we have taken on this enormous, imposing task. Those same efforts will be what is needed to tackle homelessness, economic development, and other issues we are facing. Together, we can transform our city into the place we all know it can be.