Contra Costa approves commercial eviction protections and $4.29M for emergency rental aid

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY – On November 17, 2020, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an amendment to the County’s Fiscal Year 2019/2020 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Action Plan. This move allocates an additional $4,292,960 in CDBG-Coronavirus or CV3 funds under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. The money will provide emergency rental assistance and tenant/landlord counseling and related legal services.

The Board action will provide CDBG-CV3 funds for the following:

  • $3.2 million for an emergency rental assistance program
  • $600,000 for tenant/landlord counseling and related legal services
  • $492,960 to the County’s Department of Conservation and Development for general program administration

“The County must act quickly to assist residents, both tenants and landlords, who are or will be in crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Board Chair, Supervisor Candace Andersen. “Providing direct rental payments to landlords on behalf of tenants is critical, and staff will work with community organizations to reach out to those in need, particularly low-income households and neighborhoods severely impacted by economic and housing instability at this difficult time.”

CARES ACT funding

The U.S. CARES Act provides funding for the County to give to eligible CDBG grantees. As a grantee, Contra Costa County was awarded an additional $4,292,960 in CDBG-Coronavirus funds. The Board awarded other CDBG funds for rental assistance and tenant/landlord counseling and related legal services earlier this year. The CV3 funds may be used to prevent, prepare for, and/or respond to the COVID-19 epidemic and its impacts.

HUD has targeted CDBG-CV3 funds towards jurisdictions with households facing higher risk of eviction and has indicated that these funds can be used to provide temporary financial assistance to meet rental obligations of low-income households that are struggling to meet their monthly rental obligations. The CDBG-CV3 funds may also be used to provide legal services in connection with tenant/landlord counseling services.

For more information, reference the 11/17/2020 Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda item D.4. The board will release more information to the general public soon through the programs.

Eviction Protection to Commercial Tenants

The Supervisors also unanimously passed urgency ordinance 2020-29. The ordinance will continue the temporary prohibition on evictions of certain small-business commercial tenants financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This protection now continues through January 31, 2021. Protections for residential tenants were unchanged by the urgency ordinance and last through January 31, 2021. Ordinance No. 2020-29 supersedes Ordinance No. 2020-26.

Contra Costa County’s Urgency Ordinance 2020-29 provides protections pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order N-80-20. This extends, through March 31, 2021, the authority of local jurisdictions to suspend the evictions of commercial tenants for the non-payment of rent if the non-payment was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Board of Supervisors recognizes that the already struggling business environment has become even more challenging with the recent rise of COVID-19 cases,” said Supervisor Candace Andersen, Board Chair. “As we follow public health orders and guidance intended to protect lives, we have to support businesses however we can.”

Read the full document Ordinance No. 2020-29 (PDF). Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding this ordinance on the County website soon.

For information and resources, visit  the Contra Costa County website. For COVID-19 updates, visit Contra Costa Health Services. Questions about the coronavirus? Contact the multilingual Call Center at 1-844-729-8410, open daily from 8 am to 5 pm. For assistance after hours in multiple languages, please call 211 or 800-833-2900 or text HOPE to 20121.

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