COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on some of our most vulnerable communities. Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Some of the communities in District 9, like City Heights, have been completely ravaged by this public health crisis. The effects have been deeply felt within our communities and the impact hasn’t been just on our health but also economically. Many families in District 9 were already struggling well before the pandemic. This situation has simply put at the forefront many of the injustices and inequities many have lived with for decades. Our safety net has failed our communities. This failure is rooted in racist policies and underfunding of our communities that have put us at a disadvantage. As we begin to recover from this crisis, we need our government to ensure that our communities that are the most impacted receive the most help. This is why I want to be on the City Council to ensure that our recovery from this pandemic is focused on our communities and is done with equity at the forefront so that we can change the system that put us here in the first place.
As part of our recovery, I propose that:
- We increase access to rent relief. We need to invest more funds in ensuring that our most vulnerable community members do not lose their homes due to inability to pay the rent. We need a real commitment of at least $100 Million in rent relief to ensure folks are not left unsheltered and impacted by the public health crisis.
- We must address the environmental injustices plaguing our communities so that our children and families don’t have many of the underlying health conditions that have made us more susceptible to COVID-19, like diabetes due to lack of access to healthy and fresh food or asthma due to the bad air quality in our neighborhoods.
- We need to tackle the housing crisis head on so that all our families and community members have a safe place to call home. Many in our communities have to share one roof with multiple families due to skyrocketing rents. Other families live in multi-generational homes due to lack of access to affordable housing. This has caused COVID-19 infection rates in our communities to increase dramatically due to the inability to quarantine or isolate and the close proximity of multiple family members living together. I will bring forward policies to eliminate red tape and increase our housing stock.
- We must invest in small business relief to rescue many of the struggling small businesses in our community. Many of these businesses are owned by people of color from our community who have served as the backbone of our economy. We must allocate more funds to provide these businesses with economic relief to help them navigate these turbulent economic times.
- We need to establish COVID-19 public resource centers throughout our City so that community members have access to information close to home and that is also culturally relevant. The city must also leverage our local nonprofits and CBO’s to do effective outreach to diverse communities to ensure our residents have access to the resources that they need.