SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to support the allocation of $5 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation in support of the COVID-19 Financial Assistance Relief Program.
The board voted unanimously to direct county administrators to take the actions required to swiftly allocate the funding. As part of the vote, the supervisors also called on the city of San Jose to make a similar donation to the program.
Supervisor Mike Wasserman noted that he singled out San Jose to make a similar donation because it comprises about half of the county’s population and is the only city in the county to receive more than $100 million in federal funding support from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
The relief program disperses funding to residents throughout the county who are facing critical issues like homelessness and food insecurity during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The county contributed $2 million to the program’s first phase, spurring another $10 million in funding from public and private sources. More than 4,500 families signed up for support in the program’s first three days but some 13,000 families throughout the county are still in need of support, according to county officials.
The county’s $5 million allocation for the program’s second phase will support the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which runs the program, in its effort to send between $500 and $1,000 to county residents. Low-income residents who did not qualify for a federal stimulus check will be prioritized, according to the county.
Supervisor Susan Ellenberg said that while she was supportive of the allocation, the looming question of the county’s immediate budgetary strength gave her pause.
“I want us to meet the basic needs of residents whose suffering has increased as a result of COVID-19,” Ellenberg said. “And what makes me nervous … is not knowing what amount of money we have to allocate.”
County officials have projected a shortfall of up to $300 million for fiscal year 2020-2021 due to the pandemic. Fiscal year 2020-21 is set to begin July 1.
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