How is Sacramento CA spending federal coronavirus funding?

William Arsn

The Sacramento City Council allocated the last dollar of its $89 million in federal coronavirus stimulus funding Tuesday.

The council approved a package of its last roughly $10 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds on a series of job training initiatives to help people find new jobs or regain employment.

The item was the final piece in a vision Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg outlined in May to spend the CARES Act money mostly on programs and services to uplift disadvantaged communities. He chose that focus partly because the Measure U sales tax revenue, which was originally supposed to be used largely for that purpose, was diverted to pay for core city services once the pandemic hit.

“We could’ve found ways to plug holes in our city budget or we could’ve invested in our communities, specifically our disadvantaged communities,” Steinberg said during a news conference Tuesday. “We have clearly chosen the latter.”

The comment was a subtle jab at the county, which is spending more than $104 million of its CARES money on salaries and benefits for the Sheriff’s Office.

The city spent some of its CARES money on law enforcement, though not nearly as much as the county. The city spent about $2.8 million on salaries and benefits for police and fire personnel, related to COVID-19, city spokeswoman Jennifer Singer said. The city spent another roughly $2.8 million on salaries and benefits for other city employees, related to the virus, and about $1.3 million to set up city employees to work remotely.

The City Council ended up spending the money mainly in four main categories, as Steinberg proposed in May, though the money allocated in each one was unequal.

How will the city spend the CARES Act money?

$22.1 million for small business recovery and assistance

$16.1 million in economic relief to small businesses: Zero-interest loans granted to small businesses. So far, 1,490 have applied. The city plans to fund all eligible applicants, with some funds remaining, starting this week, a staff report said.

$5 million in small business technical assistance helping businesses navigate application processes for grants and funding

$1 million for support for outdoor dining. 92 restaurants will receive funding up to $3,000 each to help with outdoor dining, by the end of August.

$20 million for arts, tourism and the creative economy

Funding to the Sacramento Zoo, Fairytale Town and other applicants.

About $6.9 million expected to be allocated next week by council to members of the creative economy

About $5.6 million expected to be allocated next week by council toward tourism initiatives

$18.7 million for youth and workforce training programs

$10 million for workforce development training: The council approved this Tuesday. It includes $1.4 million for the California Mobility Center; $1.7 million for the Greater Sacramento Urban League for digital skills training; $1.1 million for the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency for job placement and supportive services; and $400,000 for La Familia for a program to train new healthcare workers, who are needed during the pandemic.

$2.25 million for youth enrichment, including money for a program that paid teens who completed service projects related to the virus over the summer.

$2 million for youth “pop ups,” which are evening activity nights for teens across the city

$1.3 million for youth mental health services

$1.25 million to the Black Child Legacy Campaign, which aims to reduce deaths of African American children in Sacramento County

$1.05 million to address the “digital divide.”

$250,000 for the Central Labor Council hotline, which helps people navigate obtaining employment benefits, disability insurance, paid sick leave and other financial assistance. The hotline number is 916-905-1625.

$150,000 for a financial empowerment center, which helps low and moderate-income families learn how to budget, pay down debt, increase savings and build credit. To request the service, call 916-808-4927.

$15.6 million for homeless and rehousing

$12.15 million for homeless response: Funding to extend motels and trailers to shelter the homeless during the pandemic under the state’s Project Roomkey program, rental assistance for tenants, manufactured units, and money to two acquire hotels and turn them into permanent housing for the homeless, if chosen for a state program.

$2.2 million for a meth sobering center, and grants to City of Refuge and Saint John’s Program for Real Change, organizations that serve homeless families

$2 million in grants to local organizations that serve domestic violence survivors.

$918,000 to clean and disinfect homeless encampments to prevent coronavirus spread.

$250,000 for hotel stays for city essential workers who are worried about giving the virus to their families after returning home from work.

$150,000 for rental mediation through the Sacramento Mediation Center

$4.6 million for social services

$1.4 million for a daycare program for essential workers.

$500,000 for community outreach to inform communities who could benefit from CARES funding.

$250,000 for family mental health initiatives

$250,000 for food insecurity, including $100,000 to be used for contract to fund a youth feeding program with Sierra Health Foundation

$250,000 for “Great Plates Delivered,” a program providing free meals from local restaurants to seniors’ homes during the pandemic

$10.3 million for other projects

$9.6 million for citywide operational response. This includes police and fire labor costs, sanitizing and disinfecting city facilities, costs to implement telework for city employees, a business and community survey, and administrative costs such as procurement overtime and city attorney expenses, the city staff report said.

$450,000 for council members to spend at their discretion.

$250,000 for city emergency supplies, including personal protective equipment

The Bee’s Tony Bizjak contributed to this story.

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Theresa Clift covers Sacramento City Hall. Before joining The Bee in 2018, she covered local government at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. She grew up in Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University.

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