The city of Long Beach Monday unveiled a $207 million COVID-19 plan to help residents, business owners and workers who have been critically impacted by the pandemic.
“The Long Beach Recovery Act is a bold and ambitious plan to jumpstart the local economy, protect the health and safety of our community, and secure the future of our city,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “The plan would not be possible without the support of the Biden administration and Congress.”
The proposed plan, which will be presented to the City Council on March 16, would put $51 million toward economic recovery, including:
— direct funding relief for local businesses and workers who have been critically impacted by the pandemic, particularly for restaurants, breweries, bars, the fitness and personal service industry, arts and cultural organizations and nonprofits;
— funding to address historic economic inequalities that intensified during the COVID-19 recession, including an expansion of the WorkLB program and funding for CARES Act grants to increase digital literacy and access to technology in low-income communities;
— funding for COVID-19 protection — including testing, epidemiology support, contract tracing and more — for businesses and nonprofits to protect workers, customers and visitors; and
— funding for Long Beach’s Clean City program to keep commercial areas clear of trash and debris, as well as other programs to reduce illegal dumping and enhance customer retention to businesses that were impacted by COVID-19.
The plan would also give $72.8 million to programs that promote a healthy and safe community, with a goal of addressing the highest needs of community most impacted by the pandemic.
Those programs and services include:
— free testing sites and mobile clinics in hard-hit communities;
— personal protective equipment for nonprofits and safety and prevention educational materials;
— support for people’s basic needs, including food security, housing support staffing, right to counsel and case management for older adults;
— support for people experiencing homelessness;
— support for people experiencing physical and mental health issues with a focus on equity;
— early childhood education and literacy development;
— violence prevention and support services; and
— tenant assistance through the Emergency Rental Assistance program.
The plan also calls for earmarking $83.2 million to address the city’s budget shortfalls and revenue losses during the pandemic.
According to Long Beach officials, the plan was put together with input and recommendations from the public during 30 community roundtable listening sessions and public meetings with nonprofits, business associations and industry experts.
Officials said they sought to ensure a racially equitable economic recovery and will focus on high-risk populations and business sectors and workers that were hardest hit by the pandemic.
The plan would be funded by:
— $151 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act;
– nearly $29 million from Emergency Rental Assistance; and
— nearly $27 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases Grant, which Los Angeles County received.
The full plan can be accessed at bit.ly/3uZuMg6.