News flash! Every week, following the Board meeting, Supervisor Kuehl picks five items you might find interesting, important, and/or fun. It’s your way to get a quick rundown of several highlights of the meeting in no more than 5 minutes! Looking for more? Click here to get the entire agenda.
Extending Eviction Moratorium
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, so too does the critical job of protecting tenants who may no longer be able to pay their rent. This week, the Board passed my motion to extend the County-wide Eviction Moratorium and to explore ways to provide additional renter protections for residents across LA County, including in those cities whose eviction moratoria don’t cover both residential and commercial tenants.
The motion extends the moratorium through June 30th with possible monthly extensions after that, and sets a 12-month period for repayment of accrued unpaid rent to begin after the eviction moratorium expires.
COVID-19 Homeless Recovery Plan
Despite our best efforts, the COVID-19 crisis could seriously exacerbate homelessness in LA County. It has posed an expanded challenge for the homelessness services systems, which we have met by innovative measures, such as utilizing unused hotel rooms and currently-shuttered recreation areas. But as recovery begins, these temporary measures will no longer be available, which makes it critical that we be proactive and put a longer-term plan in place as soon as possible.
My motion, co-authored by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, calls on the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) to collaborate with County Departments and the City of LA on a Homeless COVID-19 Recovery Plan. LAHSA is to produce a basic framework in 15 days and a finalized plan in 30. The motion also asks CEO to develop a funding plan in 45 days, and for our state and federal teams to advocate for resources to support the plan.
LA County is committed to helping residents get through this crisis, and we want to make sure that the financial institutions with whom we deal take appropriate actions to do the same.
This week, I co-authored a motion with Supervisor Janice Hahn to ensure that the financial institutions with whom we do business are contributing to County residents’ overall financial health, including measures that prevent foreclosure and eviction.
The motion calls for an evaluation of these institutions relating to mortgage/rent relief and foreclosure and eviction prevention. It also explores what the County can do to incentivize such programs to help our residents in the coming months.
Establishing a Countywide Program to Reduce the Court’s Failure to Appear Rate
As with the County executive and legislative branches (vested in the Board of Supervisors), the court system is also called upon to adapt during this health crisis to make it possible for Public Defender clients to participate in their cases and attend court hearings, while maintaining safe physical distance.
The Board passed a motion authored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, implementing an exciting pilot program that allows clients to receive important updates about their cases and interact with their attorneys via a two-way communication system.
The platform envisioned by this pilot will send reminders to Public Defender and Alternate Public Defender clients about upcoming court dates and, because it can interface with the Court, it will automatically send updates if the Court continues the hearing to a new date.
In a move to protect workers experiencing the highest rate of lay-offs during the pandemic, the Board passed a motion authored by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis to create two ordinances, Right of Recall and Right of Retention.
The purpose of the Right of Recall ordinance is to provide protections for workers that have been laid off as a result of the pandemic, ensuring they are afforded the right to return to their jobs. As employers are preparing to staff back up, it requires them to re-hire laid-off employees on a seniority basis and to provide laid-off workers with five days to respond after receiving the offer to be re-hired. The Right of Retention ordinance offers protection for workers when their former employer changes ownership, requiring the new owners to employ workers for at least 90 days, after which a performance evaluation can be conducted.
Both ordinances cover janitorial, maintenance, security service, and hospitality employees in the unincorporated portions of the County.