Saturday, June 3, 2023

Letter to the Editor: Residents Should Weigh In On Spending the $16 Million from the American Recovery Plan Act Awarded to the County


Welcome to our letters to the editor/opinion section. To submit yours for consideration, please send to matthewplafever@gmail.com. Please consider including an image to be used–either a photograph of you or something applicable to the letter. However, an image is not necessary for publication.

Remember opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of MendoFever nor have we checked the letters for accuracy.

What if you were asked how to spend 10 million dollars to help the recovery, health, and well being of people most impacted by the COVID pandemic? Many jurisdictions have asked their residents exactly that question, urged by the Treasury Department to engage their communities for a spending plan. We have an unprecedented opportunity to use Mendocino’s County’s $16 million American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) as intended  – specifically for alleviating disparities and inequalities of those most impacted by the pandemic. 

There are many examples of how counties and cities have engaged their communities with listening sessions, surveys, and more. We need Mendocino County to initiate the process. Until then, we can take a moment to demand transparency, accessibility, inclusivity, and diversity of the input and process of distribution of these funds. Contact your supervisor, submit “ecomments”, or through the available ways for submitting “public expression”.

There are examples of how counties and cities have already spent or plan to spend their dollars. Some funds have been used for:

  • Economic Impact Mitigation with household assistance (food programs, rent, utility aid, internet access, eviction prevention), unemployment benefits or cash to unemployed workers, job training assistance or support 
  • Public Health with COVID testing and PPE, mental health and substance use services, COVID prevention in congregate settings (jails, shelters, schools, nursing facilities)
  • Services to disproportionately impacted communities with aid to high-poverty districts, services and supports for social, emotional and mental health, child care, home visits, services for foster youth, affordable housing and services for unhoused people 

How should Mendocino County use these funds?

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Let’s put these dollars to work with the best ideas to support those who have been most impacted. 

Laura Diamondstone

Maggie Von Vogt

¿Qué pasaría si le preguntaran cómo gastar 10 millones de dólares para ayudar a la recuperación, la salud y el bienestar de las personas más afectadas por la pandemia de COVID? Muchas jurisdicciones han planteado a sus residentes exactamente esa pregunta, instados por el Departamento del Tesoro a comprometer a sus comunidades para un plan de gastos. Tenemos una oportunidad sin precedentes para utilizar los 16 millones de dólares de la Ley del Plan de Recuperación de los Estados Unidos (ARPA) del condado de Mendocino tal y como se pretendía; específicamente para aliviar las disparidades y desigualdades de los más afectados por la pandemia. 

Hay muchos ejemplos de cómo los condados y las ciudades han involucrado a sus comunidades a través de audiencias públicas, encuestas y más. Necesitamos que el condado de Mendocino inicie este proceso. Hasta entonces, podemos tomarnos un momento para exigir transparencia, accesibilidad, inclusión y diversidad de aportes, así como con el proceso de distribución de estos fondos. Póngase en contacto con su supervisor, envíe “comentarios electrónicos”, o a través de las formas disponibles para presentar su “expresión pública”.

Hay ejemplos de cómo los condados y las ciudades ya han gastado o planean gastar sus dólares. Algunos fondos se han utilizado para:

  • Mitigación del impacto económico con asistencia a los hogares (programas de alimentación, alquiler, ayuda a los servicios públicos, acceso a Internet, prevención de desahucios), prestaciones de desempleo o dinero en efectivo a los trabajadores desempleados, asistencia o apoyo a la formación laboral;
  • Salud pública con pruebas de COVID y equipos personales de protección para los profesionales de la salud; servicios de salud mental y de uso de sustancias; prevención de COVID en entornos congregados (cárceles, albergues, escuelas, centros de enfermería);
  • Servicios a las comunidades desproporcionadamente afectadas con ayuda a los distritos de mayor índice de pobreza, servicios y apoyos para la salud social, emocional y mental, cuidado de niños, visitas a domicilio, servicios para jóvenes en acogida, vivienda asequible y servicios para personas sin vivienda.

¿Cómo debería utilizar el Condado de Mendocino estos fondos?

Pongamos estos dólares a trabajar con las mejores ideas para apoyar a los más afectados. 

Laura Diamondstone

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Maggie Von Vogt

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  1. Affordable housing would be nice. Housing prices here in Mendocino County continue to rise. Regardless shutting up low-income housing oh, most people actually need affordable housing. Not rentals that depend on the government to subsidize them but Lo housing prices. Getting tired of them continuing to rise. My children are in their late thirties and early forties and cannot afford a house around here even working all the time. Pretty sick of it Mendocino County! I think our Board of Supervisors has a lot to do with this yet they continue to make money hand over fist while the rest of us are just getting by. They continue to make decisions that we do not agree with. I wish we could clean house of these people and start over again. I’m not the only one that feels this way. Get some affordable housing in here instead of letting prices Skyrocket to where no one can afford them except the pot growers that are making tons of money right now. Quit punishing them for the rules that you are making!

  2. 🕊I’m a lifelong Mendo County resident. All the “common working folk” I know are barely escaping homelessness because of the high housing costs here. And lower income people have almost zero hope of finding housing here that they can afford. A lot of them are good people, working homeless. I mean honestly why bother working if you can’t find an affordable place to live? Everyone needs a place to live.

    Let’s talk about help for domestic violence victims. this population is exceedingly underserved. They literally cannot leave their abusers due to fear of being homeless with the children. Let’s get some low rent housing. Not subsidized. But affordable. So the working class can live. So victims of Domestic Violence can afford to move their children to safety! 🕊

    A large community run organic food grow with a parcel for camping would be nice. Let the homeless that are willing to work the land have a place to park their tents. In exchange for work. No barriers. Just stay accountable and work the food grow. Be productive and safe. No drug use allowed.
    Share the food with the entire community.

    People need Hope. And Housing. Most of all. 🕊We need to have something we can take pride in. Something tangible.

Join the Conversation

Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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