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City of Santa Maria receives second round of COVID-19 relief funding

Posted at 6:24 PM, Nov 19, 2020

The City of Santa Maria is receiving more than $960,000 in COVID-19 funding.

Santa Maria city officials say the funding will benefit the community in a big way.

"This is the second round of federal CARES Act funding that we'll be putting this towards rental assistance, improving public facilities and a small amount will go toward code enforcement and outreach to help businesses deal with the pandemic,” said Mark van de Kamp, the city's public information officer.

Back in March, the City of Santa Maria received $958,272 in CARES Act funding and recently learned an additional $965,080 would be added to the existing funding to help with the pandemic response.

According to city officials, about 42% of the funds will go toward public facility improvements to help with social distancing in city offices and buildings.

"There's not enough physical room for the public and the staff to work safely so we began to remodel the building across the street,” van de Kamp said.

The Finance Department will be moved out of City Hall and more space will be available for residents coming in to pay utility bills. Construction is set to finish early next year.

About $400,000 of the funds will be used to help with rental assistance.

"This additional fund that was approved on Tuesday will help us extend our emergency rent assistance program and help us fund additional households that need help during the pandemic," said Rosie Rojo, Community Programs Manager.

Approximately 140 households will benefit from this funding.

"It's incredibly important the second round of funding will help, hopefully, keep people in their homes. Obviously, the first round wasn't enough for the need. Even the second round is not enough but we are still so grateful and glad that we have it so that at least we can help additional households here in our community,” Rojo said.

According to the city, they are still processing rent assistance applications and will not be accepting any new applications until the previous ones are processed.

City officials say the money will also be used for things like sneeze guards, barriers, touch-less doors.