Sonoma County United In Crisis
Just as our fires brought the vast inequalities in Sonoma County to the surface, so too has the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than corporate bailouts and commitments to simply not evict families ‘for now’ we need a real community bailout. One in five Sonoma County residents are living in poverty1 and hundreds of thousands are now out of work. Members of our community need to know they will not lose work permanently and come out of this pandemic owing thousands of dollars to landlords and banks.
A 2019 report found 40% of Americans would not be able to respond to a $400 unexpected expense without some kind of help2. This agenda was created in unity by those very community members and leaders from across our County. The stakes are the highest they’ve ever been. We may be in this pandemic for months.
We call on our local governments to step into the responsibility of caring for the whole community and prioritize these policies below. If we do this right, we will not just survive but thrive. Our communities cannot wait. Every day bold action is not taken is another day families, tenants, seniors, immigrants, workers, and our unhoused community struggle to survive.
We have the right for our basic needs to be met
- The County provides funds for undocumented workers whose work was impacted by COVID-19.
- The County will adopt language justice principles in all their operations. Any information and all alerts must be multilingual in both English and Spanish as well as other languages spoken in the county – including indigenous languages such as Mixteco, Triqui, Chatino. Information must be proactively shared with the unhoused community.
- The county will develop a permanent office with full time staff charged with the responsibility to oversee the County’s, policies, procedures and emergency plans to ensure vulnerable communities and language justice are prioritized.
- Ensure employers do not lay off workers until all means of securing needed funds have been exhausted. Pass a Just Cause Termination Ordinance to secure jobs for laid off workers.
- Provide County information for the public on where and how to access free or low-cost healthcare during the pandemic. Ensure laid-off workers can keep their healthcare. Ensure essential workers without access to healthcare have any incurred medical costs covered should they develop an illness.
We have the right to Home
- By August 1st the Board of Supervisors will comply with state law SB54 to participate in and fund a countywide town hall meeting on issues impacting the immigrant community, including a TRUTH Act report from Sheriff Essick. To ensure language and cultural competency, this will be planned and facilitated by community organizations.
- Rent Cancellation & Mortgage Cancellation, and a moratorium on all evictions, rent increases, and foreclosures that is extended to at least 6 months after the end of the COVID-19 outbreak. No rent debt accumulated and any tenant relocations will be temporary.
- Secure and allocate relief funding and rental and mortgage assistance for all who will be impacted economically by this virus.
- Provide emergency shelter, and centrally located bathroom facilities, cooking facilities, hand-washing stations to our homeless population. Extend ban on displacement of homeless encampments until permanent shelter has been secured.
We have the right to be safe and protected
- The Board of Supervisors mandate the Sheriff to stop all communication with ICE.
- Assurance from the County of Sonoma that the County Courthouse will abide by the new 2020 state law related to access to ICE agents. Courthouse personnel will receive the relevant training.
- Enact mandatory Paid Sick Leave for all employees. Waive the 90-day requirement to receive paid sick time. Notice regarding current State paid sick leave requirements will be given to all employees in their preferred language.
- Expand the Health Orders from the County Health Officer to mandate all healthcare workers working with patients who are known or suspected to have COVID-19 be provided an N-95 fitting and mask Prioritize testing for vulnerable populations at risk for fast spread of disease (ex: inmates, nursing home residents, homeless shelters and healthcare janitorial staff).
- Advocate to Governor Newsom for the release of all COVID-19 vulnerable persons from ICE detention centers in California.
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