In this edition of the COSAS newsletter, you will find news about Orange County moving to the Red Tier in the pandemic reopening plan, COVID-19 vaccine opportunities, affordable senior housing, and Santa Ana news and events. I highly recommend reading the wonderful success story about a single mother who found support and a home for her family with the help of our City shelter and housing services.
Red Tier Reopening on March 14
Finally, things are looking up for our businesses, our economic and our day-to-day activities. Today the California Department of Public Health announced that Orange County and 12 other counties will be able to move into the Red Tier beginning Sunday, March 14, thanks to the 2 million vaccine doses that have been administered in hard-hit communities like ours. That means starting Sunday, Santa Ana restaurants, churches, shopping malls, gyms, and movie theaters will be able to operate indoors or expand their inside operations, though not at full capacity yet. Sure, there are still some restrictions, and not all types of businesses (including bars and nightclubs) can open. But it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
Even though we are reopening, please still take precautions like wearing masks, and get vaccinated as soon as you can get an appointment. We must reopen safely without spreading COVID-19 so we can move to the next tier and begin to really recover from the pandemic. Go to the link to see which industries and activities will be allowed.
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
I’m excited to report that with the passage of the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the City of Santa Ana is estimated to receive about $143 million. While the detailed spending guidelines have not been published, City staff has created an outline for potential broad spending priorities. Under the umbrella of “Revive Santa Ana – A Commitment to Protect and Assist our Community as We Emerge from the Impacts of the Pandemic,” five key areas have been identified and will be presented at the upcoming City Council meeting during the budget discussion (scroll down the newsletter to learn how to watch and participate in the meeting.) This will be a much-needed financial boost to help us address all the significant impacts COVID-19 has had on our residents, businesses, non-profits, fiscal health and infrastructure.
COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic on March 20
The City of Santa Ana is having a pop-up vaccine clinic only for Santa Ana residents age 65 or older on Saturday, March 20. Slots are filling up fast, so make an appointment now!
If you don't qualify, but you have parents, grandparents, neighbors, or friends who do, please help them make an appointment and help protect our community.
Need help? Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.:
Other Vaccine Options
The OC Public Health Agency has vaccine Points of Dispensing (PODs) at Santa Ana College and other locations around Orange County. The Santa Ana College POD is now taking appointments for:
Phase 1A populations (all tiers). Includes persons age 65 or older.
Phase 1B, Tier 1 populations, which includes:
$5,500 Rental Assistance Grants
Thanks to the City Council’s funding approval, our rental assistance program is now providing grants of up to $5,500 to Santa Ana residents who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. If you’re having trouble paying your rent, apply now!
Renters who have already been approved for $1,500 or $3,000 in emergency rental assistance will be considered for additional assistance (up to a maximum of $5,500) after re-certifying their eligibility.
Premium Pay for Grocery and Retail Workers
On March 2, the City Council approved an ordinance establishing premium pay of an additional $4 per hour for grocery and retail pharmacy workers whose essential jobs put them at risk of contracting COVID-19. Grocery and pharmacy employees are essential workers who perform services that are fundamental to the economy and health of the community during the COVID-19 crisis. They work in high-risk conditions with inconsistent access to protective equipment and other safety measures, work in public situations with limited ability to engage in physical distancing, and are continually exposed to the spread of disease.
New Public Records Portal Improves Transparency
Providing access to public records and ensuring transparency at City Hall is an essential element of a democratic government. To make this easier, Clerk of the Council Daisy Gomez has unveiled the City of Santa Ana’s new public records request system through NextRequest, a powered transparency portal for streamlining city public records requests and releasing public records. The NextRequest portal gives the public unprecedented insight into public requests submitted to the City and puts a searchable archive of responsive documents at your fingertips.
For the first time, anyone will be able to see the approximately 1,600 requests that are made to Santa Ana each year. Visitors to the site will also have access to responsive documents released, akin to the “release to one, release to all” policy being piloted for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests at the federal level. This ensures that once a government document has been made public once, anyone will have access to it.
NextRequest makes public records easier for governments to provide and the public to access. Founded in 2015 by three former Code for America fellows, NextRequest is used by governments throughout the United States.
During this difficult time when many people are struggling to pay rent or find housing, I’m happy to share great news about an affordable housing opportunity for our seniors. Metro East Senior Park recently lowered its prices and is accepting applications. This City partner project is a brand new, affordable, senior apartment community under construction at 2222 E. First St. It includes 418 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. All of these affordable housing units are restricted for seniors age 62 and over.
Amenities include a community clubhouse, elevators, ADA access, computer center, fitness area, garage parking, courtyard terrace, roof deck, multiple on-site laundry facilities, fully equipped kitchens, central heat and air conditioning, and more.
Recently Lowered Rental Prices:
On March 18, 2021, the City of Santa Ana Public Works Agency will be recognized for three roadway improvement projects by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in their Virtual Annual Awards Event for Orange County.
The three roadway improvement projects being recognized are:
Congratulations to Public Works Executive Director Nabil Saba, Deputy Public Works Director William Galvez and their team! You make Santa Ana proud.
The City of Santa Ana Public Works Traffic Engineering Division has received numerous concerns related to vehicle speeds and traffic volumes on Washington Avenue from French Street to Lincoln Avenue. To help address these concerns, the City will be implementing a pilot program that utilizes speed cushions as a method to lower vehicle speeds and deter non-local traffic.
The construction to install the speed cushions on Washington Avenue between Lincoln Avenue and French Street will start on March 15 and anticipates being completed by March 26. The picture illustrates the type of speed cushions that will be used and the map notes the approximate locations of the cushion installation marked by an “x.” Should you have questions regarding the speed cushions, please contact Public Works Engineer Ruben Castaneda at email@example.com or (714) 647-5621.
The Santa Ana Public Library is partnering with Discovery Cube Orange County to offer Santa Ana students and families a deeper dive into some of their favorite Discovery Cube programs and exhibits through the Library’s “Deep Dive Collections.” Deep Dive Collections consist of specially curated library materials such as books, e-books, audiobooks, and other materials that are accessible via the Library’s online catalog, digital collection, or through the Library’s curbside pickup service. Current Deep Dive Collections highlight the themes of pet safety, feed the birds, and build your own adventure.
In support of Santa Ana Waste Free Day and the Discovery Cube/Santa Ana Unified School District Afterschool Program, SAUSD students will be able to use their Student Success Library Card (student ID number) to check out all library materials.
Janet had been homeless since 2015 when she came to the City of Santa Ana’s homeless shelter, The Link. Before staying at The Link, Janet had filtered through various programs and motels looking for stable housing for herself, her five children, and her grandmother. At The Link, Janet Reyes was connected to a housing choice voucher with the Santa Ana Housing Authority. Janet was able to utilize this voucher to rent a small house in Santa Ana.
“The Link is a really good program,” Janet said. “The staff is really great. They helped with my kids, including my two with autism.”
The Link provides 200 shelter beds along with support services to help unhoused individuals get the help they need and ultimately move into permanent housing. Over the past two years, The Link has placed 195 people into housing.
On the importance of the Santa Ana Housing Authority’s work, Janet said: “Housing programs like this help a lot of people in need. For us it was a blessing. I don’t know what I would’ve done without it.”
When asked what she would tell other people experiencing homelessness, Janet said: “Look for help. It’s out there. When we were staying in a parking lot, Santa Ana Police helped us.”
At the March 2, 2021, meeting, the Santa Ana City Council…
City Council meetings are typically held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 5 p.m. Our meetings are live streamed on YouTube and CTV 3 (channel 3 on Spectrum and channel 99 on AT&T TV). If you’d like to provide public comments on agenda and non-agenda items, you can email, or join the Zoom webinar online or by phone.
Please join the Santa Ana Communication Linkage Forum (Com-Link) on Thursday, March 25, 2021, at 7 p.m. for a virtual meeting focused on the City's Strategic Plan goals and a budget discussion with Kathryn Downs, Executive Director of Finance and Management Services, and other City Staff. You will have an opportunity to ask questions and share your priorities regarding the Strategic Plan goals and the City's budget.
Join on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/99224779565
Meeting ID: 992 2477 9565.
The City of Santa Ana’s Youth Sports Program is offering free six-week girls basketball clinics. The program begins on Monday, March 29, and is open to girls ages 5 to 14. Registration is required at https://secure.rec1.com/CA/santa-ana-ca/catalog. For additional information, please contact the Youth Sports office at (714) 571-4264.
The City of Santa Ana’s Aquatics Program is offering swim team practices Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for 5-17-year-olds in March, April and May. The swim lessons program begins on Monday, March 29, and is open to children age 5 or older and adults. Registration is required at www.swimblueray.com/memorial. For additional information; please contact the Blueray office at (949) 459-3950.
Join Santa Ana Public Library this March as we celebrate Women’s History Month.
Young Adult Take and Make: Cup of Ambition
Date & Time: March 23rd -26th, 2021, 10am-5pm
For tweens and teens. Stay motivated and on-task with our customizable take-and-make vision mugs! Kits are available for curbside pickup March 23-26, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. while supplies last. No registration required.
Don't have a library card? Submit your application online here: https://tinyurl.com/SAPLOnlineLibraryCard
Test your knowledge of local female pioneers in Santa Ana and Orange County! Visit here to take the quiz!
LEARN MORE https://tinyurl.com/SAPLWomensHistoryMonth
Are you still experiencing mosquitoes, even though you thoroughly inspected your yard for standing water? You can learn how to prevent mosquitoes in our Santa Ana community on Tuesday, March 23, at 6 p.m. in a virtual Zoom presentation in English from Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District. Or you can attend the Spanish presentation on Tuesday, March 30, at 6 p.m.
You can join the Zoom mosquito prevention presentation at the following link:
March 23, 6 p.m. English presentation: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/
Webinar ID: 878 1513 0599
Or by phone: 213-338-8477 or 888-475-4499 (Toll Free)
March 30, 6 p.m. Spanish presentation: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/
Webinar ID: 893 2336 5210
Or by phone: 213-338-8477 or 888-475-4499 (Toll Free)
For additional questions, contact Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control at (714) 971-2421.