Ventura, CA – “The pandemic impacted just about every part of our community and economy,” said County Executive Officer Mike Powers. “We budgeted and allocated funds in order to address multiple community health, social and economic impacts as well as basic needs.” The County’s COVID-19 Spending Plan encompasses costs incurred by the County from March 2020 through June 30, 2021. The plan is comprised of actual costs to-date and estimated costs through the end of June 2021 reported out now as the County reaches the end of the fiscal year.
The $373 million Spending Plan includes costs for local assistance, testing, vaccine deployment and operations to support the community. These costs are funded by several sources including the Federal Emergency Management Administration, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, and the Older Americans Act. The plan does not include the anticipated funding for the American Rescue Plan.
The focus has been to support those in need quickly and efficiently. Community members were struggling to pay their rent, so a rental assistance program was launched. $11.4 million went to cover 3 months for households in need. $3.5 million was provided for farmworkers for household assistance. The County’s positive financial position allowed for reserves to be used to quickly obtain hotels providing shelter for nearly 600 community members. COVID isolation support was also made available for any community member in need. $40 million has been provided to restaurants helping to keep them open while also serving more than 6 million meals to vulnerable homebound adults. $3.4 million supported expanded Food Share pop up sites for community members in need.
The County supported struggling businesses with three rounds of business assistance grants with $60 million in support to 6,000 businesses. The County also launched a business ambassador program to help businesses navigate COVID-19 compliance. The Resource Management Agency and the Ventura County Fire District also waived fees for businesses experiencing hardships. Business Ambassadors visited more than 16,000 businesses.
The County took an all hands-on deck approach to coordinate response including the reallocation of 980 disaster services workers to do whatever was needed for the community including high volume testing and vaccine roll out. More than 1.5 million tests have been performed and more than 842,000 doses of the COVID-19 have been administered to date.
“It’s important for the community to know how these public funds were managed. They went back to the community during a time when it has been needed most,” added Powers.