Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. created two programs designed to provide relief to residents who are either unemployed or underemployed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Mayor Butts introduced his initiative on August 11 which created a Debit Card Program and Rent Relief Fund to assist Inglewood residents. The programs were front loaded by the General Fund until funds were received from the Treasury Department. A recently penned op-ed by Butts details that of the $1,275,000 allocated to the Debit Cards, only $50,000 has been spent on 50 cards.
Here is a timeline of events.
- August 11 – Mayor Butts introduces his initiative to create the two programs; document is initialed by Yakema Decatur “for” Mayor Butts which authorized use of $2 million of the city’s reserves to fund the program. The program would create a Debit Card Program which would award $500 cards to recipients, and a Rent Relief program that would provide up to two months rental assistance;
- August 20 – HUD Manager Roberto Chavez submitted a staff report accepting funds in the amount of $1,382,521 in CARES Act funding and requested $1 million from the city’s reserves to fund the Debit Card Program which at the time was $500 per card;
- September 29 – HUD Manager Roberto Chavez submitted a staff report requesting to increase the Debit Card amount from $500 to $1,000 and asked for an additional $275,000 to ensure 1,275 applicants would receive the cards for a total cost of $1,275,000. Chavez also asked to increase the rent relief from two months to three;
- October 20 – City holds a Public Hearing to approve a substantial amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Annual Action Plan for receipt of the CARES Act funding and Mayor Butts walked out of the meeting and didn’t vote on the item;
- November 24 – during the regular city council meeting the city will accept $1,382,521, for the Debit Card program, stating that a portion ($460,840). was received in FY 2019-2020 and the bulk ($921,681) is anticipated to be received in FY 2020-2021
On November 21 Mayor Butts provided an “exclusive” memo to a local newspaper touting the success of the COVID-19 programs he created.
The City is in the second phase of COVID-19 Rental Relief and $1,000 Debit Card programs. The City will provide up to 1,000 renters with up to 3 months back rent payment relief for those impacted by COVID-19 (loss of employment or underemployment). 648 renters have signed up for the program and 2,200 have applied for Debit cards. 50 cards have been issued.
2UrbanGirls is having a hard time understanding how the city has only spent $50,000, on 50 Debit Cards, when $1,275,000 was front loaded for the program. Where’s the rest of the money?