On Monday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a new ‘Angelino Card’ program that will give additional funds to select residents affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Los Angeles residents with households below the federal poverty line who have also had at least one household member either lose a job or have income reduced by 50% or more will be eligible to receive funds. Immigration status was stated to not be a factor in eligibility. Those eligible will receive a debit card with $700, $1,100, or $1,500 on it, depending on household size and employment circumstances. Eligible residents will also need to schedule appointments but leave them staggered to keep social distancing rules.
Unlike federal and state unemployment programs, the Angelino Card is grant-based, meaning there is only a finite supply of cards available. The City of Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department would randomly select households for grants should the number of requests exceed grants.
Mayor Garcetti announced the card as part of a continued commitment to residents in the city, adding that he hoped for an increased federal status as well.
“We are all Angelenos and I hope that our federal government will listen to that too,” Garcetti said on Monday. “Those who are cleaning our hospitals, those who are picking our food, those who are working in our warehouses, it doesn’t matter what their legal status is today. They are here as Angelenos and we will help them no matter what.”
Angelino Card backlash and backing mandatory masks
Critics have said that many vulnerable people will slip through the cracks because of how the program is set up.
“They’re putting it in blocks instead of having it adjusted to what the need is,” said Los Angeles community organizer Ronaldo Alcuna. “Look at what the need is. And there are just set amounts. Unemployment is adjusted to the needs of the person, but this card just gives a package amount like it can’t go lower than $700.”
“I know many people who feel like they’re going to be left out despite being in the process for applying. So we’re probably going to have a lottery where elderly people on fixed incomes, large families with parents out of work, families barely making ends meet, and single people facing eviction will get money based on chance. Instead of $1,500 only going to one of them, why not break it down so everyone gets something? You know, like how other programs work.”
“This isn’t socialism or anything close to that, it’s just about helping as many people as possible get by. Like unemployment. You pay in, and when times are tough, you get money back you put in.”
“It’s just not happening here.”
Mayor Garcetti also announced during the press conference that deaths were expected to peak this week while also giving a warning on what might happen if restrictions are removed too soon. Garcetti cited how both San Francisco and Los Angeles reacted to the decline of cases in the 1918 Spanish Flu, with San Francisco removing masks early only for an uptick of cases happening two weeks later, while LA kept the measure in place longer and didn’t have an uptick.
Masks in public places are mandatory in LA until further notice, while Los Angeles County’s lockdown is in place until further notice. California COVID-19 deaths are now at .002% of the population.
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