First 5 San Diego donates to essential worker childcare fund
First 5 San Diego, an organization that promotes the health and wellbeing of young children from the prenatal stage through five years of age, is providing $500,000 to the San Diego COVID-19 Children’s Fund to help parents with children ages 0–5 that are working in essential jobs pay for childcare.
The amount ensures expanded access to the fund, which was established in March by San Diego for Every Child, a coalition of individuals and organizations working to end the experience of child poverty in San Diego County. First 5 San Diego’s $500,000 donation is being matched by San Diego for Every Child’s chair, Sara Jacobs, bringing the total to $900,000.
“We are listening to the needs of our families and responding the best we can to support them during this challenging time. We want to help ensure that parents who are working outside of the home have access to quality childcare and know that their kids are in a stable and healthy learning environment,” said Alethea Arguilez, executive director of First 5 San Diego.
Parents who are essential workers will be able to apply for vouchers from the San Diego COVID-19 Children’s Fund to help them pay for childcare so they can continue to work. With this contribution, even more families will benefit from the fund, which now totals $1.1 million.
The San Diego COVID-19 Children’s Fund is available to help meet the needs of families and childcare providers in three main priority areas: food and nutrition; childcare; and equitable distance learning. The Fund is administered through a partnership of the Center on Policy Initiatives, Child Development Associates, LISC San Diego, Parent Institute for Quality Education, Jewish Family Service of San Diego, San Diego Grantmakers, San Diego Unified School District, San Diego Workforce Partnership, the YMCA Childcare Resource Service, and others. Sara Jacobs, The San Diego Foundation, The Epstein Family Foundation, The Payne Family Foundation, TVC Capital and more have also contributed to the fund.
To learn more about First 5 San Diego, visit first5sandiego.org. To apply for a voucher or make a donation to the fund, please visit sandiegoforeverychild.org/covid19.
ALS Association makes donation to Sharp Grossmont
As part of its response to serve the San Diego community during the coronavirus pandemic, the ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter has announced it recently loaned six electric hospital beds to Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.
“In response to a request for assistance from the Sharp HealthCare Foundation, we replied with an offer to share resources from our equipment storage unit,” said Steve Becvar, executive director, ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter. “The response we received to our offer was beds. During these unchartered and unusual times, we are happy and willing to do whatever we can to help our community.”
Becvar said the ALS Association’s storage unit, referred to by ALS staff as the “loan closet,” has an assortment of durable medical equipment, including fully automated beds with hand controls, which typically are provided at no cost to ALS patients and their families.
Becvar said the loaning of hospital beds to Sharp Grossmont Hospital was “the right thing to do” and the hospital can keep the beds for as long as necessary or needed during this unprecedented COVID-19 period of time.
“We are grateful for the generosity of the ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter and for their offer of beds that will be used if needed,” said Bill Littlejohn, Senior Vice President and CEO, Sharp HealthCare Foundation. “Thanks to the ALS Chapter for answering our call for help and their assistance in helping us remain prepared to be ready to serve our patients and the community.”
Census self-response rate falling short
On April 27, at just over a month into the 2020 Census Count, only half of California’s population had filled out the census. In San Diego County specifically, 56% of the area’s population had responded.
In a joint press release from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and State Treasurer Fiona Ma, what this means is that for every Californian not counted, California will lose approximately $1,000 a year in vital funding for health care, child and senior programs, emergency services and other important community projects that support everyone’s livelihood in San Diego.
The 56% self-response rate for 2020 falls short of the 68% rate in 2010. In addition to self-responses, census workers will also actively be gathering census information from residents in door-to-door and phone banking campaigns, but due to the pandemic, those responses are expected to fall short of previous census counts as well.
Report shows impacts of COVID-19 on hotel industry
As COVID-19 continues to devastate the hotel industry, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) released new data on April 23 showing that 70% of hotel employees have been laid off or furloughed as eight in 10 hotel rooms across the nation remain empty.
As this crisis progresses, the impact to the travel industry is nine times worse than 9/11, with forecasted occupancy rates for 2020 hitting record lows worse than rates in 1933 during the Great Depression.
“For the hotel industry our priority is rehiring and retaining our hardworking employees who power our vibrant industry,” said Chip Rogers, President and CEO of AHLA. “Hotels were one of the first industries affected by the pandemic and will be one of the last to recover. The CARES Act was an important first step with a lot of supportive measures for the hotel industry, but we need Congress to make important changes to the program to reflect the current economic reality and help the employees in the industries that have been impacted the most.”
Due to the dramatic downturn in travel, properties that remain open are operating with minimal staffing. On average, full-service hotels are using 14 employees, down from 50 before the crisis. Resort hotels, which often operate seasonally based on the area’s peak tourism months, averaged about 90 employees per location as recently as March 13 and are down to an average of five employees per resort today.
As travel halted in late February, the hotel industry took immediate action to work with the White House and Congress to help hotel industry employees and small business operators, which represent 61% of hotel properties in the U.S.
“The hotel industry is at a critical juncture. We need more resources to survive this unprecedented time,” said Rogers. “Additional funding is vital for small business owners across America, including tens of thousands of small business hoteliers, to help them keep their doors open and rehire and retain millions of employees.”
To view the report, visit bit.ly/2KW9A50.