UNFORESEEN CHALLENGES

ECONOMY


The pandemic sent economic shockwaves across the U.S. and the San Diego County region.

Nationally, the unemployment rate jumped from 3.5% in February to 14.7% in April, the worst since the Great Depression. The U.S. Labor Department reported 20.5 million people had lost their jobs.

The San Diego Association of Governments reported the local unemployment rate skyrocketed from 3.1% before COVID-19 to 25% in May. An estimated quarter of a million San Diegans were unemployed.

The gross regional product and taxable sales dropped billions of dollars. The County was spending about $20 million a month responding to the pandemic. Staff reported increased enrollment in public assistance and social service programs.

The CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund provided nearly $388 million for emergency response across a number of initiatives, in addition to support provided by the County General Fund.

The County committed $100 million to support the T3 strategy of test, trace and treat, and also designated $5 million in relief funds for T3 efforts at K-12 schools.

Another $2 million will help give children at home internet access so they don’t fall behind in school.

More than $24 million is slated for a rental assistance program that will help about 8,000 households, $25 million will go to a child care provider grant program and $5 million to help essential workers with child care.

"This is keeping us in business. We were able to create two  more spaces, two more jobs, and we are so grateful…It’s fulfilling to see we can keep the doors open and also we can feed (people)."

- Restaurant owner taking part in Great Plates program

A $17 million economic stimulus program for small businesses was expanded another $3.5 million to specifically help restaurants.

The Great Plates programs garnered nearly $12 million and will allow restaurants to continue serving free meals to seniors and adults with health conditions and disablities urged to stay home to avoid the risk of COVID-19. Food banks will receive $3.5 million.

Behavioral Health Services will see $15 million to improve its telehealth capabilities and $2 million will go to Child Welfare Services for outreach services to children and their families.

The County allocated $25 million to assist cities in the region that didn’t qualify for CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund direct allocations. 

The troubled economy also prompted the County to help struggling renters by imposing a moratorium on evictions in the unincorporated area. The District Attorney’s Office sent out warnings against price gouging and scams to protect residents.