Make a public comment: tell City Council to vote for rental assistance
One of the agenda items on Tuesday’s City Council agenda is the allocation of funds in response to COVID-19. Back in May, RJC members urged Council and city staff to come up with a plan for $615,000 in federal funds that prioritized rental assistance. The plan that the staff has put together does indeed prioritize rental assistance, and also helps pay for some homeless services not covered by FEMA.
If this plan passes, it would be a huge win for renters in Asheville. Massive layoffs and economic insecurity are putting people at risk of eviction and homelessness. Providing rental assistance prevents homelessness, allows landlords to pay their mortgages, stabilizes families, and helps build the economy. It’s the right thing for Council to do with this money.
What to do:
- Email and call in a public comment for Tuesday’s Council meeting, advocating for rental assistance. (If you only have time to do one, we encourage you to send an email – but do both of you can.)
- To email a comment, write to AshevilleCityCouncilJune232020@publicinput.com. The deadline for this is 24 hours after the meeting is over (so Wednesday night).
- To call in a comment, listen to the meeting live (it starts at 5 pm, and usually lasts several hours. The open public comment period will be toward the end. You can listen to the meeting live by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code: 9144. When there is a call for “informal discussion and public comment” toward the end of the meeting, you will hear “for more options please press *.” Pressing * will allow you to continue to listen live and join a speaker queue. (Make sure you wait to join the speaker queue during the open public comment time at the end of the meeting. If you try to make your comment earlier when other agenda items are being discussed, you’ll get cut off.) You’ll have 3 minutes to make your comment. per person per item.
- Provide your name, city of residence and the item you are commenting on (Public hearing to amend the 2019-20 Annual Action Plan to allocate funds to help prevent, prepare for, and
respond to COVID-19.)
- Start off with something personal: tell them why you are a resident whose voice they should listen to on this matter; share a quick personal story about why providing rental assistance to those who are struggling economically is important to you; make a personal statement about why you think this issue should be important to them.
- Close by stating plainly that you urge Council to approve the staff plan for using the funds coming in from the federal government under the Community Development Block Grant program for rental assistance.