Palo Alto's plan to build a history museum and create a new program addressing response services for mental health-related emergencies received a boost from the federal government last week, with Rep. Anna Eshoo announcing that she was able to secure funding for both efforts in federal appropriation bills.
The projects are part of a $11.2 million package that Eshoo secured for District 18, which includes portions of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, including Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Woodside and Portola Valley. The bills have already cleared the relevant subcommittees in the House of Representatives, as well as the Appropriations Committee, and will soon be considered by the full House, according to Eshoo.
The allocations include $3 million for the rehabilitation of Roth Building at 300 Homer Ave., a city-owned building that was designed by architect Birge Clark and which is slated to be transformed into the Palo Alto Museum.
Also included in the federal package is $2 million in funding for Palo Alto, Mountain View and Los Altos for response services to mental health-related emergency calls. Eshoo said the funding will make sure these calls addressed with "the appropriate resources rather than law enforcement."
— Gennady Sheyner
State grant brings COVID vaccines to doctors' offices
The California Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that it will make $40 million in grants available to help doctors' offices and small practices safely store and administer more COVID-19 vaccines.
With more than 74% of state residents age 12 and up at least partially vaccinated, the CDPH and its third-party vaccination administrator, Blue Shield of California, are focusing primarily on making vaccine doses widely accessible across the state, particularly in areas that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
The $40 million CalVaxGrant program will help them do so, according to state officials, by partially reimbursing small doctors' offices up to $55,000 for the staffing and infrastructure needed to set up small-scale vaccination clinics in their offices.
The state is making the grants available to health care practices with up to 200 physicians that apply at phcdocs.org/Programs/CalVaxGrant.
"Californians must take action to protect themselves and those in our communities who cannot get vaccinated, including children under age 12," CDPH Director and State Public Health Office Dr. Tomas Aragon said in a statement. "COVID-19 vaccines are free, safe, and our best tool in stopping the spread and mutation of variants."
— Bay City News Service
County approves relief funds for small businesses
To support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, San Mateo County supervisors on Tuesday approved small business relief funds and passed a law that would allow home food sales.
First, the Board of Supervisors allocated $2 million of federal funding for small businesses that have not received other relief funding in the past year. The 2021 SMC Strong Small Business Assistance Program would provide 200 grants of $10,000 each to qualifying small businesses.
Businesses will need to submit a short preliminary application, which will open in August, and then grantees will be randomly selected. The San Mateo Credit Union Community Fund will administer grants on a rolling basis in September and early October.
Second, the supervisors introduced an ordinance that would allow food sales from home kitchens. The "Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations" ordinance will create a process for permitting home kitchens under the county's Environmental Health Services Division, in accordance with state law.
The ordinance goes into effect in 30 days and will stay in place for a two-year pilot period.
The supervisors also allocated $238,000 of federal funds to the Health Services Division to cover the administrative costs of regulating these home food sales. The county will begin accepting permit applications in August and permits will be issued in October, according to Heather Forshey, the director of the Environmental Health Services Division.
Once the permits are issued, permit holders can apply for grant funding to help with startup costs, like food safety training, advertising, marketing and web presence. Permit holders could receive grants of $2,500, as the Board allocated $62,500 to provide grants to 25 permit holders.
— Bay City News Service