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San Mateo County grants rental assistance to elderly facing evictions in care homes

A much-needed rental assistance for elders in dire need was granted by the San Mateo County as part of federal CARES Act to somehow alleviate the plight of those who respite from the ongoing challenges posed especially by the COVD-19 pandemic.

Supervisor David J. Canepa announced that the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors approved a $500,000 grant in the CARES Act funding to the Institute on Aging to provide rental assistance to individuals facing eviction in Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE).

“Many residents in these facilities have fallen behind in their rents, face eviction and possibly homelessness in the middle of a deadly pandemic. We are talking about people as old as 94 and others with dementia and other critical needs,” Canepa acknowledged. “These people are unable to live by themselves who live in facilities where the rents can be as high as $8,000 a month. If evicted, these individuals face more than just the specter of homelessness but also a heightened risk of infection and death due to COVID. This funding will protect many of these individuals from eviction and that’s an investment I’m proud to make.”

Canepa represents San Mateo County District 5 which includes the cities of Daly City, Colma, Brisbane, portions of South San Francisco and San Bruno and the unincorporated Broadmoor Village.

It was observed that the there are San Mateo County RCFE residents that have run out of money in and are in a quandary on how to take care of basic needs much less on rental dues.

The San Mateo County Ombudsman Services reported that there are at least 10 residents that will face eviction as of December 31, 2020 because of back rent due and not able to meet the monthly rent that they now must pay.

“They either have run out of money, have no family left, or their children can no longer help them due to the coronavirus and loss of jobs. These residents use their social security income plus what the family can contribute to meet the monthly rent,” San Mateo inc. Ombudsman Services Executive Director Bernadette “Bernie” Mellott laments. “Some owe back rent up to $60,000 and others do not have any back rent but no ‘gap funds’ to bridge their social security money and the cost of rent per month. The CARES funds can really help with the ‘gap fund’ as a bridge to help these residents ‘age in place’.”

Mellot shared that there is a 94 year old who has run out of money, has no one to help, and is also on hospice.

“You cannot evict this person but what does the facility do in this case? There are many of these cases and more happening each day,” Mellot added.

The Ombudsman Services of San Mateo County Inc. (OSSMC) works to ensure the protection of residents of long-term care facilities, including RCFEs, in the county through advocacy, direct intervention and education in collaboration with service providers.

Presently, there are 248 RCFEs in the county, with their individual capacity ranging from 6 beds to 50 beds per facility, and a collective capacity of 5,346 beds according to records of the OSSMC.

It is also OSSMC’s job to make sure your stay is safe, comfortable, and dignified, and that each resident receives the quality of care that he or she rightfully deserves.

They are committed to changing the face of aging in the Bay Area. In addition to actively investigating complaints, we are proactive in providing resources and ongoing support to residents and their families. We know how challenging it can be to navigate the long-term care system and we are here to help you.