LA Street Vendors Struggling to Receive Support Amid Pandemic
Street Vendors are ingrained in Los Angeles history, they are part of a welcoming community that provides an array of tastes from multiple cultures. There are about 50,000 street vendors operating in Los Angeles, 10,000 of whom sell food.
However, street vendors have been faced with yet another bump in the road. LA’s city government has cracked down even harder on street vendors than other LA food workers in this crisis. Los Angeles’s City Council, as one of its first acts of pandemic response, banned street vendors without licenses.
Most, if not all, are undocumented immigrants. They cannot work remotely, are unable to collect unemployment, and are unable to receive stimulus checks.
Jose Romero, owner of Gemela California Catering feels his livelihood is being put under immense stress. Since the last time Scriberr News talked to Romero, he was unsure of what lied ahead. Recently, Scriberr News reached out once again in order to gain some insight about his current situation.
“During the start of this pandemic I saw a massive decrease in sales, however now that California is slowly starting to open up, sales are increasing but still not at the rate before [pre-COVID],” he said.
“In an industry that already has it’s hardships, full of hard-working people, I wonder if there is anything the city can do to help us,” he added.
LA takes initiative
Inclusive Action has launched a citywide effort to create a permit system for street vendors. The group is helping to lead a campaign to help low-income entrepreneurs build strong businesses and take care of their families. Inclusive action has created an emergency fund for street vendors and micro-entrepreneurs, giving $400 to those who are unable to receive help from the government.
Inclusive Action wrote on their website: “Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been listening to the fear and anxieties of the micro-entrepreneurs we work with as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.”
The Angeleno Campaign was created to receive donations that will be used to provide direct financial assistance for the most basic needs, i.e., medical aid and assistance, food, and clothing, to individuals and families who are facing extreme economic hardship.
LA city councilman Robert Blumenfield told Scriberr News about a new Angeleno card that will act as an identification to provide access to Food Pantries and Renters Assurance Program.
“Emergency Renters Relief Program, which essentially will offer peace of mind to those worried about making rent and the councilman added an extra hundred thousand dollars in discretionary funds,” Blumenfield told Scriberr News.
The Los Angeles Emergency Rental Assistance Subsidy Program will provide a temporary rent subsidy for tenants who live in the City of Los Angeles and are unable to pay rent due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eligible tenants are those whose household income is at or below 80% of the Area Median Income, which is $83,500 for a family of four. The rent subsidy will be paid directly to the tenant’s landlord on the tenant’s behalf.
More information can be found here on their website regarding who qualifies for those benefits.