Hello everyone, I hope you are all doing well! Things are moving rapidly in a multitude of different directions as we continue to advocate for our community, and we’re exploring less formal methods of communication to keep y’all up to speed.
In order to provide more rapid and interactive information I have begun to utilize Facebook Live to give recaps of our COVID-19 briefings and to let you know about other efforts we’re working on as a council or as individuals. If you aren’t already doing so, you can follow my council Facebook page here.
Know Your Rights
Scammers have stepped up their game during this crisis masquerading as IRS agents trying to deliver stimulus payouts, and callous landlords are resorting to intimidation tactics to get tenants to leave while eviction processing and enforcement is suspended.
CARES Act Stimulus Payments
The U.S. Department of the Treasury or the IRS will never ask you for personal information in exchange for payments. They already have it. You can find an official statement from the Treasury and more information on how to report scammers here. Your stimulus payments will arrive via direct deposit to the bank account you used to pay your taxes/receive a refund in 2018 (or 2019 if you already filed your taxes), and social security recipients will also have it direct deposited into the same account as their monthly payments.
Landlords, Rent Payments, and Evictions
If you are receiving threatening letters from your landlord, know that they have no ability to process evictions, nor are the Arapahoe County or Adams County sheriffs enforcing evictions during this crisis. You can find an attorney’s breakdown of the current state of affairs for tenants here.
Relief for Aurorans
We’re doing everything we can as a city to ensure our residents and small businesses are able to comply with epidemiologist-recommended procedures and flatten the curve without risking financial ruin. We’ve successfully lobbied our counties to put a moratorium on evictions, Aurora Water is not performing service shut-offs during the crisis, and city staff mobilized quickly to put together an economic relief package for small businesses. That said, our residents and small businesses are still at risk, and more needs to be done by our federal partners.
Aurora Economic Recovery Program
The Aurora Economic Recovery Program (AER) went live yesterday afternoon. The AER is a financial assistance program for Aurora small businesses and non-profits meant to act as a bridge until the federal CARES Act financial assistance arrives.
If you believe you qualify for financial assistance, please head to www.auroragov.org/aer to apply, and please share this information widely.
Activist Ask: Write Your Governor, Congresspeople, and Senators
We have shut down large sectors of our economy in order to deal with COVID-19. I believe we’re making the right moves to deal with this disease in a way that prioritizes public health and safety, and the science seems to back that up. However, I don’t believe the state and federal government are doing enough to ensure our residents and small businesses are made whole while we do our part to stop the spread of the virus. On March 23rd, I introduced a resolution calling on our state and federal partners to do more for our community, which passed 8-0 with two council members abstaining due to potential conflicts of interest. You can read the resolution here.
This resolution is non-binding as we do not have jurisdiction over the areas we are asking for movement on, but it is a tool for our community to use in their advocacy when writing their representatives for aid. If you have a spare moment and agree with the asks outlined in the resolution, please send an email to Governor Polis, Congressman Crow, and Senators Bennet and Gardner asking them to provide meaningful financial relief for our residents and to freeze mortgages and rents so that our community can be secure in their housing and our small businesses don’t go under while we all do our part to flatten the curve. You can contact the Governor and our other representatives at the email addresses below:
Jared Polis: email@example.com
Jason Crow: https://crow.house.gov/contact/email-me
Michael Bennett: https://www.bennet.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact
Cory Gardner: https://www.gardner.senate.gov/contact-cory/email-cory
Our next Ward IV town hall will be on April 16th. We’re going the digital and hosted through WebEx and simulcast on Facebook Live. Staff is currently working through the logistics for record keeping and ensuring our audience can participate, and I will follow up with those details and how to participate as soon as things are ironed out.
As always, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 720.634.6927. Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll be speaking to you soon via Facebook Live and at our town hall.