Inter-Departmental Correspondence

County Manager’s Office



September 23, 2010


October 5, 2010







Honorable Board of Supervisors


David S. Boesch, County Manager


Economic Urgency Initiative



Accept this final report on the Economic Urgency Initiative.



In response to the economic slump and the growing need for safety-net services, your Board on March 21, 2009 authorized the County Manager to approve funding up to $500,000 for emergency assistance through December 31, 2010. The goals of the Economic Urgency Initiative were to link residents with service providers by enhancing community awareness about available services, to provide a coordinated response to urgent needs for food, shelter, health care, employment, housing assistance and other critical services and to provide and leverage additional urgent funding.



As a result of your Board’s action, the County partnered with Silicon Valley Community Foundation to distribute $1 million in grants to nonprofit organizations that assisted residents. The Foundation partnered with the County to provide funding for organizations that provide food and shelter. The County agreed to provide funding for food and shelter as well as those that offer utility and other short-term assistance and financial, employment, health care and other types of aid. The County and Foundation issued a joint request for proposal on May 1, 2009 that outlined eligibility and evaluation criteria such as demonstrated need for the services, clarity of project activities, meaningful benchmarks and other characteristics. Nearly 50 community organizations applied for funding.


Based on established criteria, Foundation and County staff together reviewed the applications and on June 30, 2009 announced that 27 organizations were awarded a total of $766,000 in grants to provide food and shelter. The remaining $234,000 was awarded from the County’s Economic Urgency funds to five organizations that provide health and dental care, services for victims of domestic violence and employment counseling. Grants ranged from $5,000 to $100,000.


At the County staff level, numerous additional efforts were launched under the Economic Urgency Initiative. These include:


Developing the SMCHelps Website, a one-stop information resource for those in need. Total page views from February 2009 to September 2010 were 22,185. This includes 6,154 views of the SMCHelps homepage with the remainder pages with detailed information about food, shelter and other services;


Creating, publishing and distributing 40,000 brochures in English and Spanish: “San Mateo County Survival Guide to Housing, Credit & Unemployment;”


Assisting clients of Workforce Development by engaging over 70 displaced workers as volunteers to help more than 1,400 others access employment services;


Purchasing two large storage containers for Second Harvest Food Bank that were installed at two locations on the Coast side. As a result, Coastside Hope was able to distribute over 71,000 pounds of food over the past 12 months and Saint Vincent de Paul distributed over 50,000 pounds of food to residents of Pescadero/La Honda;


Establishing an ongoing Food & Shelter Work Group consisting of diverse community stakeholders who otherwise would not have a forum for this level of collaboration; and


Developing an Economic Urgency “Dashboard” to provide a quick view of a number of social and economic factors impacted by the economy.


County staff continues to build community capacity with our non-profit organizations to provide much-needed assistance, leverage resources and be better positioned to receive funding from government agencies or foundations. The County will also continue to monitor key economic indicators that demonstrate the need for services.


Accepting this report will contribute to the 2025 Shared Vision outcome of Prosperous Community by creating opportunities for residents to become self-sufficient.


Performance Measure(s):

During the 2008-09 recession, increase the number of people provided food, shelter or other safety-net services through nonprofit partners. The nonprofits exceeded their service goals. The complete service delivery goal matrix report is attached.



The $500,000 one-time General Fund contribution was matched by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to establish and fund the $1 million Economic Urgency Initiative.