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July 26, 2021
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City of RP Updates

Darrin Jenkins
Turning the corner to reopen
June 18, 2021

We all struggle sometimes whether it is finding a work-life balance, sustaining peace of mind, or keeping up with finances. Amidst Covid many of us found our living rooms morphed into workstations while others suffered the loss of employment. The idea of overdue utility and housing bills is a heavy burden. As we turn the corner to reopening and reuniting with normalcy, I want to remind you of some programs and services that can help.  

An important program that helps Sonoma County renters or landlords get from under unpaid bills is called the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). It provides payment assistance for renters who are behind on rent or utilities including power, water, gas and internet services. Additionally, ERAP provides options for landlords to participate and receive financial assistance. The program serves renters or landlords, regardless of immigration status. For more information visit SoCoEmergency.org, call 2-1-1 or contact Petaluma People Services at 707-765-8488.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households. If your household is eligible, you can receive monthly discounts on your broadband service and associated equipment rentals and a one-time discount, of up to $100, for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer.

Applications for enrollment in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program are currently being accepted and will end when the fund runs out of money, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner. To learn more, visit https://getemergencybroadband.org/

If you’ve struggled with a loss of peace, one of the best ways to help sustain a peace of mind is to positively impact your community. The Leadership Rohnert Park program might be just what you need. The city is pleased to partner, once again, with Coro Northern California to launch the FREE second class of Leadership Rohnert Park! Leadership Rohnert Park is an opportunity for you to develop the knowledge, skills, confidence, and network to become a community leader in Rohnert Park. Or, if you’re already a leader, Leadership Rohnert Park will help you ‘up your game’ to be more effective.

Coro is the premiere national organization dedicated to leadership development. Coro leadership programs bring diverse people together to examine issues and create a stronger, more resilient civic infrastructure. Coro training equips people with the skills, knowledge, and networks to collaborate and accelerate positive change wherever they are. Leadership Rohnert Park will provide eight full days (and one-half day) of training over nine months. Topics will include issues such as housing, public safety and the local economy. Participants will also complete a project to benefit the community by the conclusion of the program.

I encourage interested residents to apply. We are looking for a diverse group of participants, from different backgrounds and neighborhoods. We will have 24 seats in the class. Prior leadership experience is not required. Candidates must apply online by Wednesday, June 30, 2021. The program begins in September. and concludes in May 2022. To learn more about Leadership Rohnert Park, and to apply to become part of the Class of 2022, visit www.rpcity.org/LRP.

In closing, we’ve all been impacted by Covid, let’s turn the page (whatever that may look like for you). Our partners at the County of Sonoma have a comprehensive list of additional organizations and programs that offer a myriad of services ranging from counseling, employment training, and meals. Visit http://bit.ly/COS-Services to find out more. In addition, Petaluma People Services Center has many resources to help get you back on your feet. Reach out to them at 707-765-8488 or visit www.petalumapeople.org.  Even though their name says Petaluma, they are happy to serve Rohnert Park and Cotati as well.