Santa Clara Has Done More Than Any Other Bay Area City to Help Its Residents During COVID-19 Pandemic

By Robert Haugh

We’ve been hearing from friends in neighboring cities and it hasn’t been good.

They’ve asked us why their cities haven’t done as much as Santa Clara has done for its residents and businesses during the pandemic.

We compared notes on some of the efforts of cities in the Bay Area. Our conclusion: no other city in the Bay Area has done as much for its residents as Santa Clara. 

The Mayor and Council deserve major kudos for helping Santa Clara Unified schools, local restaurants, and residents.

The City staff doesn’t have official data on all Bay Area cities. But here’s what Lenka Wright, Santa Clara’s Communications Director told us:

“The City’s unique assets alone allow us to go above and beyond what other cities can provide. For example, Silicon Valley Power has allowed us to provide reduced pricing and a policy action of not turning off people’s utilities at the local level.

The City’s strategic action to settle litigation and receive $5,000,000 for housing and transportation allowed us to use $1.5 million for rental assistance. Our partnership with the Santa Clara Convention Center, California’s Great America and Intel allowed for the City to distribute food at the local level before other cities could do so.”

Here’s a list of Santa Clara’s effort to help residents that we’ve printed before. But it’s worth repeating or sharing with anyone who needs help.

  • Small Business Assistance Grant Program — nearly $1.7 million in grants to help Mission City businesses.
  • Emergency Rental Assistance Program — $2.8 million to provide three consecutive months of rent for eligible households based on income levels.
  • Food Distribution Programs for School Children — the City works with the Santa Clara Unified School District and community partners to provide and distribute food.
  • Food Distribution Programs for Seniors — the City’s Senior Nutrition Program has not slowed down since the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Garbage Rate Relief — the City has set aside increases for six months for Mission City residents.
  • Energy Bill rebate — Silicon Valley Power (SVP) gave all Santa Clara households a one-time, one-month $30 rebate in April.
  • Energy Efficiency Grants — SVP is also offering businesses up to $10,000 to fund energy efficiency. It could be used to help make changes required by social distancing or other pandemic-related rules.
  • Food Delivery Fees — are now limited to help local restaurants. Some businesses said it was hurting their pandemic business. The Council approved an emergency ordinance that caps fees at 15 percent. Third-party food delivery services like Uber Eats, Postmates and Door Dash can’t charge Santa Clara restaurants more than that.


  1. Every spring and fall, millions of California residents receive credits on their electric and natural gas bills identified as the “California Climate Credit.”

    Usually, these credits are distributed twice a year, in April and October. Most residents receive a natural gas credit in April, and electric credits in April and October. For 2020, in order to mitigate the effects of increased residential electric bills that are likely to result due to the Governor’s March 19, 2020 stay-at-home order and provide residential customers increased opportunity to invest in energy-savings products. CPUC has directed PG&E, SCE, and Pacific Power to split their October Climate Credit in half and distribute each half to their customers earlier in the Spring and Summer of 2020.

    PG&E’s Climate Credit was $35.73 in April and $17.87 in May and $17.86 in June.

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