SERVE (Secure Emergency Relief for Vulnerable Employees)

Direct Cash Assistance For Food Service Workers

MFLA partnered with the City to provide $800 virtual cash assistance cards to more than 9,000 eligible food service workers who experienced a decline in income in the early days of the pandemic.

SERVE was launched by Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles in December 2020 after renewed health and safety restrictions followed a surge in coronavirus cases. In support of public health guidelines in the early days of the pandemic, restaurants were forced into providing limited service, and in some cases, temporarily closed completely. While some resources were made available for restaurant owners, employees such as dishwashers, cooks, servers and hosts were uniquely affected when their jobs were lost or work hours cut back.

Qualifying food service workers had to be aged 18 years or older, live within the City of Los Angeles, and have an income before the federal poverty line. Applicants had to demonstrate economic hardship due to job loss or 50% reduction in income in the food service industry which included restaurants, food stands and mobile carts, and breweries, wineries and bars that serve food.

MFLA provided $800 cash assistance to more than 9,000 eligible food service workers who experienced a decline in income due to the pandemic.

Qualifying residents applied online in English and Spanish via the City’s 311 system. After qualifications were verified, applicants were randomly selected and immediately notified through an online process with a ‘digital’ cash card accessed through a unique identifier. SERVE reached more than 75% of recipients within six weeks of launching, making it the fastest direct-cash distribution launched by MFLA during the pandemic.

More information available here: https://corona-virus.la/serve

“Employees in our food-service industry have had to make painful sacrifices — and we have to do everything possible to support them through this time of economic upheaval,” said Mayor Garcetti. “SERVE is designed to deliver relief and a little peace of mind to some of our most vulnerable workers — giving thousands of Angelenos a vital lifeline, putting money in their pockets to pay the bills, and upholding our promise to get through this unprecedented moment together.”

Key Impact

9,064 cards distributed
$6.4 million distributed
More than 75% of recipients received cash within six weeks of program launch, making it the fastest direct-cash distribution program during COVID-19 in Los Angeles

Issue Area

Disaster Relief & Recovery

Partners

Mayor’s Office of Economic Development
City of Los Angeles

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  • MFLA partnered with the City to provide $800 virtual cash assistance cards to more than 9,000 eligible food service workers who experienced a decline in income in the early days of the pandemic.

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