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Friday, July 24, 2020

Lompoc waives rent for YMCA due to COVID-19 losses

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2020 at 5:26 PM

After months of lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lompoc Family YMCA recently received some relief when the Lompoc City Council agreed to waive the nonprofit’s rent for the rest of the year.

During its meeting on July 21, the council voted to waive the YMCA’s monthly bill of about $568, and agreed to refund the nonprofit for the rent it paid from April through July. While YMCA owns the building where it’s located, it leases the land from the city, said Thomas Speidel, who is the regional executive director of the Channel Islands YMCA, which is a group of seven branches that includes Lompoc.
click to enlarge RENT RELIEF Lompoc City Council approved waiving the Lompoc Family YMCA’s rent for the rest of the year at a recent meeting. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • RENT RELIEF Lompoc City Council approved waiving the Lompoc Family YMCA’s rent for the rest of the year at a recent meeting.

Speidel said YMCA leaders requested this relief as the organization grapples with a months-long closure because of the pandemic. According to a letter from Speidel to the city, Channel Islands YMCA serves nearly 50,000 people and provides more than $1.3 million in financial assistance through different programs.

While its facilities have remained closed, the organization has tried to find other ways to provide for the community.

“We were able to collaborate with the United Way and Lompoc Unified School District to offer child care for essential services for workers in Lompoc serving over 50 families with free care,” Speidel said in the letter to the city. “The Y also expanded its offerings by teaching virtual fitness programming.”

In addition to this relief, the nonprofit is requesting that the city approve permanent changes to an existing lease that’s in place until 2028. Speidel requested that the council lower the center’s rent to $1 per year, which is in line with what other local nonprofits pay the city.

Additionally, he asked the council to provide the YMCA with credits toward the utility costs it pays the city in exchange for costs the YMCA has incurred while paying for landscaping and maintenance around its location.

Under the existing lease, the city is supposed to cover all landscaping for the building, but due to low staff levels, the YMCA has been paying for this work instead, Lompoc City Manager Jim Throop said. The nonprofit is offering to continue paying for this landscaping work in exchange for some savings on its utility bills.

In addition to waiving rent for the rest of the year, the council agreed to further discuss the other proposed lease changes at a future meeting. Speidel said that while the rent waiver is helpful and appreciated, the permanent changes would benefit the organization long-term.

“Our hope is with these changes, we’ll be able to refocus our financial resources on serving youth and families in the Lompoc community,” Speidel said. ∆
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