SACRAMENTO CARES MEDIATION PROGRAM
Funded by City of Sacramento COVID Relief Funding
To provide dispute resolution services to the citizens of the Sacramento community so that they may resolve conflict in a non-adversarial manner.
When we find ourselves involved in a disagreement about how to solve a problem, we sometimes experience high levels of emotion and frustration in the search for a remedy. This can be particularly challenging right now as we each face COVID-19 Impacts. To assist with these important conversations, specifically as it relates to the local Tenant Eviction Moratorium Ordinance and related rent repayment plans, the City has hired the Sacramento Mediation Center to provide dispute resolution services for properties within the city of Sacramento.
Dispute resolution services under this program are voluntary and at no cost to the participating parties while funding is available. Mediation sessions are conducted by a panel of mediators who provide an informal, confidential, and professional setting. They facilitate the discussions whereby the parties define the issues, develop their options and decide on solutions. Mediators do not decide what is right or wrong. Each participant has ample opportunity to express his or her perspectives and needs, as well as contribute thoughts and ideas for a mutually acceptable resolution.
Steps to Open a Case Under the Sacramento (CARES) Mediation Program for Commercial & Residential Landlords & Tenants:
Fill out the online form (HERE) or call 916-850-9010.
A Sacramento CARES staff member will begin the process by contacting the person filling out the form, or the caller. A full understanding of the situation comprises the intake for the first caller, known as P1.
Once the situation is deemed consistent with the COVID-19 impacts and focus and the first party is interested in mediation, we set out to contact the other side, known as P2. We obtain a full understanding of the other side’s positions, needs and goals.
Once both parties have agreed to mediate, the CARES staff member will coordinate a convenient date and time for your session to occur. For health and safety reasons, mediations are online at this time.
Co- mediators will be assigned to help you reach a resolution, which the parties may agree to make legally binding.
The Sacramento CARES Mediation Program is neutral in all matters. Calls are confidential.
Benefits of Mediation for all parties:
Preserves tenancy & occupancy
Saves time and money, especially amidst additional tenant protections due to COVID
Allows full participation in decisions
Encourages more creative solutions
Helps cultivate peaceful relationships
Types of situations appropriate for mediation within this program:
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR):
ADR incorporates a variety of methods outside of litigation to resolve a dispute. The primary types of ADR are mediation, facilitation and arbitration.
The Mediation Process:
Mediation is a process that encourages and supports communication between parties who are in dispute. The purpose of mediation is not to judge guilt or innocence, but to help people in conflict get at the root of their own problems, and to help them devise their own solutions. Mediation gives the parties an opportunity to try to resolve the situation in a protective setting. All mediations are confidential – no one may discuss or use comments in subsequent litigation. Mediation also protects people by providing a structured environment for interacting with the other side.
A mediator acts as a neutral third party, meaning they do not have any prior contact with the parties and have no vested interest in how the situation is resolved. Mediators are trained to facilitate communication. They outline the ground rules and procedures for discussing the issues, including setting boundaries for proper interaction so the parties can maintain a respectful and non-abusive atmosphere. The most important functions of a mediator are to get the parties listen, think, talk, and brainstorm ideas for their own solutions.
The Facilitation Process:
Facilitation is a process in which a trained, experienced, independent and neutral party plans, develops, and conducts a structured and effective meeting that works towards a common understanding of issues and concerns placed “on the table” by all involved. Facilitation (or group facilitation) is generally considered to be a valued way for the neutral person to help a group of people, often with varied and opposing interests, to work together more effectively.
The goal of facilitation may be to declare the interests of the people involved, or to define those interests more narrowly, to understand and communicate needs and wants of each “side” or perhaps just to listen carefully to the views. Facilitation is appropriate when a group process is needed to gather information from a variety of perspectives, make a decision, plan a project, solve a problem, create a strategic plan, develop a mission/vision statement, or create any plan that the group will implement.
The facilitator impacts and guides the process but does not give input on the content of the discussion. They might help a group complete a task, solve a problem, or come to an agreement or joint understandings, develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), craft strategic planning, or create guidelines for conduct that all parties can support. Unlike mediation, facilitation is typically used to set up systems in advance of deeper conflict, or to help neutralize existing conflict and clear a forward path that is agreeable for all parties involved.