City’s remaining CARES Act funding dedicated to community aid
Hood River’s City Council directed $195,000 in CARES Act funding to local partners that aid social services agencies, business organizations and individuals economically impacted by COVID-19.
The City has used part of last spring’s $299,633 in COVID-19 relief funds for outdoor fencing, signage, personal protective equipment, public communications, spring break lunches for local low-income families, and building remote work capabilities to keep municipal operations running in a socially distanced manner. A $195,000 balance remained from the distribution and must be used by December 30th. In a Resolution passed by City Council in late summer, the balance of CARES Act funding was dedicated to aid specific community organizations that in turn benefit residents and businesses.
City Council chose to target funding to social services organizations, utility assistance for individuals, childcare assistance, emergency support to the Chamber of Commerce, and services for people experiencing homelessness.
“Hood River has a strong infrastructure of established community aid agencies that the City is tapping into to disburse these federal assistance dollars. Working in partnership with these entities was key to getting aid out as quickly and efficiently as possible,” explains Will Norris assistant city manager/finance director.
The City of Hood River will allocate the $195,000 CARES Act funds as follows:
United Way Community Response Fund – $70,000
The COVID-19 Community Response Fund, developed this spring through a partnership of the Healthy Gorge Initiative and the United Way-Columbia Gorge, assists non-profit partners in supporting vulnerable individuals in the community. The City of Hood River’s allocation of CARES Act dollars brings the fund total close to $400,000. Grant applications and eligibility requirements are available at Healthy Gorge Initiative’s website gorgeimpact.com while more information about this fund is at unitedwaycolumbiagorge.org. Applications are reviewed weekly and will continue to be awarded while funds are available. “Priority for City of Hood River’s response funds is given to organizations that serve Hood River residents with an intention helping keep important non-profits viable during these difficult times,” explained Paul Lindberg of Healthy Gorge Initiative.
Homelessness Relief – $45,000
City Council dedicated funding to help people experiencing homelessness. The State’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines make Hood River Shelter Services winter warming shelter’s location at Riverside Church unworkable. For the past 10 years, shelter and meals have been provided from mid-November through mid-March. Funds from the City will allow Hood River Shelter Services to provide non-congregate warming shelter services during the coming winter. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mid-Columbia Community Action Council, Individual Utility Assistance – $40,000
Those experiencing difficulty with basic living expenses related to COVID-19 can request relief of $300 per household for utilities costs to cover electricity, natural or propane gas, water-sewer and/or internet. This program, administered by the Mid-Columbia Community Action Council (MCCAC), can be accessed by phoning 541-386-4027, ext. 310. Only residents of Hood River are eligible for City funding; however, MCCAC offers other relief funds to households outside Hood River. Those who have received prior relief from MCCAC can apply by providing information on how COVID-19 has impacted them, with copies of recent bills. Households that have not previously been helped by MCCAC must provide documentation such as identification, a valid Social Security number and income records.
Child Care Partners – $25,000
The City is contracting with Child Care Partners, a local child care resource, referral and training agency. CARES Act funds will be used to provide resources and support to help existing Hood River programs reopen or expand, and to recruit new child care providers and programs in the City. Child Care Partners provides COVID-19 resources and has developed FAQs, tools, and guidance for providers and families as well as Emergency Child Care. For more information, visit: cgcc.edu/childcare.
Chamber of Commerce Support – $10,000
CARES Act funds will go to the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce to maintain viability and services to local businesses after experiencing severe revenue reductions attributable to COVID-19.
City of Hood River – $5,000
Continuing COVID-19 related costs incurred by the City.
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