Franklin County OKs more funding for coronavirus relief
Much of the $1.5 million from the county will be added to a larger pool of money from public and private sources totaling $8 million, to be used to pay for additional temporary housing, staffing and other costs related to helping the county’s homeless.
By MARC KOVAC
The Franklin County commissioners approved nearly $1.5 million for additional help for residents coping with the coronavirus pandemic, including spending for housing and targeted small business assistance.
Close to $1.1 million (about $600,000 in federal stimulus funds and $500,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funding) will go to the nonprofit Community Shelter Board to provide properly distanced emergency shelters and other housing for homeless residents.
The latter includes residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The funds will be added to a larger pool of money from public and private sources totaling $8 million, to be used to pay for additional temporary housing, staffing and other costs.
Michelle Heritage, executive director of the Community Shelter Board, said temporary housing to provide greater social distance for occupants has been established at several locations around town, including a couple on the North Side for homeless residents with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.
“Everyone’s able to spread apart as far as they need to be and follow those CDC guidelines,” she said.
The commissioners also directed $250,000 to help the YMCA of Central Ohio to maintain housing for 400 residents at its West Long Street facility Downtown, plus another 200 in emergency shelters.
And $125,000 was allocated to the Columbus Urban League to provide technical assistance and financial counseling to access Small Business Administration loans, plus other services for small businesses owned by women and minorities to help them continue operations during the pandemic.
Stephanie Hightower, president and chief executive officer of the Columbus Urban League, said her office is serving as an “economic first responder,” likely with a focus over the next 18 months or more on helping affected businesses keep their doors open.
“For us, this is about what comes next,” she said. “If, in fact, we cannot get these businesses back up and running, it’s going to be even more devastating.”
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