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City of Bend allocates $2.6 million in COVID-19 relief funds

For 'business resiliency grants,' child care costs, assist vulnerable residents

(Update: Adding video, comment from Bend Chamber CEO)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The city of Bend said Wednesday it is releasing $2.6 million of state-directed coronavirus relief funds (from federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARESAct funding) to organizations that can support businesses, families and vulnerable populations.

The city said it will rely on community partners to distribute most of the CARES Act funding that was intended to support local governments.

The city will distribute the $2.6 million funds to community partners as follows:

  • $1 million to businesses and community assistance, through the Bend Chamber, which will allocate those funds,
  • $600,000 for the city of Bend's costs, including $50,000 that the city already distributed to NeighborImpact,
  • $300,000 for child care costs, distributed to NeighborImpact and the Bend Park and Recreation District, and
  • $700,000 to NeighborImpact and United Way of Central Oregon to assist vulnerable populations.

"Bend and Central Oregon businesses have lost far, far more than one million dollars worth," Bend Chamber CEO Katy Brooks told NewsChannel 21 Thursday. "This is never going to bridge the gap of what COVID has done to the business community here.

"What it will do is help.It's designed to help businesses pivot. How to transcend and survive the next six months to a year."

The Bend Chamber’s funds will be used to help local businesses with a business resiliency grant, aimed at Bend businesses with 50 employees or fewer.

“Preserving our existing child care providers is vital as we look toward economic recovery,” said City Business Advocate Ben Hemson. “Allocating these funds to NeighborImpact while holding some funds back for potential assistance to school-aged children this fall provides some certainty for Bend’s working families as they return to work.”

“Part of the funds to NeighborImpact will help members of our community with rental and mortgage assistance,” said Shelly Smith, a senior management analyst at the city. “United Way of Central Oregon will use their existing, successful COVID Recovery and Resilience Grant Program to quickly distribute critically needed funds to local nonprofits that serve vulnerable populations most impacted by this pandemic.”

The City Council’s Stewardship Subcommittee met this week and heard about the allocation plan.

“Our hard-working community members and excellent businesses need all the help they can get right now,” said Councilor Barb Campbell. “We are fortunate to have excellent partners such as NeighborImpact, United Way of Central Oregon and our local Chamber of Commerce to quickly get these funds out to the people, nonprofits and employers who need them the most.”

The funding must be used to pay for unbudgeted COVID-19-related expenses between March and December of 2020, and funds must be spent by the end of the year.

The funding comes with a high level of financial accountability and reporting requirements for those receiving funds, will be distributed in phases to ensure compliance on timelines and contract deliverables, and must be to the recipients by the end of 2020.

Those receiving funds must prove that they are not getting funds for the same expenses from different sources.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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