As part of the COVID-19 Relief Fund, the CARES Act provides payments to State, Local, and Tribal governments navigating the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Funds are intended to provide fast and direct economic assistance for American workers, families, small businesses, and preserve jobs for American industries, which have been impacted by COVID-19.
From the CARES Act funds received by Weber County, nearly 45 million have been used to aid local small businesses, schools, hospitals, and other entities. 5.7 million was given to approximately 69 non-profit organizations in the County, who, without the CARES Act funding, may have been unable to continue to serve the community or even may have had to close their doors for good. Many non-profit organizations have seen a significant decline in state funding, while the needs of the communities they serve have increased dramatically.
Homeless Veterans Fellowship, a non-profit organization, whose mission is to enable homeless veterans and veterans at risk of being homeless to return to self-sufficiency. They aid veterans in finding stable living environments and provide counseling and other services specifically designed to address homelessness among veterans.
Over the past eight months, expenditures for the Homeless Veterans Fellowship increased to 10 times the typical monthly amount, leaving a huge deficit. Jeff Kane, Director of the Homeless Veterans Fellowship, said that the funding was “heaven-sent,” and that, “if they had not received the CARES funds, they would have had to close their doors, leaving veterans homeless, vulnerable, and without services.”
Catholic Community Services of Utah is a non-profit that provides services and hope to those struggling to reach self-sufficiency, regardless of race, religion, or personal circumstance. The non-profit directly serves the Weber County community through its grocery store-like food pantry, provides food assistance to over 2,300 households each month, and serves students in Weber and Davis counties each Friday, to make sure they don’t go hungry through the weekend.
Receiving the CARES funding meant that Catholic Community Services could hire temporary employees to fill in for staff who were not able to work due to being members of the vulnerable population. The funding also ensured that pantry and food deliveries to individuals in the community would continue without interruption.
“Had it not been for the funding, we would not be able to serve the community in the way that we needed to,” said Randy Chappell, Director of Basic Needs, Catholic Community Services of Utah.
EnableUtah is a non-profit organization that promotes independence, inclusion, and acceptance in the community for people with disabilities. They provide jobs, skilled training, employment solutions, and other resources such as transportation and work attire.
“The funding was a life-saver in a lot of ways,” according to Gavin Hutchinson, President and CEO of EnableUtah. The non-profit had moved into a new building just four days before the COVID-19 shutdown. Two-thirds of the staff, who are individuals with disabilities and at high-risk for COVID-19, either stopped coming to work out of caution or were not allowed to go to work because of their group home settings. “The CARES Act funds helped us keep all employees employed with full medical benefits. No one has been laid off,” Hutchinson said. He tried everything he could to ensure each employee had full health benefits. “This was a huge feat, considering many individuals with disabilities have greater medical needs and costs than most.”
The aforementioned are only a few examples of the impact CARES funding has had in the Weber County area. Small businesses, schools, and others who were the recipients of the funds have gratefully reported similar experiences. The funding has perpetuated hope among the community and enabled all of the community to continue to be served, inspired, and taken care of.
“As representatives of the County, we knew how critical this funding was to the longevity and wellbeing of our non-profits. Helping these organizations, as well as small businesses, was a priority.”
–Commissioner Gage Froerer