Boulder County administered nearly $28 million in program and grant funding from the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) ACT in 2020, which helped feed and transport local residents hit especially hard by the pandemic.
County officials, today, released a breakdown of where the CARES funding went last year, allocated on top of county-funding measures as a response to COVID-19, according to a news release.
The county also released a new financial transparency platform that tracks the county’s portion of CARES Act funding. Visit www.boco.org/CARES-Act-Funding for details and specific funding amounts.
Of the $27,983,411 awarded to Boulder County in federal relief funds, the county allocated 45% to its town and cities, based on population. Each municipality, in turn, distributed its portion of the money based on its needs, according to a news release.
Boulder County retained $16,135,618 to distribute to its own programs and to local nonprofits to help with pandemic relief. Without the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CVRF), many community groups may not have survived the COVID-19 pandemic, the news release states.
County officials cited three organizations in particular that benefited from CVRF funding:
- Via Mobility Services shifted gears after the pandemic left the Boulder-based group with no one to transport. Via Mobility Services started offering free pick-up and delivery of prepaid groceries and prescriptions to numerous county residents experiencing COVID-19-related hardships.
- Sister Carmen Community Center in Lafayette helped provide households with food and financial assistance for electricity/gas bills and also used CARES money to support digital literacy classes that connected underserved families and individuals with affordable technology and training in basic computer skills.
- Boulder Day Nursery was able to increase health and safety practices that allowed them to stay open throughout 2020, providing care to those families who most needed childcare services during the pandemic.
Boulder County Commissioners successfully advocated for county government funding for counties with less than 500,000 in population that did not receive a direct federal allocation of CARES Act funding, the news release states.
The work to bring this funding to Boulder County and share it with local municipalities and non-profits was due to the help of Speaker of the Colorado House KC Becker, House Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg and Gov. Jared Polis, according to the news release.
Programs that got a portion of the $16.1 million CARES Act funding distributed directly by Boulder County, included:
- Boulder County Public Health received $2 million of CVRF funding which was utilized to support local testing efforts, mobile testing in communities that have been disparately impacted, contact tracing, supporting business compliance with public health orders, PPE, public communication in English and Spanish, vaccine distribution and other response efforts.
- Community support needs saw $4.4 million of the relief funds. The Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services distributed funding to local food banks, health care centers, and Family Resource Centers. As food supplies dwindled in late 2020 due to pressures in the supply and delivery chain, Boulder County awarded $500,000 to Community Food Share, the primary supplier of local food banks.
- Boulder County and local municipalities worked together to support 100 current childcare providers with $3.4 million to manage expanded services, increased costs and lost revenue during the pandemic.
- Boulder County provided $1.3 million in relief grants to 43 small businesses in unincorporated Boulder County that were directly impacted by the pandemic, increased Workforce Boulder County staff to answer calls and support people in applying for unemployment insurance, provided PPE and education on their workplace rights and protections to frontline and essential workers, implemented the “Step Up Boulder County/Echale Ganas” public communication campaign with small business owners asking our community to comply with public health orders to keep businesses open and provided free PPE sanitation supplies and other resources to 612 small businesses county-wide.
- Boulder County closed most in-person services on March 16, 2020, in accordance with the Colorado Stay-At-Home Order. To adapt, the county invested $4.7 million to continue providing public service during the pandemic by means of purchasing Plexiglass barriers, enhanced cleaning protocols, personal protective equipment, remote work hardware and software, improved cybersecurity and improved call center service and communication.
- Funds in the amount of $360,000 were used to increase family engagement opportunities at childrens’ schools, remote learning for young children in Head Start, remote learning for adults working towards high school equivalency and to support clients in complying with criminal justice related requirements.