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County Residents Affected by COVID-19 Will Get Support to Pay Utility Bills

-Editorial

Residents of Imperial County that have been affected by COVID-19 may soon get support to pay for the utility bills now that the Board of Supervisors moved forward with a grant applicant at their Tuesday meeting.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development announced the availability of approximately $18.7 million in federal funds for the Community Development Grant Coronavirus Round 1. Funds available under this notice of funding availability are pursuant CARES Act signed into law on March 27, 2020. The County of Imperial is eligible to apply for up to $145,805 for any of the eligible activities like assistance to businesses and microenterprises impacted by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and shut-downs.

“The goal is to provide short-term emergency assistance to individuals that lost their jobs or were reduced work hours to the pandemic,” said Esperanza Colio-Warren, Deputy CEO.

All applicants must be low-income and will be available to the residents of the unincorporated areas of Imperial County. Assistance will be provided for up to 90 days to eligible participants who meet the program criteria and income limits. They must show proof of a lost job or reduced hours.

The County Executive Office held meetings with other six cities located in Imperial County to discuss the funding and programs available under this funding. The cities and the county also participated in a meeting with the funding agency to discuss the requirement of each of the activities previously described.

Based on the feedback provided by the State and the requirements from this funding opportunity, public services, in the form of subsistence payments to individuals affected Coronavirus pandemic, seem to be the best option for the county to apply.

The board applied for the $145,805 to implement the Public Services-Subsistence Payment Program to eligible individuals impacted by the pandemic. This program could potentially assist up to 50 eligible families with utility bills and rent for up to 90 days.

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