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Council, City of Columbus and Partners Announce CARES Act Funding to Increase Family Stability

[COLUMBUS, OH] Council, Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, along with Columbus City Council and Franklin County today announced CARES Act funding to increase family stability.

Columbus will use $6.2 million of CARES Act dollars to help childcare providers handle new regulations, including reduced teacher-child ratios, reduced maximum class sizes and new sanitization protocols crucial for the health and safety of both the children and the teachers.  Franklin County will contribute an additional $2 million of its own CARES Act dollars for this initiative. The combined $8.2 million will go to childcare providers that serve low-income children in opportunity neighborhoods in Columbus, or in Groveport, Reynoldsburg and Whitehall.

“The struggles of this pandemic are real and continuing,” said Mayor Ginther. “While we are taking additional steps to slow the spread of COVID-19, we must also do all we can to keep families whole and stable during this unprecedented time.”

“Childcare needs to be funded like the essential infrastructure that it is,” said President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown. “Ensuring access to childcare for all families is one of the most important investments we can make for the health of our economy now and into the future.”

“Access to childcare is a critical work support for parents, just as high-quality early learning is vital for long-term child development,” Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services Director Joy Bivens said. “On behalf of our Commissioners, we are proud to partner with the City to offer support for hundreds of child care providers serving thousands of children and families in communities with the greatest need.”

In addition, more CARES Act funds will be used for rental and utility assistance. In May, the City announced $2.6 million of CARES dollars to be used for rental assistance programs through IMPACT Community Action. The dollar amount will be amended to $10 million to be voted on by Columbus City Council this evening.

“Families in Columbus continue to suffer from the negative financial impact of COVID-19,” said Councilmember Shayla Favor, chair of City Council’s Housing Committee. “I am proud of the work being done by IMPACT and other community partners to keep our residents out of eviction court. It is critical that we continue to utilize these dollars to keep our residents safe, housed and supported throughout the duration of this crisis.”

This City will also allot just over $1 million to be used for utility assistance grants. These funds will be distributed through various social services agencies to help families who have been unable to pay for utilities because of COVID-19.

“Supporting those who continue to face hardship due to the ongoing pandemic is what it means to be a community," said Councilmember Rob Dorans, chair of the Public Utilities Committee. "These CARES Act dollars will literally keep the lights on for our residents. Everyone deserves that sense of relief.”

The City has received $157 million CARES Act dollars from the U.S. Treasury to provide assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act funding must be used for expenditures necessary to address public health issues due to COVID-19.