CARRBORO, N.C. -- Congress passed the federal stimulus package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), in March 2020 to aid individuals, business and communities throughout the U.S. affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. Orange County provided the Town of Carrboro with a total of $554,737 in CARES Act funds between March 1 and December 30, 2020. To supplement these funds, the Town of Carrboro allocated additional local resources.
In the continued interest of transparency and accountability, the Town of Carrboro has released a summary posted at https://bit.ly/3acq318 this January 2021 detailing its 2020 efforts to assist the Carrboro community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Town Council wanted to ensure that relief funding assisted residents who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic,” said Town Manager David Andrews. “Our staff members have worked closely with nonprofits and community partners to facilitate assistance, always with an eye toward maximizing the impact across the community.
"It’s been a year unlike any other due to overwhelming need and high demand for local response.”
The Town awaits additional information on the second major stimulus bill of the pandemic, which Congress passed in December 2020 for the current 2021 year.
The Town of Carrboro has provided the following financial assistance with CARES funding during COVID-19 in 2020:
- Emergency Housing Assistance: As in communities across the nation, many Carrboro residents quickly became behind on rent and utilities due illness, job loss or a reduction in work. The Town’s CARES Act funds provided $337,118 to the County administered Emergency Housing Assistance program http://orangecountync.gov/2359/Emergency-Housing-Assistance to support 164 Carrboro households.
Additionally, the Town contributed $24,564 of its local affordable housing funds to supplement CARES Act funds. The combined support helped families stay in their homes and benefitted landlords by stabilizing their revenue.
- Nonprofit Assistance: The Town provided $54,500 to 15 nonprofits that provided food; necessities such as diapers, utilities and gas; financial assistance; and counseling to struggling individuals and families. As an example, local nonprofit partner EmPOWERment used its CARES Act funds to purchase grocery and gas cards for families in great financial need.
A common story reported among local families during the pandemic was a reduction in work hours -- and then seeing those hours disappear completely. Family members contracted COVID-19, requiring that families become quarantined. Some have kept afloat briefly using a combination of savings and their stimulus checks, but many have required emergency assistance to support them until they can find new employment. Grocery and gas cards provided by EmPOWERment have helped bridge these gaps caused by COVID-19.
- Local business loans: Eighteen local businesses received $296,942 in assistance from the Town’s Emergency Loan and Grant Fund, created to assist Carrboro-based businesses that serve Carrboro. The loans assisted local businesses with short-term payroll to maintain employees during the State/Town-declared COVID-19 Emergency. The Town also granted $32,994 in CARES Act funding to supplement the emergency loans.
- Community Outreach: The Town Council appropriated CARES Act funds for increased community outreach, especially targeting efforts to disenfranchised and harder-to-reach groups. The Town spent $8,666 in part to build and install Neighborhood Message Centers in or near affordable housing neighborhoods. The outdoor information kiosks are intended to reach people who do not have computers or have limited online access. These outdoor information centers display flyers and notices conveying information about free COVID-19 testing sites and schedules, vaccine rollout, food distribution events, housing assistance, and opportunities to improve quality of life for families. Funding was also used to create banners and signs for increased awareness about community spread and the importance of wearing masks, and for translations of key pieces of information.
- Work from Home and the Long-term Recovery Plan: $103,959 paid for expenses to allow Town employees to work from home during the pandemic and $17,500 supported the development of a long-term recovery plan http://www.orangencforward.org/ for the Towns and County in the aftermath of COVID-19.
While not paid for through Carrboro CARES Act funds, the Town has supported monthly food distributions at Carrboro High School in partnership with the Orange County Social Services Department. Also, the distribution of free masks was an intensive effort to assist vulnerable communities including low income neighborhoods at the beginning of the pandemic, and availability has continued for anyone in need.
Community Nonprofits and Partners The Town of Carrboro is grateful for the support of its partners, nonprofits and the numerous individuals who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to assist residents in need.
These partners include: Orange County Housing and Community Development, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation, Community Empowerment Fund, Club Nova, Diaper Bank, El Centro Hispano, El Futuro, EmPOWERment, IFC, Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History, Meals on Wheels, OE Enterprises, PORCH, Refugee Community Partnership, RENA and TABLE.