Holcomb announces new COVID-19 plans
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced additional efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 on March 25. The new initiatives focus on child care and local companies working to donate goods needed in the health care industry.
“There is a critical need for child care for those workers who are taking care of others and helping Hoosiers keep food and supplies in their homes,” Holcomb said in a press release. “We appreciate all of the efforts Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormack and FSSA Secretary Dr. Jen Sullivan and their staffs have worked on jointly to create more child care options for parents.”
The Indiana State Department of Education and Family Social Services Administration are working to encourage school corporations throughout the state to open schools on a limited basis to provide child care services for children of essential workers during the pandemic. Schools must follow certain guidelines to keep the school safe for children, including allowing for extra time for deep cleaning, prohibiting staff who are in high-risk categories for the virus and they must keep groups of students in separate areas of the building.
Further, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is working with more than 1,000 businesses and economic development agencies over the past week to continue to support the state’s economy. More than 135 local companies have been vetted to help make shields, masks and other Personal Protective Equipment for pandemic response workers. Several restaurants and companies have donated thousands of pairs of gloves.
The Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced funds from the Community Development Block Grant may be redirected to assist with COVID-19 needs based on guidelines set by the United States Housing and Urban Development. Money from these grants can help fund mobile testing areas and economic assistance packages for small businesses.
Organizations get COVID-19 relief money
The Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund (C-CERF) doled out $7,305,000 in unrestricted grants to 46 organizations throughout Central Indiana.
Those organizations — which include Horizon House, Meals on Wheels and YMCA of Greater Indianapolis — will use the money to help individuals and families who have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the first phase of funding for C-CERF, which is administered by United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI) and has about $17.8 million now.
“Our coalition of funders has been in daily communication with community leaders across Central Indiana to assess emerging needs and direct service providers to better understand their most pressing challenges,” said Ann Murtlow, president & CEO of UWCI.
Indy Arts & Culture launch emergency relief fund
After launching last week, the Indy Arts & Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund has helped more than 130 local artists and culture workers file applications for relief grants from the Fund, with the first round of grant payments set to go out later this week.
The Fund now has $250,000 in leadership commitments thanks to investments by the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation Inc., Central Indiana Community Foundation, Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, Efroymson Family Fund and the Herbert Simon Family Foundation. With the public Go Fund Me campaign, the Relief Fund is expected to exceed $325,000.
Artists and cultural workers can apply for a grant at IndyKeepsCreating.org.
Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site hosting virtual egg roll
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site still wants families to take part in the annual Presidential Egg Roll in honor of Easter. This year, however, families can participate in the event from home and share their photos and videos on social media.
On April 4, the Presidential Site is inviting families to have the Egg Roll in their backyards. All you need is one egg, one spoon, a participant and at least 25 feet of yard or driveway to roll the egg. The Presidential Site will be awarding prizes in three categories; best dressed egg rollers (for ages 12 and under), best decorated egg and best egg course. The Presidential Site reminds everyone to practice social distancing and keep the Egg Roll to your immediate family members in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.
You can watch a Presidential Egg Roll tutorial at the Presidential Site’s Facebook and Instagram page, and share your videos on either platform with the hashtag, #2020PresidentialEggRoll.
IN OTHER NEWS...
On My Way Pre-K applications open
Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning is accepting applications for grants from families to take advantage of the state’s On My Way Pre-K program for the 2020-21 school year.
The program, which has been statewide since 2019, is for 4-year-old children from low-income families so that they may have access to a high-quality pre-K program the year before they begin kindergarten. Families who receive a grant may use the grant at any approved On My Way Pre-K program throughout the state.
Information about the program, including how to apply, is online.
A child is eligible for an On My Way Pre-K voucher if they live in any Indiana county, will be 4 years old by Aug. 1, 2020, and plan to start kindergarten in the 2021-22 school year.
An eligible child must live in a household with income below 127% of the federal poverty level, and have parents or guardians who are working, going to school or attending job training.
HUD adds more funding to homeless programs
Indianapolis will receive an additional $760,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for homeless assistance initiatives.
The funds will provide support to 20 local programs, including Coburn Place, Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention and Julian Center.
“This additional grant funding will empower Indianapolis organizations with the needed tools to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said.