NeighborImpact, Deschutes Co., City of Bend grant $650K to child care providers

NeighborImpact has awarded $650,000 in grants to more than 100 local child care providers that have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

With $250,000 provided by the City of Bend and $400,000 by Deschutes County, these grants support local providers with increased expenses and decreased revenue associated with COVID-19, helping to keep them open and thus supporting Central Oregon’s workforce and economy.

Child care providers across the region are struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus crisis.

With a cap on the number of children a facility can host in any given day, enrolment numbers, and thus revenue, are a small fraction of what they were before the outbreak.

“Programs are experiencing an extreme loss of income and are still being expected to provide care,” said Karen Prow, NeighborImpact Child Care Resources Director. “Things are really tough and I didn’t know how [child care providers] were going to weather this.”

Keeping child care facilities operational is crucial, explained Prow, in order to both enable the local workforce to return to work and to ensure that child care facilities can afford to continue serving the community even after the crisis has passed.

“There really is no getting our workforce re-employed without child care—and child care needs to come first,” said City of Bend Economic Development Director Carolyn Eagan.

These funds support providers in four categories: individualized learning materials, odd hour care, school age children care and COVID impact.

With social distancing measures, classrooms can no longer get by with one shared set of materials, necessitating the purchase of individual materials for each child.

Some providers have opened new classrooms and expanded their spaces in order to accommodate school-aged children who are no longer attending school in-person, but need to be cared for outside the home so that parents can return to work. Many of what we consider to be essential workforce need child care during odd hours (before 6 a.m., after 6 p.m. or on weekends). All of these services require financial investment, and, until now, that responsibility has been placed on providers.

“Although it has been difficult to adjust to the new regulations around COVID-19, and I am still under-enrolled, the grant monies and PPE equipment I have been able to access has allowed me to not only find solutions to our challenges, but also to hire a wonderful new staff member to help with cleaning,” said Sprout Montessori owner Sharon Richardson. “The hard work that [NeighborImpact does] every day to support us is invaluable.”

To learn more about NeighborImpact Child Care Provider Resources, visit https://www.neighborimpact.org/get-help/childcare-provider-resources/.

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