NeighborImpact spends $9.6M in CARES Act funds for local COVID relief

As resources from the massive federal coronavirus response package known as the CARES Act come to an end later this month, NeighborImpact is taking stock of how those have affected the Central Oregon landscape.

In just 10 months, local nonprofit NeighborImpact has spent $9.6 million in CARES Act funds providing coronavirus relief to Central Oregonians.

These funds swelled NeighborImpact’s resource base to nearly twice its usual budget, while its personnel and admin costs remained virtually flat as the organization prioritized getting funding to those who needed it most.

The NeighborImpact Food Bank doubled its distribution, providing 80,000 pounds of food a week to nearly 32,000 Central Oregonians each month.

It supported Warm Springs in establishing its first 1A food pantry, where the community now has access to USDA food commodities.

Using CARES Act dollars, NeighborImpact provided a wide range of services to individuals who have been negatively affected by the pandemic.

It paid rent for 2,226 Central Oregonians.

The nonprofit provided motel housing to elderly and high-risk individuals experiencing homelessness to decrease their risk of contracting the virus, helping the region’s counties to move out of phase one in the State’s reopening plan.

It paid heating and energy bills for over 2,100 Central Oregon households. NeighborImpact made mortgage payments for 120 homeowners.

The first in the state to switch from classroom to online education, NeighborImpact’s Head Start program used CARES Acts funds to provide digital content to more than 450 children and families through an online portal that helps parents build skills as educators and students continue their educational journeys.

NeighborImpact helped to keep local child care providers open and operational by providing business support, personal protective equipment and bridge grants that helped to cover increased expenses and decreased revenue.

NeighborImpact calculates that 70 percent of childcare slots in Central Oregon have been retained during the pandemic, compared to only 48 percent nationally.

These efforts would not have been possible without the incredible support of community partners including Deschutes County, City of Bend and City of Madras.

Also instrumental to the success of these programs, NeighborImpact thanks the 1,310 volunteers who have contributed over 16,000 hours of service—a value of over $435,000.

Additionally, NeighborImpact thanks the community members who designated their donations toward coronavirus relief, totaling $238,519.

The services supported by CARES Act funds are not an exhaustive list of programs provided by NeighborImpact.

The nonprofit offers additional services in weatherization, representative payee, lending, community development and more.

All of NeighborImpact’s programs have remained operational throughout the pandemic and continue to serve our region’s vulnerable populations. While businesses across the state have had to lay off significant portions of their workforce, NeighborImpact has retained its staff and offered hazard pay for those working on the front lines in the early days of the pandemic.

“The numbers are eye-popping,” said NeighborImpact Executive Director Scott Cooper. “But each of those numbers represents real people and real lives whose lives were turned inside out by a pandemic no one saw coming. As big as these numbers are, they represent only a fraction of the need. It will be critical going forward that the community and government at all levels continue to support people through the biggest economic disruption we have seen since the 2008 recession.”

Recent action by the Oregon legislature and Congress suggests that more resources may be headed for the Central Oregon region to continue to provide rent assistance and help with energy, water/wastewater bills and weatherization.

NeighborImpact will be announcing the availability of these programs in the New Year. To be added to a waiting list for services, call (541) 504-2155 (energy assistance) and (541) 323-0222 (rental assistance).

To learn more about NeighborImpact and its services, visit neighborimpact.org.

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