MEDFORD, Ore. — The City of Medford approved plans to allocate more than $400,000 in CARES Act funding at a city council meeting on Thursday night — including investments in non-profit legal services, emergency rent payments, child care, and supporting domestic violence survivors.
The Medford allocations are largely aimed at helping families and individuals most affected by the far-reaching impacts of coronavirus and the resulting shutdowns, creating a safety net for those in dire straights.
"It's absolutely to help keep people housed to stabilize them," Angela Durant, the principal planner for the City of Medford's Housing & Community Development Division, said. "Many, many tenants and residents may be facing job loss. They may be getting unemployment."
$94,000 has been earmarked to provide legal services and representation for those facing eviction or other legal troubles due to COVID-19 — including problems accessing government benefits, bankruptcy, domestic violence protection, family disputes, and immigration.
$248,691 will go toward St. Vincent de Paul's emergency rent payments, providing up to three months of rent for households earning at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).
"All payments will be based on need with provisions in place to prevent duplication of funding from other rental assistance programs," Medford's plan reads. "Payments will be made directly to housing providers or property management companies. Income verification will be required."
$40,000 will also go to Community Works for similar emergency rent payments, but specifically for people fleeing from domestic violence. Again, payments will be based on need, made directly to the housing provider, and will be vetted for duplication.
The final $50,000 goes toward child care scholarships, working with eligible providers using a simplified application process. City and state child care programs will work to select licensed childcare providers that have a state quality rating, and can administer federal funds. Scholarships are available for families earning up to 80 percent AMI.
"We know that residents are struggling and that this will be able to provide them with some relief, knowing that there's help on the way," Durant said.
Medford's funding stems from a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grants are intended to help a municipality "prevent, prepare for, and respond" to coronavirus.
Medford hopes to have the funds available by July 3, although the date could change awaiting federal approval of the plan. City officials said that they will make an announcement when the funds are available, with information on how people can apply.