FRESNO, California (KSEE) — Several Fresno city leaders announced the latest proposal for COVID-19 relief. It would use more than $10 million in CARES Act funding.
The funds would go toward food assistance, medical services like contact tracing and small business relief. However, a big focus on the announcement is how it’ll help those hardest hit by the virus — African Americans and essential workers, like farmworkers.
Much like what Fresno County officials announced earlier this week, the plan looks to contract community-based organizations (CBO’s) to help continue and expand the services they’ve been offering during the pandemic.
“Although city of Fresno residents are still county residents and should be receiving services from the county — we wanted to do our part so the county could focus some of their efforts into rural areas,” said Fresno City Council president Miguel Arias.
Overall, the total cost of the plan is $10,209,571. This is a breakdown of where the money is being allocated:
- Food Assistance (around $4.4 million): Help provide funding for community meals, like the ones provided by Fresno Unified School District, as well as help CBO’s continue their food distribution services.
- Medical Services (around $3.8 million): Provide funding for CBO’s to help with COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and help those in quarantine, like buying groceries. This also would ensure medical services for uninsured or underinsured essential workers.
- Small Business Relief ($2 million): This would go straight into the city’s already existing Save Our Small Businesses Program, which has distributed over $3 million already.
Cultiva La Salud is one of the organizations that would be partnering with the city to provide medical services for vulnerable communities. Genoveva Islas, Cultiva La Salud’s founder and director, said her organization has been helping elderly immigrant women since the pandemic began.
When asked about the new funding, Islas said it would also help them in their health education and outreach efforts.
“We’ll be helping to facilitate translation. We’ll be helping to do the immediate education on these testing sites, as well as supporting those people that are testing positive [by serving them while they quarantine],” she said.
Islas adds the city and county support for immigrants is especially long overdue in this pandemic. But, she said the funding will help them serve more throughout Fresno County overall.
Fresno City Council will be voting on this during a special meeting on Monday. If approved, the city still has a couple million left in CARES Act funding available.