Eagle County allocates $1.15 million for COVID-19 response | AspenTimes.com

Eagle County allocates $1.15 million for COVID-19 response

Funding includes $400,000 for economic services to expand and enhance existing assistance programs

Pam Boyd
Vail Daily
Eagle County workers man the Emergency Operations Center, which will receive $500,000 in funding from the county commissioners.
Special to the Vail Daily

EAGLE — The Eagle County Board of Commissioners has allocated $1.15 million for COVID-19 response and recovery.

The commissioners have earmarked $250,000 to fund community partners such as local chapters of the Salvation Army, Lift Up, and the Eagle Valley Community Foundation, among others.

Up to $500,000 will fund the Eagle County Emergency Operations Center and its priorities, while $400,000 is earmarked for economic services to expand and enhance existing assistance programs.

Eagle County Human Services will oversee the distribution of resources to residents who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and are experiencing hardship. Examples of assistance include rent or mortgage payments, utility services, emergency food supply, household supplies and transportation needs. The county requests that applicants do not seek aid for any expenses being addressed by other agencies. 

That kind of local response has a chance of actually making a difference to strapped residents, noted Amanda Jessen of Bonfire Brewing in Eagle.

“All of our employees are worried about making their rent. We have had to lay a lot of people off,” she said. “I certainly hope this will be something that can trickle down to people who are working paycheck to paycheck. These people don’t have reserves.”

As she looks at the economic hit to her business and the valley because of COVID-19, Jessen believes it’s the local governments that have stood tall with offers for help. While they don’t have the resources of federal or state governments, the dollars shared at a grassroots level have a big impact.

“At this point, anything is better than nothing,” Jessen said. “Everyone needs help right now and locally, at least we can see it when it’s happening because it is close to home.”

Jody Cox is a hairdresser in Eagle who runs her own shop out of her house. For the past two weeks, she has been shut down and is bringing in no income. Cox figures there are lots of other people like her in Eagle County, employed in the smallest of the area’s small businesses.

“Right now people in this industry can’t work,” said Cox. “I am fairly lucky because I just have to pay my mortgage, not rent. With hairdressers, we can’t collect unemployment unless you work for someone else.”

The funding from the county can help the area’s small business workers who don’t have other options, Cox noted.

Helping front-line workers

The $500,000 that will go to the Eagle County Emergency Operations Center is to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the county. Funds will help ensure medical system capacity and continuity, protect those most vulnerable to severe illness, and promote economic and social recovery. This money also will help local health care providers acquire necessary medical equipment, including personal protective equipment. 

How to apply

Any Eagle County resident who has been financially impacted by COVID-19 may apply for assistance by completing this form at eaglecounty.us/covid19help. Phone requests can not be taken, but those who would prefer to receive an application by mail may request one by calling 970-328-8888.

After submitting an application, individuals will be contacted for a brief interview to collect the information necessary to determine which resources may be available for each case. County staff will contact applicants as quickly as possible but anticipate a high volume of requests. Because they recognize the importance of access to immediate assistance, county officials are requesting patience as staff responds to demand.

Additionally, the county has prepared a resource guide for the general public and a business guide for employers and local businesses.

“This is a time of intense anxiety and uncertainty for people across the globe as this pandemic unfolds, but it’s also a time for hope and resiliency,” said Eagle County Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry. “We are all in this together. If you are hearing one message from your elected leaders here in Eagle County, it is this: We are here for you.

“Our staff is working around the clock with your interests front and center,” Chandler-Henry added. “We are so thankful to everyone in the community who has responded to our public health directives — it is absolutely essential that we continue to do so. And we’ve been deeply touched by how our community has come together to help each other. We hope this financial package offers some relief to those in need, and we’ll continue to innovate as we navigate this disaster one day at a time.”

The Eagle County Department of Human Services administers programs for cash, child care, food and medical assistance. Apply for these programs through colorado.gov/PEAK or the MyCOBenefits app.

For more information about COVID-19 in Eagle County, visit http://www.ECEmergency.org. The site includes regular updates related to COVID-19, as well as other emergencies that may impact our community. In addition, an Eagle County COVID-19 Monitoring dashboard has been set up to help share more real-time information publicly

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