County supervisors on Wednesday unanimously signed off on an accelerated process to get $831,931 of CARES Act money to Loudoun nonprofits on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.
Most years, Loudoun County receives around $1 million in federal funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program. This year, that program got two funding boosts: a higher-than-expected amount available, about $1.4 million, and almost $832,000 on top of that allocated in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act. The CARES Act funding must be used specifically for COVID-19 relief.
The CARES act also allowed supervisors to skip the normal block grant process, which involves community input, public hearings, and two advisory committees—and can take months. The law also allows the money to be disbursed immediately, rather than waiting for the new fiscal year in July.
After supervisors’ vote Wednesday, of the CARES Act money, $480,0000 will go to the county’s rental assistance program created in April, and $310,334 will go into grants for nonprofits. Another $41,597 is reserved for overhead.
Meanwhile, the increased CDBG funding will increase the county’s contributions to INMED Partnerships for Children’s work with first-time pregnant women, adolescents, families, and children; Northern Virginia Dental Clinic’s services for low-income and uninsured people; the Good Shepherd Alliance’s emergency shelter and transitional housing; Crossroads Jobs, Inc. job search training and services for Loudouners; Mobile Hope’s rapid rehousing for homeless young people; and HealthWorks for Northern Virginia’s primary medical care services for low-income people with serious mental illnesses.
Money will also be channeled into housing projects such as buying land for a price-controlled housing development and rehabilitating existing homes for low-income people.
Charlotte Fosque, executive director of Blue Ridge Speech and Hearing, speaking for the Loudoun Human Services Network group of charitable nonprofits, said the group supports the move.
“Overall, limited local resources have been allocated to provide assistance to nonprofits in Loudoun, so the proposed funding specifically for nonprofit services is needed to continue to serve on the front lines of the crisis,” Fosque said.
Some supervisors also said the funding offered a chance to reverse the board’s previous vote to take funding away from the Loudoun Museum. After voting to continue their years-long partnership with the museum, supervisors at their next meeting led by County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) reversed that decision, cancelling $156,000for the nonprofit museum.
Supervisors Caleb A. Kershner (R-Catoctin), Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge), and Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles), who opposed the vote to strip funding from the museum, urged other supervisors to now reconsider.
Randall said she hopes to reinstate that funding when Loudoun gets another $36 million in federal funding expected by June.