The Corvallis City Council approved a $150,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Club to help the organization provide emergency childcare during the pandemic and recovery. The grant is expected to help fund operations for about six months.
Since April 1, the Boys & Girls Club has been providing childcare to kids in kindergarten through sixth grades, five days a week, in accordance with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority. Maximum capacity under this modified operation is about one-quarter of the Club’s typical attendance, and includes strict sanitation and distancing protocols. The emergency childcare center is open for 11 hours a day and provides three meals to participants.
“These funds were an unexpected gift that will help keep services going for working families, and sends a message of support to our essential childcare staff that their work throughout the pandemic is vital and appreciated,” Boys & Girls Club CEO Helen Higgins said. “With these funds, the club will be able to keep the daily fee affordable and ensure the Club remains open and financially stable for the next few months.”
The $150,000 funding grant comes from a much larger $2.2 million expenditure of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and other federal and local funds approved on July 20 by the Corvallis City Council, which included money for affordable housing, emergency rental assistance, and support for small businesses.
The record funding this year is due to a one-time action by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which administers the CDBG program. Typically, HUD caps the amount of federal funding that can be directed toward social services providers. The cap was lifted this year in recognition of the extraordinary challenge facing communities around the country brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, the City of Corvallis was able to direct a much larger amount of its annual federal funding allocation to assist local providers assisting vulnerable populations in the community. Funding needs were largely identified through efforts at the Benton County Emergency Operation Center, which has led the local pandemic response and involves staff from both Benton County and the City of Corvallis.