SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — With the initial round of CARES act funding now distributed, the organizations that received it will get right to work putting it to use.
On a normal day, Michelle Garand with Community Partnership of the Ozarks may be working on or overseeing any number of projects. Still, since the pandemic started, there is one that she has been particularly committed to.
“So in March the Community Partnership’s Ozarks Alliance to End Homelessness launched an initiative to try and work with the community to protect the homeless that are unsheltered, and contain the coronavirus,” said Garand.
And they’re doing that by getting people off the streets, and into hotel rooms.
“We’re trying to prioritize individuals who are unsheltered who have the highest healthcare needs,” said Garand. “They’re the most vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus. We’re really trying to provide as many hotel rooms as we can to that population.”
To date, they have been able to provide shelter for over 400 people, many of whom have been able to get into permanent housing.
“Right now, we have about 135 that are in hotels and the CARES Act funds will help us continue that,” said Garand.
If this money had come just a week later, things could be looking a bit bleaker.
“We would’ve had to say to those 135 individuals that they were no longer able to stay in hotels,” said Garand.
Garand says the $75,000 CPO received will only go towards this initiative, and it will get them through for about another month. They’ll likely maintain the individuals they already have unless they are able to get more funding.
Garand says the way people are submitted is either through a referral process or from area homeless organizations.