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News & Announcements

January 25, 2021
City, Partners Provided Pandemic Relief with Speed, Efficiency, Compassion

Over 168 businesses and non-profits received up to $25,000 in grant funding
Approximately 12,462 households received CARES Act Funds through the CONNECT Agencies.

In response to urgent financial and social emergencies brought on by the pandemic, and under federal spending deadline pressure, the City of Santa Fe provided millions of dollars in relief to Santa Fe individuals, families, non-profits, and small businesses in the final months of 2020. City teams coordinated with partners in Santa Fe County the non-profit sector in an unprecedented all-hands-on-deck response to urgent needs.

To maximize capacities and serve constituents most efficiently, Santa Fe County, The City of Santa Fe and the Town of Edgewood combined their efforts to provide $3.8MM in CARES ACT emergency financial support to Small Business and Non-profits. The money was awarded to the County and administered with the help of the City of Santa Fe and Town of Edgewood.

To qualify for funding, an audit-ready, bilingual application was created from scratch and within a three-week period, to serve small businesses and non-profits that were adversely affected by the economic collapse brought on by the COVID pandemic. Once awarded, legal and finance departments and respective clerks expedited a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and provided application support services RFP’s to our business services network.

Led by Santa Fe County, job descriptions for grant management and application processing were written, publicized, and procured. The distribution of funds was made possible by the invaluable support of City partners at North Central New Mexico Economic Development District, grant manager Krista Kelley of Motiva Corporation, and the Grant Application Review Committee composed of representatives from each jurisdiction and application support partners. The program was advertised via social media, radio ads, and webinars held in both English and Spanish. Over 168 businesses and non-profits qualified to receive up to $25,000 in grant funding.

“Within the mandated three month CARES Act deadline to distribute funds, there were a lot of late nights and long weekend planning sessions to get needed help to our struggling small business and non-profit communities,” said Rich Brown, Director of Community and Economic Development.

The Youth and Family Services (YFS) Division of the Community Health and Safety Department organized the distribution of $5,196,342 of CARES money and other funds to meet critical needs in housing (including rent assistance and shelter for the homeless), food security, childcare, and utilities payments. In coordination with the Finance Department and City Attorney’s office, YFS mobilized to get these dollars out into the community with maximum speed and accountability.

Under the direction of Acting Community Health and Safety Director Kyra Ochoa and Division Director Julie Sanchez, YFS partnered with 33 community agencies within the City-County CONNECT Network, as well as the national Family Independence Initiative (FII), to disperse these funds into the community.

Approximately 12,462 Santa Fe households received CARES Act Funds through the CONNECT Agencies.

Many of the payments took the form of direct deposits into families’ bank accounts, empowering them to meet their own needs in a flexible way and infusing money into our local economy—a new way for government and philanthropic partners to help people hit hard by the pandemic. Should more federal relief dollars or private-sector donations become available this year, similar networks and mechanisms will get relief funds out to the people who need them most.

When asked if the financial assistance actually made a difference in their lives, the answer from community members was unanimously (100%) “yes.” The differences that these funds made were communicated into two main ways: physical safety and psychological relief.

The final report includes several testimonials about the personal impacts of the relief aid, including this one: “This was such a blessing at a perfect time for our family of five. In August my husband lost his job and because of COVID, it’s been hard to find a new job. Because of all this, we’ve been struggling to make our payments for our 2 kids in care. We are so grateful for this help and for you all who made it so easy to access.”

Read the final report on the program here.
Find list of CONNECT organizations here.
 
To donate to ongoing relief efforts, make check out to: “The City of Santa Fe-CONNECT” and send to City of Santa Fe, PO Box 909, Santa Fe, NM 87504-0909. Every donation counts. Thank you in advance! 

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