Mayor Fischer announces first wave of One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund grants

March 30, 2020

As donations continue to come into the One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund, Mayor Fischer announced today that money is now flowing out to local non-profit groups that provide critical support to the community during the pandemic.

The One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund has identified 17 organizations for the first round of funding, covering missions ranging from food aid to housing assistance to domestic violence protection.

“These organizations are on the frontlines, helping our most vulnerable friends, neighbors, and family members weather the outbreak and the economic disruption it is causing,” Mayor Fischer said. “This is what a compassionate city does in a crisis. This is who we are. This is what we can do.”

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Last week, the Mayor announced that 128 households had been approved for individual assistance from One Louisville: COVID Response, with more to come.

Since it was launched on March 16, 2020, the One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund has collected $7.4 million in donations from corporations, foundations, and individuals from across the community.

The organizations receiving aid today are:

·         Americana Community Center

·         APRON

·         Association of Community Ministries

·         Catholic Charities of Louisville

·         Center for Women & Families

·         Dare to Care

·         Family & Children's Place

·         Goodwill

·         Jewish Family & Career Services

·         Kentucky Refugee Ministries

·         La Casita

·         Lee Initiative

·         Louisville Housing and Opportunities Micro-Enterprise (LHOME)

·         Louisville Urban League

·         Neighborhood House

·         Salvation Army

·         Volunteers of America

“These organizations do outstanding work supporting some of our most vulnerable community members,” the Mayor said. “They have long been great partners to our city.”

Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, said the money will help the organization continue to help people who were already under great financial strain.

“The League is thankful for this infusion of resources. We serve a population that is at high risk, not just because of the predominance of underlying diseases like diabetes and cancer, but also because of the very tenuous financial situation that many were in pre-COVID-19,” Reynolds said. “This funding will allow us to continue the frontline work, ensuring not only that our financial education and workforce classes proceed, but that we can continue our phone and virtual check-ins with the community to help navigate the stress of this pandemic. We will also be able to continue to provide immediate assistance for gasoline, food, medication, and other emergency items.”

The goal of the One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund is to provide flexible funding resources to help community-based organizations and individuals who are disproportionately impacted by the virus and its economic consequences.

“The initial group of nonprofits getting help from the One Louisville Fund are all experienced, ‘boots on the ground’ direct-service providers,” said Ann Coffey, CEO of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence. “Some are wondering how long they can keep their doors open without significant help. The dollars from this fund are being put to immediate use to help our community – Today.”

This initial round of 17 grants was specifically targeted to groups on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19. An application process is being developed for local organizations to apply for funding. Grants are being administered in partnership with the One Louisville Advisory Committee, which consists of funding partners and representatives of local government, corporations, and community organizations. 

Meanwhile, Metro United Way said today that it is stepping up its efforts to help groups and individuals impacted by the virus and the economic shutdown. Theresa Reno-Weber, president and CEO of Metro United Way, said the organization is releasing more than $400,000 in emergency funds to invest immediately in non-profits across Kentuckiana.

“Metro United Way has always sought to address our community’s most pressing needs,” Reno-Weber said. “We’ll be using these emergency funds in parallel with and to complement the dollars raised and distributed by the collective funds in our region, including the One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund and the Disaster Relief Fund in Southern Indiana.”

Metro United Way is also providing insights and data on needs across the region that are driving the prioritization and distribution of these collective dollars. 

Another round of One Louisville: COVID-19 Response funding will be announced later this week. To contribute to the fund, go to www.louisvilleky.gov/government/city/one-louisville-covid-19-response-fund.

Health Department revises “contact tracing” procedure

As the number of COVID-19 cases rises in Louisville, health officials are now asking individuals diagnosed with the virus to inform their close contacts about the need to self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms.

When the first cases of COVID-19 surfaced here, health officials were performing what is known as “contact tracing” to track those people down and notify them, but are now relying on the individuals to do that when possible.

“We expected the rise in COVID-19 cases and in community transmission, and we’re not surprised we had to go this CDC-recommended route,” said Dr. Lori Caloia, medical director at the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.

Health officials continue to perform contact tracing for first responders, as well as for people who are unable to do it themselves.

Mental health: We need to take care of ourselves and each other

Mayor Fischer emphasized the need to care for ourselves mentally as well as physically during this challenging time.

“This is a stressful time for all of us. That’s why I’m going to keep talking about mental health.

It’s just as important as physical health,” the Mayor said. “Reach out to people. Call an old friend. Everyone on Earth, basically, is dealing with COVID-19. So, we all have that in common. And that’s why we need to take care of ourselves and each other.”

In addition to therapists who are doing phone and tele-health consultations, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established a Disaster Distress Helpline for people who need mental health and emotional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tollfree number is 1-800-985-5990, or you can text TalkWithUs to 66746.

“You can talk to a trained crisis counselor 24/7 and get support for emotional distress related to the challenges you’re facing as a result of this crisis,” Mayor Fischer said. “We’re all in this together. And we all need each other’s help to get through this. If you need help, reach out.”

Make yourself count in the 2020 Census

Mayor Fischer stressed the importance of every Louisvillian taking part in the 2020 U.S. Census, which is ongoing right now. April 1 has been designated as Census Day in the United States, when every household should have received its Census form via mail.

“When we emerge from this pandemic, it will be vital that Louisville is able to get all the available federal resources we need to come back strong as a community,” the Mayor said. “An accurate count of our local population will be key to this, which is why I need each and every one of us to fill out our Census form.”

During this time of social distancing, you can safely participate in the 2020 Census without leaving your home:

  • Fill out the paper questionnaire and mail it back
  • Follow the printed instructions and complete it online at my2020census.gov.
  • Call in your information at 1-844-330-2020 (tollfree).

Online town hall on Tuesday

Mayor Fischer will conduct a Facebook Live online town hall on Tuesday morning. The topic will be public safety amid the COVID-19 crisis.

LMPD Chief Steve Conrad, Metro Chief of Public Services Amy Hess and Metro Chief of Community Building Vincent James will be the guests. Go to Facebook.com/MayorGregFischer at 10 a.m. Tuesday to participate.

Low-income heating aid deadline extended through April 30

Community Action Kentucky is giving more time for people to apply for help paying their winter utility bills. The state has extended the deadline for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to April 30, a 30-day extension.

The Metro Office of Resilience and Community Services administers LIHEAP in Louisville. For more information, go to louisvilleky.gov/LIHEAP or call the automated information line at (502) 991-8391.

“This extension, and the fact that LG&E has suspended shutoffs during this crisis, should mean that everyone in Louisville can count on having heat and energy available to them while they’re spending much more time at home,” the Mayor said.

Follow @liftuplou on social media

Mayor Fischer once again reminded everyone about Lift Up Lou, the city’s new initiative to keep our spirits up and keep us connected while we remain socially distant.

“You’ll find all kind of fun things to help you keep your spirits up, including dance instruction from the Louisville Ballet, a strength training routine from Climb Nulu, and links to free courses, like an online class from Yale in happiness,” the Mayor said. “So follow @liftuplou on social media – and share what you’re doing as well.”

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