Since March of this year, our board of supervisors has approved of measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and assist families suffering from the hardship of an economic shutdown.

After the CARES Act passed in Congress, Kern County received funds from the stimulus package. Immediately upon receiving the funds, our board allocated $12 million for a contract agreement with RightSourcing Inc to expand ICU bed capacity at our local hospitals, $25 million to create the Kern Recovers Small Business Relief Program to assist businesses struggling to make payroll or pay for fixed incurred cost, and authorized the expenditure of $5 million for a rental and mortgage assistance program. Also, when my office was notified by the California Farmworkers Foundation and Good Samaritan Hospital of the need for mobile testing to protect the health of farmworkers, my office helped them form a contract with the county to use CARES Act funding to test our underserved communities.

My complements to my colleagues on the board and county staff for working quickly and efficiently to produce results. After the success of distributing forgivable loans to help our small businesses, county staff observed that certain portions of our nonprofit community did not meet the guidelines for receiving aid from the federal Payroll Protection (PP) Program or the Kern Small Business Relief Program (SBRP). For example some nonprofits don’t have the professional staff or banking relationships to conduct the application process for those programs. Also, it’s important to note that both the PP program and Kern Recovers SBRP use payroll calculations to determine eligibility for aid, and most non-profits use volunteer labor.

On Aug. 18, our board established the Kern Recovers Nonprofit Grant Program with a $1 million expenditure from the County’s CARES Act funding. One of the many benefits about this program is the eligibility requirement that grants be distributed to nonprofits headquartered in Kern County and primarily serve constituents in the county. In order to be eligible for funds, an organization must demonstrate funding is necessary due to the financial impacts of the pandemic and meet other eligibility requirements on the Kern Recovers website.

Individual grants of $5,000, $10,000, and $20,000 will be distributed based on criteria involving demonstrated revenue loss, employee count, 2019 annual revenues, and COVID-19 related financial assistance already received. By including nonprofit organizations in our Kern Recovers marketing effort, our county is expanding our outreach to organizations across the region.

On Sept. 1, the application process started on the Kern Recovers website. This is welcome news for our community who rely on these organizations to provide essential services to the most needy in our society. I encourage nonprofits in District 4 who meet the eligibility requirements to apply for the grant program. These funds are limited, so apply sooner than later. Kern County’s consistent engagement with public health professionals and determination to recover from the pandemic display the integrity and grit that makes our county special.

Please visit https://www.kerncounty.com/government/kern-recovers to begin your application. Also feel free to contact the District 4 Office at district4@kerncounty.com or at 661-868-3680 for any concerns. Have a safe week.

David Couch represents Kern County’s Fourth District.

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(1) comment

Masked 2020

Since March of this year, our board of supervisors has approved of measures to help slow the spread..... oh really......you failed...Vote Blue in 2020...DeepBlue..not nonpartisan VeryPaleAnemicBlue like Leticia .... but like big knockers Blue

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