The State of Kansas approved today, Sept. 9, Douglas County’s plan for distributing $24.9 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to the community. The plan includes funding for 155 programs ranging from coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment to small business grants and Lawrence Community Shelter improvements.
The county will notify all of the funding recipients and distribute the money. As part of the state’s requirement, funding needs to be spent by Dec. 30, 2020. The county will be responsible for tracking expenditures and ensuring requirements are met.
The plan provides $1.94 million to agencies for COVID-related expenses between March 1 and July 31 of this year. The plan also includes direct aid for the following sectors:
- $3.06 million – municipalities
- $3.44 million – economic recovery
- $10.35 million – health and medical services
- $2.5 million – housing and human services
- $3.6 million - education
In July, the state allocated $400 million to Kansas counties based on their population to improve health and economic outcomes. Douglas County received $24.9 million.
In mid-July, Douglas County Administration and Emergency Management employees began working closely with partner agencies in the COVID-19 Recovery Coordination Team to identify eligible expenditures for the funds. More than 50 community agencies were involved in the process and every applicant completed a racial equity impact analysis tool. The COVID-19 Recovery Coordination Team reviewed a plan that was presented to the county commission on Aug. 5. Commissioners then made revisions during public meetings and approved the plan on Aug. 14. The state’s deadline to submit the plan was Aug. 17.
“This has been a monumental task for our staff and community partners. When I talk to other counties, they are in awe of the amount of outreach and work that we’ve done here in Douglas County,” County Administrator Sarah Plinsky said. “I’m incredibly grateful to the entire recovery team.”
The COVID-19 Recovery Coordination Team’s leadership includes: Plinsky, University of Kansas Chancellor Doug Girod, LMH Health President & CEO Russ Johnson, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Director Dan Partridge, Lawrence Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Lewis, City of Lawrence Manager Craig Owens, The Chamber of Lawrence President & CEO Bonnie Lowe and Douglas County Health Officer Dr. Thomas Marcellino. The team also includes lead coordinators in the areas of: economic recovery, health and medical services, housing and human services, and education.
“These leaders didn’t sign up for this work. They have done a ton of extra work engaging a lot of people in our community. I am hopeful that this work will continue to strengthen our bonds of collaboration and help our community recover during these unprecedented times,” Plinsky said.
Here are some of the programs that will be funded under the county’s Reimbursement and Direct Aid plan:
- $127,402 — Nursing home and long-term care facility support.
- $44,557 — Hotel stays for isolation of Lawrence Community Shelter clients.
City of Lawrence
- $374,000 — Campsite for people experiencing homelessness.
- $12,770 – Sanitizing stations in downtown Lawrence.
- $1.65 million — Lawrence Restaurant Association for a Douglas County Hospitality COVID Assistance program.
- $450,000 — Downtown Lawrence, Inc. for grants to help small retail businesses in Douglas County.
Health & Medical Services
- $2.7 million – LMH Health for COVID testing in the community.
- $72,030 – Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical for respiratory ventilators.
Housing & Human Services
- $1.9 million – for rent, mortgage and utility assistance through the following agencies and municipalities: Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, Drop-In and Rest Center, DCCCA, Douglas County Community Foundation, Ballard Community Center, Lawrence Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, Tenants to Homeowners, Family Promise, The Willow Domestic Violence Center, City of Lawrence and City of Eudora.
- $401,440 — Just Food to improve its warehouse to safely serve clients and volunteers and for food purchases.
- $1,516,667 — Flexible funding for reopening measures for USD 343, USD 348, USD 491, USD 497, Bishop Seabury Academy, Corpus Christi Catholic School, St. John Catholic School, and Veritas Christian School. The amount is $93.34 per student.
- $201,030 – Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence for personal protective equipment, a cleaning plan, and in-person learning response plan.
The Douglas County Coronavirus Response and Recovery Hub has up-to-date countywide coronavirus information, including the Reimbursement and Direct Aid Plan, funding opportunities, health orders and guidance: douglascountyks.org/coronavirus.