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Governments supporting charities during COVID-19 pandemic

DAN CEARNS Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHA: Three levels of government have started measures to help charities and other non-profit organizations during this COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, April 21st, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $350 million investment from Canada’s federal government to help charities and nonprofits. “The government has been working to put in place supports for all Canadians facing a tough situation. However, COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on those most vulnerable, creating a greater need for community-based organizations. To help these Canadians, the Government of Canada will provide additional support to charities and non-profit organizations through the Emergency Community Support Fund,” a press release from the Prime Minister’s office explained. The press release explained, “the Emergency Community Support Fund will provide funding to national intermediaries with networks across the country, including United Way Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, and the Community Foundations of Canada,” and then these organizations will “disburse funds to local community-based organizations working with vulnerable populations, including seniors, persons with disabilities, members of LGBTQ2 communities, veterans, newcomers, women, children and youth, and members of Indigenous communities and racialized communities, such as Black Canadians.” Later that day, the province of Ontario announced new funds to help expand Meals on Wheels programs. The provincial government announced a commitment of $11 million, through the Ontario Community Support Association, to help the local meal delivery programs in Ontario. “We know that the best way we can all take care of ourselves during this outbreak is to stay home,” Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, said in a press release. “For older Ontarians and people with disabilities, this may be especially challenging. That is why I am so proud to see the Ontario Spirit being demonstrated by the volunteers, local not-for-profit organizations, charities and businesses that are helping our most vulnerable through the Ontario Community Support Program.” On Wednesday, April 22nd, the Region of Durham announced a new program to help organizations that work on homelessness support in Durham. “The COVID-19 Community Assistance Fund is available, as a onetime allocation, for not-for-profit organizations in Durham Region that are providing urgent help to vulnerable residents, homeless residents and residents at risk of homelessness who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” read a press release from the Region. There are certain eligibility criteria for organizations to apply for this funding.

Organizations must be “incorporated as a not-for-profit organization”, located in Durham Region, providing help for homeless people in Durham and “able to sign a Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy or Ontario Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI), agreement.” “The Region of Durham, as Service Manager, is using contributions, from the Community Homeless Prevention Initiative (CHPI) and Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy, to provide this funding. The CHPI has received funding support from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Reaching Home has received funding support from the Government of Canada,” the Region’s press release explained. Regional Chair John Henry is happy the Region can help these organizations. “The homeless population is one of the most vulnerable populations in Durham. This pandemic has resulted in them requiring even more support, during this unprecedented time. The Region is proud to be able to allocate these funds to help those organizations who are stepping up to help these at-risk individuals in our community,” he said, in a statement.

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