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Olmsted County announces plans for $19.1 million in CARES Act funds

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) -- Olmsted County board members have approved a plan to distribute the $19.1 million in federal funding the County received in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The County announced its plans for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds on Tuesday morning.

“COVID-19 has been devastating for individuals and families in Olmsted County in a number of ways," said Olmsted County Administrator Heidi Welch in a news release. "This CARES Act funding allows Olmsted County to direct funds to those in our community who are struggling.”

Olmsted County said $8.9 million will be allocated for cost recovery for the various expenses incurred during the County's public health response to the pandemic. These expenses reportedly include the testing facility at Graham Park, modifications to the Rochester Community Warming Center and more.

Olmsted County said $4.7 million will cover needs for vulnerable populations. The County said this includes basic needs such as food, transportation and shelter for those in crisis during the pandemic. This also reportedly includes financial assistance for families impacted by loss of income, food delivery for vulnerable populations, mental health services for those who don't have access to insurance, testing of those who are at-risk and COVID-19 education and outreach.

The County said $5 million will be used to support organizations impacted by the pandemic through grant programs. This reportedly includes a $4 million grant program for small businesses through Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc., and a $1 million grant program for non-profits which is set to be administered by the Rochester Area Foundation.

Olmsted County said $500,000 in funding will go toward grants for unfunded mental health needs in K-12 schools, as isolation and distance learning can impact mental health. If there aren't unfunded needs, the county said the board may reallocate the funds.

"This funding allows us to continue providing service with care to the community to help improve quality of life during these unprecedented times," Welch said.

Nicole Valinote

Social Media and Digital Content Manager

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