City of Albany receives federal COVID-19 recovery funding

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, many people have been struggling to pay for food, daycare, and rents or mortgages. Starting Friday, residents in the city of Albany could see some relief. Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced federal COVID-19 recovery funding for community-based organizations. 

The City of Albany received nearly half a million dollars in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in response to COVID-19. The funding, through a Community Development Block Grant, is being distributed to community-based organizations to help recover from the financial impacts of the pandemic.

“This doesn’t solve the city’s budget crisis, but it does allow us to get money out in the community where it is needed,” said Mayor Sheehan.

In the initial round of funding, $250,000 went to United Tenants of Albany and the Affordable Housing Partnership to help with rent and mortgage payment assistance. It’s aimed at preventing evictions for tenants and foreclosures for homeowners due to loss of income or inability to find employment due to COVID-19. 

“We’re really reaching out to both tenants and landlords to say this funding is available, let’s work together, and let’s ensure we’re able to keep people housed,” said Mayor Sheehan. 

Nearly $130,000 went to health and education resource services, including the South End Children’s Cafe, Equinox, Salvation Army, and South End Neighborhood Tutors, Inc. (Wizard’s Wardrobe).  The funding will help with food supply, personal protective equipment, and broadband access for summer tutoring.

“We want to make sure that these community-based organizations that normally don’t have that as part of their budget have the ability to purchase those really essential things they need,” said Mayor Sheehan.

About $100,000 was allocated to summer camps and daycare programs. The Albany Police Athletic League, which provides a day camp for low-income children, received $43,000 to offset some of their costs and fees.

Executive Director Lenny Ricchiuti told NEWS10 ABC that with the restrictions on capacity, they were limited to one location with 50 kids. Historically, they’ve had three locations with about 220 kids. Ricchiuti said this funding will allow them to open a second location at the American Little League on Krank Street.

“It’s critical for the parents that are being called back to work that now need child care. It’s critical for continued development for our youth who have been home for the last four months,” said Ricchiuti.

Additionally, he said they rely on four big fundraisers a year. So far, due to the pandemic, two have been canceled and the third has been postponed.

“When you talk about eliminating 50-70% of your fundraising in a year, that greatly impacts your budget,” said Ricchiuti. 

Mayor Sheehan said there is still additional funding available and organizations are encouraged to apply. She said they will be holding an informational webinar next week to help with the application process.

“Please know that the City of Albany stands ready to partner with you and ensure that you are able to provide those essential services,” said Mayor Sheehan. 

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