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Viewpoint: Statewide programs help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Covid Fund for Idaho and the Housing Preservation Program have given millions of dollars for basic needs and to keep people in their homes.

BOISE, Idaho — The financial, mental and physical impacts of the coronavirus pandemic prompted the formation of a statewide partnership to help those in need. 

In March, the Idaho Community Foundation, the United Ways of Idaho and the Idaho Nonprofit Center joined forces to create the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund for Idaho.

So far, they have given more than $1.3 million in grants to 115 nonprofits and community organizations across the state. They plan to give out another $500,000 in grants by the end of the year.

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The grantees work in the areas of childcare, domestic abuse support, food and basic needs, mental and physical health and housing.

Organizations that have received grants include The Hunger Coalition in Blaine County, Cascade Food Pantry, Boys and Girls Clubs in the Treasure Valley, Life's Kitchen, Idaho Foodbank, Faces of Hope Victim Center, CATCH, Interfaith Sanctuary homeless shelter, the Salvation Army, the Weiser Memorial Hospital Foundation and the list goes on.

Idaho Community Foundation President and CEO Karen Bilowith says it was important that the fund be put together quickly.

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Credit: KTVB
Cascade Food Bank

"The nonprofits on the ground level were really seeing the impacts immediately," Bilowith said. "For example, one of the first things we heard was that the food pantries in communities across the state were seeing an increase in requests for food. The other thing was that nonprofits rely on events and other types of fundraisers to meet their budgets, as well as the quality of life nonprofits and performing arts, cultural organizations all rely on ticket revenue. So we knew the impacts would be immediate and we wanted to get money out to the nonprofits so that they would be able to continue to deliver services without any interruption, and we saw some great examples of that throughout the state."

The COVID-19 Fund for Idaho is largely funded by donations from businesses and foundations. The grants range from $500 to $25,000.

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In this edition of Viewpoint, we also look at how this all came together so quickly and how organizers decide who gets funding.

Plus, we have details on two programs offered by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. The Housing Preservation Program helps people struggling financially because of the pandemic stay in their homes. The Homes for Idaho Heroes program is an opportunity for essential workers to save money when buying a house.

Viewpoint airs every Sunday morning at 6:30 on KTVB and several times after that on 24/7 with the first airing at 9 a.m.

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