By Patricia Jones, Task Force on Poverty
Eviction. Foreclosure. COVID-19 hit and the economy took a nosedive. You lost your job, it’s cold and snowy, and now you are afraid your family may be homeless. But there is help! CARES funds may be used to cover overdue rent or mortgage payments, utility costs to prevent shutoff, re-housing costs like deposits, prescription assistance, or basic needs purchases.
CARES Act funds allow households to receive financial assistance if COVID-19 has caused a loss of income. Northwest Community Action Partnership (NCAP) is accepting applications for this financial assistance now. CARES Act funding is available until December 31, 2020, and NCAP has grant funding to continue their services after CARES funds have expired.
The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) requires that applicants must be citizens or have proof of legal status. They also must prove that they have been impacted by COVID-19. This might be a job loss or reduction in work hours or reduction in income from other sources. Self-employed people may have had a significant drop in income. An individual or family might have medical bills related to COVID. There might also be a need for online education or training, health, mental health, or substance abuse issues related to the pandemic. Any one of these issues would qualify an individual or household for CARES funding.
Northwest Community Action Partnership has been serving the northern Panhandle and Sandhills since 1965. NCAP provides a broad range of community service programs designed to have a measurable impact on poverty. The counties that NCAP serves are faced with numerous socioeconomic challenges and economic hardships. NCAP has its headquarters in Chadron but has local offices in several communities including Alliance, which serves Box Butte County.
NCAP regularly applies for grants and has several funding streams including Community Services Block Grants, NE CARES, FEMA, the Salvation Army, HUD, and individual donors. They allocate services and funding for a wide variety of programs that assist people in poverty. NCAP also works with other agencies, so if they don’t have the funds or program to help a family, their service navigators can find another agency that does.
To receive assistance from Box Butte County NCAP, phone 308-762-4523 or visit the office at 1028 E. 3rd Street in Alliance. The service navigator can assist you with your application for CARES funding, SNAP benefits, food pantry, or any one of several programs which might serve your needs.
You can also visit the web site: ncap.info to find out more about assistance available through Northwest Community Action Partnership. Click on Programs and Services, then Make an Inquiry. You will be asked for name, address, contact information, household size, and income. You’ll see a checklist asking which services you need: Food Pantry, Holiday Meal (Thanksgiving or Christmas), Utility Assistance, Rental Assistance, Rental Deposit, Prescription Assistance, Gas Vouchers, Diapers, Socks, SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps), Soap & Shampoo, Other.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone. If you have experienced a loss of income and need assistance paying your mortgage, rent, or utilities, remember that NCAP has programs that can help you. Northwest Community Action Partnership is committed to serving the communities in our area during this very difficult time and will continue to provide services long after things return to normal. If you have other issues related to the coronavirus or living in poverty, please reach out for assistance.