The Columbia Basin Trust has expanded the types of services that qualify for the $11.7 million in funding for COVID-19 relief they announced earlier in April.
“The situation caused by the pandemic continues to evolve, and the trust is actively monitoring the challenges arising in the basin and the aid provided by all levels of government,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust president and CEO, in a news release. “With input from our partners and communities, we’ve decided to assist a wider range of services consistent with our strategic priorities as established by basin residents.”
When first announced, the trust was offering support to small businesses, vulnerable populations and community organizations.
Now, the trust is helping food recovery programs ramp up and adapt as well as supporting farmer’s markets.
They are expanding the BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program and exploring how to aid local food producers to meet the growing demand for their projects.
The trust is also helping community organizations address young children’s healthy development and the needs of their families, including developing online workshops for parents and activities for kids.
Colleges in the region will also receive funding to assist students experiencing financial hardships.
The trust also pledged to help internet service providers enhance high-speed internet, complimenting support recently announced by the government.
These initiatives are in addition to the support previously announced for First Nations communities, Metis associations, food banks, housing providers, hospices, licensed child care operators and community social service agencies.
The trust also previously announced low-interest loans for small businesses as well as increased assistance through existing programs such as the Impact Investment Fund, Basin RevUP, Summer Works, Career Internship Program, Basin Business Advisors and Training Fee Support.