Spree of City Groups and Entities Joining Forces To Aid Those In Need
~ by Gabriel Paulson ~
As the coronavirus continues to spread through the country, affecting jobs and income for many residents of the Pikes Peak region, Manitou Springs’ agencies have joined forces to help relieve some of the stress on those directly affected under guidelines of “non-essential workers.”
Manitou Springs Community Foundation, City of Manitou Springs, Manitou Springs Urban Renewal Authority, Manitou Emergency Recovery Fund, Manitou Springs Education Foundation, Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce and Pikes Peak Community Foundation have joined forces to establish an emergency fund to help Manitou residents and employees who have been severely affected by closures and layoffs related to COVID-19.
The emergency fund will provide a one-time payment of $500 to qualifying individuals who complete the application and provide required documentation. To date, according to the organization’s Website, 246 checks have been distributed totaling $123,000.
Former Manitou Springs mayor Ken Jaray, who is also a member of Manitou Springs Community Foundation’s board of directors, was impressed with how quickly everything came together to make all of this a reality. Discussions about this began in mid-March and applications began arriving for funds by the following weekend.
Officials with the organizations involved say that submitting an application does not automatically guarantee a check. Determination is based upon the priority of individual needs. To qualify, the person submitting the application must be a resident of Manitou Springs or work at a business in Manitou Springs that has reduced hours, staffing, or closed; be laid off or terminated or otherwise significantly impacted by COVID-19; and earn $12.10 per hour (the equivalent of $2,087 per month) or less and proof of income is required.
Manitou Springs Community Foundation is seeking donations for those in need through its website and Facebook page. Applications are also available at Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce, 354 Manitou Ave.
The emergency fund was created by the Manitou Springs Community Foundation and had received more than $50,000 in donations from foundation partners and the community by March 22. It will continue to solicit for donations from organizations and individuals willing to help.
Jaray added that everyone involved has been committed to making the process work so everyone in need can receive the help they need. It takes a lot of help and support to make it all happen.
Natalie Johnson, a member of Manitou Emergency Recovery Fund, stated that the backbone of the economy, and what makes Manitou Manitou are folks now unemployed and unable to sell their products, create things or perform. As a result, this fund will provide a lifeline.
Jaray added that this fund shows what can happen when people work together.
“This is a band-aid, a temporary fix, that will help our community until El Paso County, the state of Colorado and the federal government can take over with ongoing financial support,” Johnson stated in a press release.
Of those applications received by the end of March, $14,500 was given to residents in the Urban Renewal Authority area; $1,500 was given to School District 14 employees; and $95,000 was given to Manitou Springs residents and workers who had applied and were approved.
Of the general fund, there was $52,000, with $35,000 through Manitou Emergency Recovery; and $17,000 through Manitou Springs Community Foundation and residents.
Of Urban renewal Authority funds, there was $25,000; and $2,000 through Manitou Springs Education Foundation.