Polk County nonprofit receives Oregon Cares Funds | News



POLK COUNTY — As a former caregiver, Elijah Friday seen a crack within the system. After 15 years of working with many individuals of various well being backgrounds, he realized what all of them had in frequent was a scarcity of well being care help.

Now a gerontologist and well being educator for the getting older inhabitants, Friday based the nonprofit Growing old With Help to assist seniors navigate their medical advantages.

“It was from there I made a decision to commit myself to older adults in want, with a concentrate on rural areas,” the 35-year-old Friday mentioned. “Rural communities have fallen wanting important well being care entry and our group advocates for higher and high quality care in these hidden areas.”

He made Polk County the middle for offering these companies. Since establishing Growing old with Help in February 2019, Friday mentioned they’ve served greater than 500 residents ages 65 and older in Polk, Yamhill, Lincoln and Marion counties.

“We have been fairly profitable for such a small entity,” Friday mentioned. “After we meet our shoppers wants, we survey them and a majority of them reported they have been extremely happy.”

Then the coronavirus pandemic struck, hampering the companies Friday and his staff supplied. Working with a inhabitants weak to COVID-19, Friday mentioned they’d the daunting job of transitioning their companies, and curbing their in-person contact.

“The companies we offer requires us to be palms on. It’s sort of tough to do this one-on-one, offering transportation, being a useful resource for individuals,” Friday mentioned. “We’ve been ready do proceed a few of that over the cellphone, but it surely’s been difficult.”

To assist people and companies by the financial shutdown, the U.S. Congress handed the CARES Act in March, 2020, a stimulius bundle totaling $2.2 trillion. The state of Oregon acquired $1.4 billion in its share of the funds. Gov. Kate Brown put aside $62 million of those {dollars} to create the Oregon Cares Fund, designed to particularly assist Black-owned companies by the disaster.

The Council of Belief, a gaggle of Black leaders throughout state, was tapped to assist oversee and administer the funds. Sheleswau Crier, a member of the Salem based mostly group, mentioned it was vitally essential the state put aside the funds that will assist an underrepresented phase of the inhabitants.

“Traditionally, Black-owned companies don’t have the identical entry to enterprise capitalists, to loans, and even the aid funds from earlier on this yr,” Crier mentioned. “Black-owned companies have been much less more likely to obtain (CARES Act) funds than different companies throughout the state. The Oregon Cares Fund makes an enormous distinction. We applaud the state for making this effort to ensure to assist probably the most weak, as COVID hits the Black neighborhood at a disproportionate price.”

Grants have been awarded on a rolling foundation beginning early October. To date, the Oregon Cares Fund has awarded $49 million to 12,000 people and households and greater than 400 companies and nonprofits throughout Oregon. In all, $154,180 has been awarded to 55 Polk county residents and one non-profit.

Friday mentioned Growing old with Help acquired somewhat over $30,000 from the Oregon Cares Fund, which they put towards buying PPEs for his or her volunteers, to guard them and their shoppers, wages and different applications. 

“It was essential the state acknowledged that Black companies and the Black neighborhood have been most effected by the disaster and addressed a option to stand up from that adversity,” Friday mentioned.

Going into the brand new yr, Friday mentioned the hope for Growing old With Help is to proceed to construct its clientele, broaden its companies, and rebuild these companies that needed to halt because of the pandemic. Friday mentioned that features partaking with extra with neighborhood meals banks for his or her clientele who can’t make the most of these in-person companies.

“I strongly consider in our mission assertion and acknowledge the worth of getting older adults by offering them the lifelong well being care instruments and sources they want,” Friday added.

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