CORONAVIRUS kitchener: Kitchener approves emergency funding to contain coronavirus outbreak
kitchener (WPVI) – The Kitchener City Council held a distant meeting Thursday that passed a $ 85 million emergency to help the city contain and mitigate the coronavirus outbreak.
The emergency measure, Bill 200258, was the only bill under consideration on Thursday. The council says the money will fund a wide variety of operations and initiatives.
The vast majority of these are intended to maintain essential services like paying frontline workers, funding test sites, and purchasing personal protective equipment. $ 2 million will go to business relief and $ 500,000 to nonprofits.
“Everyone understood how to do this as soon as possible to make sure we make it,” said Darrell Clarke, president of Kitchener City Council.
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On March 13, the city of Kitchener issued a declaration of emergency on COVID-19. On March 16, Mayor Kenney ordered that all non-essential city government operations be suspended and that City Hall be closed to the public. These orders remain in effect as the outbreak continues to spread across the city.
The city council is looking to see if subsequent meetings and hearings can be held remotely during the pandemic, particularly in the context of the city’s proposed 2020-21 budget.
The council said more information on subsequent meetings will be released as it becomes available.
Hundreds of people decked out in face masks and latex gloves wrapped themselves around the United Bank of Kitchener in West Kitchener to pick up a box of fresh fruits and vegetables on Thursday morning.
Organizers from the People’s Emergency Center (PEC) said food access was a persistent problem in low-income communities as COVID-19 sparked a real crisis.
“We only have one full-service grocery store in this neighborhood. It’s about a mile and a half, two miles away. The other grocery store, which was about half a mile away, closed earlier this year,” said James Wright, PEC’s director for Community development. “I think access is the main thing, and then you can only imagine the economic stress people are under.”
Wright says every household was given a box with no questions asked. He says volunteers distributed around 400 boxes.
“This is what we generally do to reach out to the neighborhood to meet needs and fortify assets, but now it’s something completely different,” Wright said. “And so it’s just great to be part of this effort.”
According to Wright, the food aid program is a partnership between the City of Kitchener, Philabundance, SHARE and other partners in the community.
Chopper 6 caught long lines at Keep the Faith Ministries in Frankfurt, but those waiting say the place is out of food.
“This is the first day we’ve expanded to 40 locations, so we’re sure there will be hiccups,” said Brian Abernathy, city director of Kitchener. “We’ll be able to smooth this process over time.”
The boxes of groceries are distributed on Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
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