The first allotment of assistance from the Vail Community Relief Fund has served multiple households affected by the public health crisis. An update on the program will be presented to the Town Council at its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 2. Since Town Council’s authorization of the $500,000 in grant funding on March 31, $283,000 has been awarded to 10 qualifying nonprofit organizations. The allocations are providing direct relief to front line households in the areas of food, shelter and health impacts associated with the pandemic. Distribution includes the following:
- Food – Eagle Valley Community Foundation has served 79 Vail households between April 27 and May 20 while the United Way has been delivering 50 meals to Vail residents each week, mainly serving households at Middle Creek Apartments.
- Rent Relief – Catholic Charities has assisted 7 households in Vail along with more families that work in Vail; Salvation Army has assisted 18 households with several applications pending; Swift Eagle Charitable Foundation has assisted 2 Vail households and 4 that work in Vail.
- Health (medical & behavioral) – Bright Future Foundation has helped 6 households in Vail; overall, they have seen a 17% increase in requests for emergency shelter, a 20% increase in calls to their crisis hotline and a 30% increase in requests for rental assistance. The Suicide Prevention Coalition has actively provided tools under the “SpeakUp ReachOut” campaign for mental health crisis support in the form of coping strategy cards, social media outreach and website information. The Hope Center was able to increase capacity of their team of counselors in serving the crisis hotline, in-person visits and after-hours calls to Vail Health. The Vail Valley Charitable Fund is currently evaluating medical bill support for a number of households, and to-date, has supported a 6-year Vail resident with $5,000 in funding after suffering serious medical issues.
A number of applications are under review for a second round of funding and will be announced in the near future. Households in need of assistance are asked to contact the qualifying nonprofit organizations listed above.
Commercial Rent Relief
A rent relief program for commercial business owners is being explored by a subcommittee of the town’s Economic Recovery Team based on a successful model in use by the City of Aspen. An overview will be presented during Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.
One option is to provide grants for small businesses for one-third the monthly rent for up to three months, with a yet to be determined maximum grant per business. An alternative cost share arrangement is also being considered, whereby landlords would agree to a reduction in rent on a floating basis based on the percentage of revenue received in 2020 versus the same month in 2019; the town would support the reduction on the same basis over a determined time period. Program recommendations, including funding formulas and eligibility requirements, will be presented to the Town Council on June 16 for consideration.
To review the staff memo on the town’s relief efforts and other agenda items for the June 2 meeting, visit www.vailgov.com/agendas. Public comment will be accepted via email until noon on June 2 at firstname.lastname@example.org.