Submitted by Columbia Basin Trust
People in the Columbia Basin are experiencing new and increasing challenges as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have seen our community join together in remarkable ways to support each other and we have heard from communities, residents and our partners on how we can help. We are here to support the people of the Basin with immediate support to assist the region through this extraordinary time. This includes support for businesses, First Nations communities, local food banks, community social service agencies and childcare operators.
To help small business in the Basin, the Trust will:
- provide low interest working capital loans to help businesses meet immediate needs or plan for future recovery
- increase the support available through the Impact Investment Fund
- increase supports for businesses currently participating in the Basin RevUp program
- provide flexibility and customized support through through Summer Works, School Works and the Career Internship Program
- increase the resources available through the Basin Business Advisors program and the Basin RevUp program
- increase support to unemployed and underemployed individuals through the Training Fee Support program
- provide a loan payment holiday to investment and economic development clients and being open to discussing other changes to existing arrangements.
We are supporting the community organizations that provide direct services to those most vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 and those organizations that are helping Basin residents meet their basic needs. This includes funding for First Nations communities, Métis associations, food banks, community social service agencies, child care operators, housing societies, and hospices in the Basin.
To continue to support the region while meeting public health requirements, the Trust has:
- postponed its public engagement process to renew its strategic plan
- closed each Trust office to the public
- ensured staff can work remotely to support communities and residents
- communicated with the people and organizations it works with about support like the following:
- enabling grant recipients to be flexible on reporting requirements, while ensuring the Trust still provides payments as usual
- extending program deadlines to allow more time for community organizations to respond
- helping program partners explore ways to engage virtually
- providing a loan payment holiday to investment and economic development clients and being open to discussing other changes to existing arrangements
- offering internet customers of the Trust’s Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation a free increase in bandwidth in recognition of temporarily increased connectivity needs
- increasing resources available through the Non-Profit Advisors Program to ensure non-profits can access guidance to address operational and organizational challenges arising from COVID-19.
These are the immediate steps we are taking to help the Basin weather this challenging time. There will be longer-term impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and we will continue to work with residents, partners and communities to support them in responding to those impacts.
As we continue to navigate this together, we encourage everyone to follow public health recommendations and requirements and to be compassionate and supportive of each other.
For more information, visit https://ourtrust.org/our-work/community/support-for-covid-19-impacts/