Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation has received grants totaling $117,143 to support residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Grants include the following:
- Wells Fargo, $50,000 in funds for rent and utility assistance, non-food essentials, educational laptops, and children’s activity bags for residents
- Bank of America, $20,000 in funds for rent and utility assistance and non-food essentials for residents
- Neighborworks America, $22,143 in funds for two unrestricted grants.
- National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders, $15,000 in funds for rent and utility assistance and non-food essentials for residents.
- City National Bank, $5,000 in funds for rent and utility assistance and non-food essentials for residents.
- Ventura County Community Foundation, $5,000 in funds for rent and utility assistance and non-food essentials for residents.
“The majority of the funds we received will be used toward rent and utility assistance for residents as well as non-food essentials that include paper goods, cleaning products,” said Denise Bickerstaff, Director of Business Development and Administration at Cabrillo. “The funds will be deployed along with donations we’ve received to our Emergency Assistance Fund to help our residents.
Cabrillo houses nearly 4,000 residents in affordable housing units throughout Ventura County, including low-income individuals and families, farmworkers, seniors, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.
“We are currently working on care bags that include, face masks/coverings to minimize the spread of the virus, hand sanitizers, sunscreen, neck coolers, and healthy snacks. Our partnerships with Food Share and Food Forward allow us to distribute healthy foods to families that have been financially affected by the pandemic as well,” said Luz Soto, Director of Property Management and Resident Services.
Many Cabrillo residents, who already live paycheck to paycheck, have been out of work or furloughed because of this pandemic, Bickerstaff said. Those who have been able to work from home are juggling children, work, homeschooling, and more. Many have difficulties with English, making it hard for them to assist their children with homework.
“The resources Cabrillo and these funds can provide will go a long way to ease the burden these families are currently shouldering,” said Marci Ramos, Resident and Community Services Manager at Cabrillo.
The Wells Fargo grant will also help address the educational needs of resident students, including funds for laptops and children’s activities bags that are focused on preventing learning loss during COVID-19, Ramos said.
“The activity bags will provide academic exercises for children ages 5-12 that include supplies and lessons on how to document and journal about the COVID-19 pandemic from a child’s perspective.
This will be a part of our history, world history, and a child and youth perspective of their experiences and feelings during the stay-at-home mandate is essential, she said.
“It will give our community and local agencies a different perspective of what our younger population is trying to process and cope with, empowering children and youth to write their experience and be able to communicate what is happening in their own homes and document their feelings,” Ramos said.
The bags include resources for internet activities; a juice or sports drink; snacks; writing and drawing tools such as pencils, colored pencils, crayons, or highlighters, depending on age; erasers, pencil sharpeners, activity packets, and a journal.
Ramos said the bags will be replenished once a month and also will include a newsletter to parents and a letter to the children from Residents and Community Services coordinators along with a guide to journaling and documenting their experiences and feelings. It also will include a work cell phone number for one of the coordinators so they can ask questions or make comments.
“The unrestricted NeighborWorks America grant, in addition to assisting with rent, utility and non-food essentials, will help us further assess the need for WiFi at our properties so our residents can more easily work from home and students can continue to keep up with classes while distance learning through summer school and into the fall,” Bickerstaff said.
“From an operational standpoint, We have increased the number of food distributions from twice a month to weekly at our locations to help with the increased demand for food at our properties, which means our Resident Services Coordinators are spending more time bagging food for distribution. They are spending more time putting together activities for kids who are out of school, and coordinating other resources for our residents and seeing to their needs. We’ve also been delivering care kits with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to our farmworker residents who are still working in the fields.” Bickerstaff said.
“There’s a lot of exciting work going on at Cabrillo right now. Essential work that will help our residents who are most in need and provide services to get them through this pandemic and perhaps turn it into something positive, so families can enjoy the extra time with their families without all the worries. That isn’t something we could do on our own without the support of the community and these grantors,” Bickerstaff said.
In addition to the grants, Cabrillo’s Emergency Assistance Fund has raised a total of $3,260 in individual donations to assist its residents. Donations to this fund can still be made at http://bit.ly/CEDCemergencyaid.