05/26/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/26/2020 11:58
City Launches Mobile Food Pantry and Rental Assistance Program to Meet Unmet Needs
While our county partners, Arapahoe, Adams and Douglas, provide ongoing Health and Human Service programs such as assistance with employment, food and housing for city residents, city of Aurora leaders wanted to add to those efforts and further support the community during the COVID-19 health crisis.
Two new temporary assistance programs-the Mobile Food Pantry and Rental Assistance Program-are part of the city's response to a recent survey it conducted to find the areas of assistance most in need in the community during the pandemic. Food, rental assistance and unemployment were top concerns, and we will continue to look for ways to fund and respond to unmet needs in Aurora during these challenging times.
• The Aurora Mobile Food Pantry launched this week, providing about 9,000 meals to Aurora residents, in partnership with Aurora Interfaith Community Services. The first event, May 20 at Aurora Central High School, saw a big turnout in volunteers and community members, and a lot of interest that will allow us to provide even more meals in future weeks. Due to the large turnout, Aurora Interfaith Community Services is working with Food Bank of the Rockies to secure additional food for upcoming events. The next event will be May 27 at Hinkley High School, and additional sites throughout the summer will be announced soon. The mobile food pantry will open at 10 a.m. and close when food runs out. Information is available at AuroraGov.org/MobileFoodPantry.
• The city of Aurora has started accepting applications from residents in need of assistance meeting their monthly lease payments because of financial hardships experienced during the COVID-19 crisis. The Rental Assistance Program is funded through the House Aurora Partnership and Community Development Block Grants and offers up to two months of rental payments to qualifying residents. At least $620,000 in assistance is initially being made available. Residents can apply at AuroraGov.org/RentAssist.
Aurora Ramps Up Its Support for Businesses
• The city of Aurora wants to help local businesses ramp up operations while maintaining safe health practices. One step we are taking is allowing restaurants to operate in temporary spaces outdoors as soon as state and county public health officials allow the partial reopening of in-person dining services. The city is waiving its fees on these expedited Temporary Use Permits, which would allow restaurants to use outdoor spaces adjacent to their buildings, such as parking lots and sidewalks, in order to keep patrons socially distanced. The permits would also loosen regulations on parking requirements and outdoor alcohol service. Information is available at AuroraGov.org/AuroraRampsUp.
• Aurora Economic Relief Loan and Grant Program - The first checks went out Friday, May 22, to grant recipients of the city's Aurora Economic Relief Loan and Grant Program. The program is helping more than 100 small businesses throughout Aurora to retain jobs and provide emergency financial support during the public health crisis. The city of Aurora and the Aurora City Council, in cooperation with CEDS Finance, launched the grant and loan program to provide economic assistance to restaurant, retail, service and entertainment small businesses and arts-related nonprofits. A combination of Community Development Block Grants, urban renewal funds and CARES Act dollars is funding the program. I am pleased to note that an extensive outreach effort enabled us to target businesses representing the diversity of our population and business community.
Permits and Inspections Continue Through the Pandemic with Innovative Customer Service
• The city of Aurora has continued to provide excellent customer service to local residents and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. A great example of this is our Permit Center, where even though the walk-up counter at the Aurora Municipal Center may be closed, permits and inspections go on. In fact, the number of year-to-date permits issued by the city is on par with the same timeframe last year. What's more, the number of inspections is up more than 6,000 compared with last year. We've been able to do this through some innovative ways of serving our customers, such as virtual inspections via live cellphone calls, while maintaining in-person inspections on unoccupied buildings and exterior areas. And 98% of inspections are conducted the same day as requested. By continuing to provide these services, we are helping ensure building construction continues with minimal disruption while still ensuring safety for employees and customers.
Supporting Our First Responders
• On May 20, the Aurora City Council passed a resolution encouraging the city manager to provide hazard pay to our sworn police and fire personnel who have stepped up at risk to themselves in order to serve, protect and care for our residents during this pandemic. A simple thank you is not enough (although an important thing to provide), and I support our city's efforts to show this token of appreciation.
• Mayor Coffman Helps Salvation Army with Drive-Thru Food Box Distribution at Town Center - AuroraTV
• Gotham Greens Opens New Greenhouse in Aurora As Local Businesses Slowly Reopen After COVID-19 - Forbes
Moment of silence at 7 p.m. May 22
• Aurora has joined the state and other Colorado cities in a coordinated effort on Fridays in May to honor those who have been lost in the COVID-19 pandemic with a moment of silence. I hope you will join me in taking a moment of silence at 7 p.m. and wearing your face coverings as a symbol that we will all do our part.
Mayor Mike Live
• On May 15, I started a weekly Facebook Live program called 'Mayor Mike Live' to provide updates to Aurora residents on the city's response to COVID-19 as well as to answer viewers' questions. We had a great turnout from residents and some really insightful and inquisitive comments. I hope you'll join me May 22 at 3 p.m. for the next 'Mayor Mike Live.' Come with your questions, and I look forward to hearing from you.
#MayorsChallenge and Supporting Local Businesses
• As we look forward to even wider food offerings from local restaurants as Aurora ramps up in a phased reopening of our community, please continue to join me in the #MayorsChallenge and order from a local eatery at least once a week if you're able.
General Questions About COVID-19
• For general COVID-19 questions, call CO Help at 303.389.1687, or for answers in many other languages, call 877.462.2911. Email [email protected] for answers in English.