Seniors, Feeding Frederick, Transportation Some Of The Programs To Receive ARPA Money

County Executive Jan Gardner

Frederick County will receive $50-million under this federal law.

Frederick, Md (KM) A portion of Frederick County’s allotment of the American Rescue Plan Act will spent on senior citizen needs. County Executive Jan Gardner made that announcement Tuesday during her public information briefing. “First , the $300,000 for Advocates for the Aging to purchase various devices and equipment for seniors to retrofit their homes so people can age in place for a long as possible,” she says. “Examples could include ramps, grab bars, electric lifting chairs, benches to transfer in and out of a bathtub, and special shoes for people with diabetes.”

There’s also another project to help seniors stay in their homes. “Another new allocation is $300,000 towards keeping seniors, veterans and disabled homeowners in their homes through the non-profit Rebuilding Together,” says Gardner. “Rebuilding Together make home repairs for low income homeowners so they can remain in their homes.”

Gardner also said $125,000 will be set aside for feasibility student for a Frederick County program for an All-Inclusive Car of the Elderly being considered by Frederick Health Hospital.  The  program would  provide a full range of services such as social work, medical, transportation an rehabilitation to frail seniors.

The American Rescue Plan Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President to help local governments affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Frederick County is receiving $50.4-million. The county already has half of that amount, and is expected to receive the remainder next year.

“Really, we’re not creating new parts of government,” says Gardner. “We’re really supporting our human service non-profit agencies that already do this work. So it’s a great partnership.”

Frederick County is also providing $8-million over a four-year period to help support the development of a Family Connects Program. “This is a program which came out of Duke University. It has ten years of data. It’s data-driven. It’s proven to have positive outcomes for children and families, including reducing adverse childhood experiences and helping children have long term success in school,” says Gardner.

She says Frederick Health Hospital will take the lead. “So through Family Connects, a nurse will visit with the home of newborns and their families to check in on mom and baby. They’ll be a wellness check. They’ll help families navigate feeding and sleeping schedules, and connect families with a needed resource, whether it’s more follow up care for the mom, emotional support, and even necessities like food or housing,” Gardner says.

There are also some transportation projects, including $600,000 to upgrade real time tracking information for TransIT, and $100,000 to improve bus service by redesigning TransIT’s network and integrating TransIT Plus. “$500,000 will be invested for improvements to bus shelters and transfer facilities,” says Gardner. “These improvements include installing concrete boarding pads to improve safety as passengers get on and off buses, and they’ll engage our community partners to enhance pedestrian safety near our key bus stops.”

Feeding Frederick will also be receiving some ARPA money. “So we’re allocate $44,600 to continue the Feeding Frederick public awareness campaign,” says Gardner. “There’s lots of food available for people, but often the people who need it don’t know where to get it. So this is really about public awareness so people know where they can get the resources they need.”

The county is also providing $260,000 from ARPA to help the Religious Coalition with a family emergency shelter along Hayward Road which is scheduled to open in February. “I’m very proud to be able to support this community effort to provide our first family emergency shelter in Frederick County so families can be stabilized and get back on their feet,” Gardner says.

A COVID memorial is being planned for Utica District Park, and Frederick County is helping out. County Executive Gardner says $250,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act will be set aside for this effort. The memorial is being designed to honor those who have lost their lives to the coronavirus, and essential workers such as medical personnel, who worked hard to save lives, even putting their own lives at risk. “Throughout the pandemic, many people experienced extreme stress because of loss of income, day care, and,  sadly, the loss of their loved ones. Grief is a powerful emotion,” she says. “One way to address grief is to provide an outlet and place to focus these feelings.”

These and previous projects approved by the County for ARPA funding were identified through public outreach. Gardner says ARPA funding  additional projects will be announced in the future.

By Kevin McManus