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Governor Ducey Announces Nearly $100 Million For Child Care Programs, Small Business Relief
Governor Doug Ducey today announced $98 million in new resources to help workers and businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Provided by the CARES Act, $88 million will go toward supporting child care programs throughout the state. Less than half of state licensed and certified child care providers have managed to remain open through the pandemic. These dollars will support the reopening of child care centers, provide care for the children of essential workers through Arizona Enrichment Centers, and help working parents manage absences from school.
An additional $10 million provided by Arizona’s Crisis Contingency and Safety Net Fund will go toward rent and mortgage assistance for Arizona small businesses required to pause operations due to the pandemic. Through a partnership with the Local First Arizona Foundation, the newly developed Arizona Small Business Rent and Mortgage Relief Grant program will help struggling small businesses meet their rent or mortgage obligations, with a focus on those most in need and without access to other resources.
“This pandemic has forced Arizonans to make many sacrifices over recent months. These dollars are going where they can have an immediate impact — to help our families and businesses in need of support,” said Governor Ducey. “Helping parents access safe, reliable child care is one of the most important things we can do to support our economy. Likewise, we want to continue to be there for all the small businesses that have given so much to our communities. I’m grateful to Local First Arizona and the many organizations working to support Arizona families and small businesses through this crisis.”
Increasing Access To Child Care
The Governor today announced a spending plan from the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), which received $88 million in additional resources from the CARES Act, for the following programs to ensure Arizona families continue to have access to safe child care options:
Child Care COVID-19 Grant Program — $47 Million
Arizona Enrichment Centers Program —$24 Million
Increase Paid Absences — $7 Million
Child Care Reserve — $10 Million
The Child Care COVID-19 Grant Program supports the reopening of child care providers across the state, focusing on program stability and widespread access to high-quality child care. The funds from this grant program may cover salaries and benefits for employees, Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) licensing fees, liability insurance, tuition and registration relief for families, lease or mortgage payments, utilities, cleaning supplies, classroom materials and supplies, and additional needs required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ADHS guidelines.
The Arizona Enrichment Centers Program provides priority child care services and scholarships for first responders, health care workers, and other essential personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic. The $24 million investment will support the more than 546 providers across the state that offer services through the program.
The Increase Paid Absences program will increase the allowance of keeping a student home from child care by three days, totaling five absences a month per child. The program recognizes the need for parents to keep their child home if they show signs of illness, and will help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
The Child Care Reserve Plan reserves $10 million to address any child care subsidy waitlist that might develop in the fall due to the current economic climate and address other unforeseen child care providers’ needs that might arise.
Expanding Support For Arizona Small Businesses
The Governor’s Office is partnering with Local First Arizona Foundation to launch the Arizona Small Business Rent and Mortgage Relief Grant program. The partnership, which includes $10 million from the Crisis Contingency and Safety Net Fund, leverages the grant making experience and small business expertise at Local First Arizona to quickly and prudently help small business owners meet their rent and mortgage obligations.
The grant program will provide grants for up to two months of rent or mortgage payments due by small businesses including gyms, fitness centers, bars, and water parks with fewer than 50 employees. The maximum award will be $25,000. Grants will be prioritized for businesses that are most in need of the funding to meet their rent or mortgage obligations and do not have access to other financial support.
The Arizona Small Business Rent and Mortgage Relief Grant program may be expanded by any city or county government with funds available to dedicate to the program. Interested governments may dedicate funds to the program that would then be granted to eligible small businesses within their jurisdictions. Additional details are available at www.localfirstaz.com/azsmallbizrent