BROOKLINE — The Brookline Select Board, Town Administrator Mel Kleckner and Public Health Director Dr. Swannie Jett announce that the Town of Brookline will partner with the Brookline Community Foundation’s Safety Net Fund to support individuals and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 emergency.
The Safety Net Fund has, for more than a decade, been an invaluable resource that provides temporary emergency assistance to the Brookline community in times of financial crisis and unexpected need, and support pathways to economic security.
To support the community during this challenging time, the Town of Brookline has committed to contributing $175,000 to the Safety Net Fund in order to kickstart its efforts to respond to the widespread impacts COVID-19 has had and will continue to have, on people who live, work and/or attend school in town — including students who attend Brookline schools through the METCO program, as well as undocumented individuals and families.
The Select Board unanimously supported the move at its meeting Tuesday, March 31.
Of the town’s contributions, $75,000 will be made possible by the Community Development Block Grant, a program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to support low and moderate-income individuals. This portion of the funding is contingent on fulfilling the requirements set forth in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
The remaining $100,000 will be allocated from the Housing Trust Fund, pending an anticipated favorable recommendation by the town’s Housing Advisory Board tomorrow evening.
The Safety Net Fund is administered by The Brookline Center for Community Mental Health and provides emergency funds for individuals and their families who live, work, or go to school in Brookline. Funds can be used to pay for a wide range of needs up to $1,000, including: rental assistance, food, appliances, utility payments, medications, and medical bills. Callers speak with the Brookline Center’s trained resource specialists who can also connect them with social services, mental health, or medical referrals, as well as provide information about programs at the local, state, or federal level.
“We are thankful to Brookline town government and the Select Board for their action in securing these critical funds,” said Ian Lang, Executive Director of The Brookline Center. “The Center is committed to working with individuals across Brookline to ensure that they can access this critically needed support during this crisis.”
The funding will be allocated to the Safety Net Fund’s existing resources, as the Brookline Community Foundation calls upon those in town who are able to do so to contribute and offer a helping hand to those disproportionately affected by the COVID crisis.
“The Safety Net Fund is an established, trusted community resource that we’re eager to support in whatever way we can during this time of unprecedented challenge,” Kleckner said. “A spirit of generosity is one of the core elements our community prides itself on, and I have no doubt that the town’s support will be a piece of a much more widespread effort among our residents to provide aid to those in need.”
BCF’s Safety Net Fund is inclusive of community members who live, work, and go to school in Brookline and therefore is open to business owners and employees whose livelihoods have undergone significant disruption as a result of the preventative restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the virus.
“In the past, we have been able to rely on our business community to step up and support causes like this one,” Select Board Member Raul Fernandez said. “Now, it’s incumbent upon us to do what we can to support and empower the Safety Net Fund so that it can have as much positive impact as possible and give back to the businesses and workers who play such a critical role in making Brookline such a unique and special place.”
Over the coming weeks and months, the need in Brookline will undoubtedly grow as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, and BCF is seeking donations in any amount to support the Safety Net Fund. These donations are critical to ensuring that BCF has the resources necessary to respond during this time of crisis.
Click here to give to the Safety Net Fund.
“I’m confident that BCF can be there for Brookline,” BCF Board President Mike Lindstrom said. “As a trusted partner and neighbor, we will continue to do what we do best – help all Brookline residents to thrive by harnessing the power of local philanthropy, creativity, and community spirit.”
Following guidance from the Brookline Department of Public Health to limit social interaction, BCF is operating remotely as long as necessary. However, the foundation will continue to work closely with its partners, including grantees and donors, just as before this crisis began.
BCF Interim CEO Frank Steinfield added, “Foundation staff are ready to do all they can to help marshal the resources needed to provide timely support across Brookline. We are closely monitoring the evolving situation and will share frequent updates about our response to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
To inquire about accessing the services provided by the Safety Net Fund, call the Brookline Center at 617-277-8107.
For more information about BCF’s COVID-19 response efforts, click here.
For more information about the Town of Brookline’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, visit BrooklineCOVID19.com.