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In response to the nationwide coronavirus crisis that has swept Birmingham and the nation, Bham Now is working to help all of us get through this together.
Our goal: provide timely information to the community.
We will be continually adding stories, so please look for updates on our website and social media channels about this unprecedented event.
Birmingham Passes Stimulus Package
On March 17, the Birmingham City Council passed Mayor Randall L. Woodfin’s $15 million COVID-19 Response Plan to fund police, fire, public works and a stimulus program for small businesses affected by the pandemic.
“This is an important message to the people of Birmingham,” said Woodfin. “Through this funding, we are committed to providing a full response to COVID-19 with our police, fire and public works. Also, we have taken the first important step to launch an economic stimulus plan for our small businesses struggling during this pandemic.”
The city will utilize $15,165,333 from the General Fund Cash and Investment. This will not affect current funding of city departments and agencies.
According to the Mayor’s office, the funding will include:
- $547,133 for personal protective equipment and supplies for first responders
- $2,638,200 for overtime (Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service, Birmingham Police Department, Department of Public Works)
- $880,000 for equipment and supplies to support increased teleworking to adhere to public health recommendations of social distancing (Information Management Systems Department)
- $1 million for a small business emergency loan fund
- $9.2 million to address the estimated budget shortfall for the next 60 days
The small business emergency loan fund, or BhamStrong Fund, is designed to:
- provide zero-interest, 180-day loans to small businesses (less than 50 employees) of no more than $25,000 (with an average loan size of $10,000)
- prevent staff reductions and offset losses related to COVID-19. If this can be broken into bullets, it might be easier to register.
Bham Now Creating Free Guides to Support Local Business
Bham Now is stepping up during the COVID-19 crisis offering FREE local business listings that include information on:
- How to order online (or via phone)
- Virtual classes
- Curbside pickup
- Special offers
Bham Strong to build COVID-19 Community Resource Directory
Bham Strong has sent out a call for information that will help it build its Community Resource Directory.
If you have an organization that currently has a program that supports senior citizens, homeless citizens, small businesses, people worried about food, or hourly workers affected by COVID-19, please send information about your program to email@example.com.
Bham Strong is working to meet people’s needs
Along with the directory – If you are worried about your income because of the affects of COVID-19, please go to bhamstrong.com/income and fill out a survey so they can get you the resources you need.
If COVID-19 is affecting your access to food, please go to bhamstrong.com/food and fill out a survey so that we can connect you with support programs.
If COVID-19 is affecting your small business, please go to bhamstrong.com/smallbusinessresources so that we can connect you with the right resources.
Our community and economy needs everyone’s support. Visit bhamstrong.com to donate to the #BhamStrong Fund.
Birmingham Business Alliance Unveils Resources Site
The Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) has created a COVID-19 Resources for Businesses webpage.
It includes information about Bham Strong, funds established by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and United Way, as well as the BBA’s Bham BizHub. BBA’s staff is also listed and available to help businesses during the crisis.
Closures: Zoo and United Way Tax Prep, Parts of Railroad Park
Since Tuesday, recent closures include:
The Birmingham Zoo will officially close to the public on Thursday, March 19. Rest assured, zoo staff will continue to take care of all animals. There will also be a deep cleaning of the entire zoo in anticipation of re-opening at a later date.
United Way’s Tax Prep program has stopped taking one-on-one meetings. The highly successful program, which serves 3575 people annually, encourages people to visit MyFreeTaxes.com as an alternative.
Railroad Park—Birmingham’s “backyard”—is still open to crowds of less than 25. All March programs have been canceled. Playground and fitness equipment has been cordoned off from the public.
YMCA of Birmingham to Support First Responders in Need of Childcare
According to a letter to his membership, YMCA President Dan Pile announced that the Y is working to temporarily convert their facilities to provide emergency childcare to first responders and healthcare workers at four local hospitals.
“Over 180 YMCA childcare workers have signed on to help care for children of our healthcare communities,” added Pile.
Ways to Volunteer to United Way, JCC and the Red Cross
Want to give back? Here are three ways you can volunteer:
United Way of Central Alabama Needs Meals on Wheels volunteers for:
Add your program to the 2-1-1 Database by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jewish Community Center – The LJCC, as a Red Cross certified disaster relief/preparedness facility, is ready to help our broader Birmingham community. They are working with the City of Birmingham to provide care for children of first responders, healthcare professionals, and essential workers. They will also become a food pickup location for families who rely on schools to provide meals.
To that end, the LJCC are looking for volunteers who are not part of the vulnerable population that COVID-19 threatens the most. We are also looking for donations of packaged food (Click here to see the list of food needed). They will have a box outside of the LJCC entrance where you can drop off your donations. If you would like to help through a financial donation, please click here. If you are interested in volunteering, please click here.
American Red Cross – Blood donations are desperately needed. In Alabama alone, 53 blood drives have been canceled, meaning 2000 less donations. Nationwide, 2700 blood drives have been canceled reducing the number of blood donations by 86,000.
Please make an appointment today. It is safe, and they will take every precaution to prevent exposure to the virus. – Visit their website – HERE.
Also – if you can’t give blood, the Red Cross needs volunteers throughout their organization to confront the coronavirus and meet other needs. Sign up to volunteer.
Previous COVID-19 Stories
Bham Now is following the COVID-19 crisis daily. Please visit our past stories and guides for all you need to know.