Ellen F. Robertson
Passion - Experience - Leadership
Build a better city for a better tomorrow
6th District Buzz
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Resources for COVID-19
Here are additional resources for those affected by the COVID-19:
Local resources can be found at richmondgov.com, including public health information, support for small businesses, and updates on services and closures.
Visit publichealth.va.gov of updates, information, and actions taken by Commonwealth of Virginia.
Food assistance is available for those who qualify, and Virginians can also find information on meal services for children by texting “food” or “comida” to 877-877.
Information and updates for students and parents from RPS can be found at rvaschools.net, including the availability of meals for children.
Unemployment information is on the Virginia Employment Commission website at vec.virginia.gov.
Advice for managing stress, anxiety, and mental health during the outbreak is available from the CDC at cdc.gov.
Small Business Administration loan information for businesses affected by the outbreak. Small businesses in Richmond are all eligible for disaster loans. More information at sba.gov.
Loan and debt relief resources for students is available through the Department of Education at ed.gov.
Visit the State Department at state.gov for travel guidance, including a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” Global Health Advisory.
The Mayor, not long ago, introduced the draft ARP spending plan. While there are many critical components in the plan, I wanted to focus on one that I spent a significant amount of time on (childcare) - with the community as the driving force of my recommendation.
Childcare shortages and concerns are complicating a return to the workplace for many parents as the coronavirus continues to spread and options remain unclear for schools, camps and day cares. There are no easy solutions on the horizon for these parents or the businesses that employ them.
Many are still learning as they go, still finding their way through and around the pandemic. Employees and employers will be making some hard decisions in the very near future, as it relates to what the best way forward.
There is an undeniable need for caregiving across the spectrum. For employees with younger children, especially under 5, it's a very practical issue. For some, online learning is not working for their children. So the question becomes, when are working parents supposed to work? The COVID-19 crisis has spurred a fundamental change in the way childcare needs to be delivered. We have to deal with this in a structured way. That's why I've recommended that we put 2 million dollars toward childcare and helping to assist families to recovery.
We simply don't have the quality childcare service that we need in Richmond. We also need to allocate portions of the funds to be spent to help disenfranchised families build wealth and recover from the pandemic, as well. In order to do that, childcare is necessary. There are a number of ways to do this. I'm suggesting that one route we take is to partner with organizations that provide childcare services already and help to expand those services.
What's most important is we have to meet people right where they are now and understand their financial situations. We must do all that we can to assist people with the harsh realities that have been dealt to us all from the pandemic. Too many people are experiencing mental health problems and a lack of sleep and can't find a delicate balance because they are worrying about childcare. Many are making it work because they have no choice, however, others haven't been able to do that.
The City is Richmond is positioned to help with this ordeal, and we must be sensitive and address this challenge head on. Know that I will carry this initiative all the way. The onus cannot fall entirely on parents to figure out, but we must do this together, especially leaders in the community.
A landscape shift doesn't have to be a negative shift. And I believe this ARP allocation will help. All in all, sustaining childcare is vital to the development of our children and in helping re-start our economy. The community needs it, and the community deserves it.
Ellen F. Robertson