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Ivey provides update on Census 2020 preparations

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey provided an update on the preparation efforts for the 2020 Census.

The 2020 Census is just nine months away so the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) is seeking public input for a grant program to assist with local outreach efforts.

“The 2020 Census will play a major role in shaping our state’s future, so it is critical that we do everything we can to educate all of our residents about the importance of participation and motivate them to complete and submit their census forms in March and April 2020,” Governor Ivey said. “Efforts by local and grassroots organizations will be critical to this goal, and I am pleased that the Legislature allocated funds to assist these efforts. I invite your input as we take the first step toward success of this grant program.”

Alabama’s goal for the 2020 Census is to obtain high participation in every Alabama community, municipality and county. ADECA issued the Request for Information related to $1 million in funding allocated to the agency in the 2020 Education Trust Fund budget for the 2020 Census Grant Program.

The public comments about the grant program will be accepted in writing until 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 12, 2019.

Governor Ivey designated ADECA as the lead state agency for 2020 Census outreach in Alabama.

For the past several months, ADECA has led the Alabama Counts! 2020 Census Initiative. The one-time grant funding will be expended by ADECA, in coordination with the State Department of Education. The grants are to assist local community outreach efforts designed to encourage Alabama residents to complete the 2020 Census count.

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All grants will be awarded by December 31 in preparation for the census count in March and April 2020.

After the public comment period, ADECA will work to design the full process and establish deadlines for this grant program which will provide funding assistance to help with local, grassroots outreach efforts, specifically those in hard-to-count areas and groups. The agency will host a grant application workshop once all the procedures are in place and applications are ready to be accepted.

ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell is the chairman of the Alabama Counts 2020 Census Committee.

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“Local and community leaders are trusted voices that will ultimately lead to a successful 2020 Census for Alabama, and we need to hear your voices as we design this grant program,” said Director Boswell. “ADECA and Alabama Counts will work hard to ensure that this funding is put to the best possible use to assist local efforts as they complement our statewide efforts with Alabama Counts.”

The state is emphasizing that the stakes are high for Alabama in 2020. Every Alabamian directly benefits from the federal programs and the funding allocations are determined in part by census data. Completing a census form will help ensure that Alabama receives its fair share of funding. The federal government also will use 2020 Census data to allocate the nation’s congressional seats. Many projections currently have Alabama at-risk of losing one of its seven congressional seats.

Governor Ivey established the Alabama Counts 2020 Census Committee and its subcommittees in August 2018 as a nonpartisan advisory group made up of leaders in education, rural communities, faith-based organizations, business and industry, community-based groups, health care agencies and governments with the intention of reaching all sectors of Alabama to encourage census participation.

An undercount of the Alabama population will likely lead to the state losing a member of Congress, which could happen anyway.

More information about Alabama Counts and the 2020 Census is available at: www.census.alabama.gov.

To read the Request for Information, click here.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Alabama DHR announces grants providing temporary assistance for stabilizing child care

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The Alabama Department of Human Resources announced on Friday a new grant program to provide assistance to licensed child care providers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Temporary Assistance for Stabilizing Child Care, or TASCC, grant program’s purpose is to stabilize the number of child care providers that are open and providing services, as well as encourage providers to reopen.

DHR is now accepting applications for TASCC grants. The deadline to apply is August 7, 2020. The total grant amounts will be based on each provider’s daytime licensed capacity with a base rate of $300 per child.

To be eligible for a grant, licensed providers must be open or plan to reopen no later than August 17, 2020, and continue to remain open for a period of one year from the date of receiving the grant award. As of this week, 1,306 of Alabama’s 2,448 child care facilities were open in the state.

“We are proud to offer this program as a support and an incentive to an important sector of our economy. These grants will give the support many providers need to reopen and assist those already open,” said Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “This program is going to be vital for our child care numbers to reach the level required to provide adequate services as parents return to work. We have already made significant strides in reopening facilities over the past several months; in April only 14 percent were open while now 53 percent are open.”

These grants will provide support for paying employees, purchasing classroom materials, providing meals, purchasing cleaning supplies, providing tuition relief for families, as well as other facility expenses.

DHR recommends child care providers read all guidance prior to submitting a TASCC application. Child care providers need to complete the application to determine the estimated grant amount. Grant applications will be processed as they are received and grants awarded once approved.

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An online fillable application is available for the TASCC grant at www.dhr.alabama.gov/child-care/. The application must include an Alabama STAARS Vendor Code in order to be processed. For questions regarding the application, please email DHR at [email protected].

 

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Gov. Ivey awards grant for new system to aid child abuse victims

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Gov. Kay Ivey delivers the 2019 state of the state address. (CHIP BROWNLEE/APR)

Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded a $375,000 grant to establish a statewide network that will ensure that victims of child abuse receive immediate and professional medical care and other assistance.

The grant will enable the Children’s of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Pediatrics to collaborate with the Alabama Network of Children Advocacy Centers in creating the Child Abuse Medical System.

 “Child abuse is a horrendous crime that robs children of their youth and can negatively affect their future if victims do not receive the proper professional assistance,” Ivey said. “I am thankful for this network that will ensure children get the professional attention they need and deserve.”

The medical system will be a coordinated statewide resource that includes pediatric physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and other medical professionals along with specialized sexual assault nurse examiners.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant.

“ADECA is pleased to join with Gov. Ivey and those dedicated people who are part of the Child Abuse Medical System to support these children at a time they need it most,” said ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell.

Ivey notified Tom Shufflebarger, CEO of Children’s of Alabama, that the grant had been approved.

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ADECA manages a range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, recreation, energy conservation and water resource management.

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Governor announces “Revive Alabama” $100 million small business grant program

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Gov. Kay Ivey speaks at a press conference. (via Governor's Office)

Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday announced the Revive Alabama grant program to support small businesses in Alabama that have been impacted by COVID-19. Revive Alabama will reimburse small businesses up to a combined $100 million for expenses they have incurred due to operational interruptions caused by the pandemic and related business closures.

“In many ways, our small businesses were hit the hardest from the coronavirus pandemic,” Governor Ivey said. “Ensuring these owners have every opportunity to recoup expenses incurred due the disruption of business is essential to getting our economy roaring once again.”

Alabama received approximately $1.9 billion of CARES Act funding to respond to and mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. Alabama Act 2020-199 designated up to $300 million of the Coronavirus Relief Fund for individuals, businesses, non-profit and faith-based organizations directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Qualifying businesses may receive up to $15,000 to reimburse these expenses if they have not received federal assistance for the corresponding item they are claiming with the state of Alabama. There is no set cap on the number of businesses that may be awarded a Revive Alabama Small Business Grant. Grants will be awarded to qualifying applicants on a first-come-first-served basis until the funds are exhausted.

Business owners may access the grant application through the Alabama Department of Revenue’s (ALDOR)Revive Alabama website. The application period for the Revive Alabama Small Business Grant Program will open at noon on July 16, 2020 and run through midnight on July 25, 2020.

All applicants must first establish a secure My Alabama Taxes (MAT) account to protect their personal and business information on submitted applications. Small businesses are encouraged to start this process as soon as possible in advance of the application period opening. Each applying business must have its own MAT account to apply for a Revive Alabama Small Business Grant. Tax preparers may not apply for grants on behalf of their clients but may be able to assist potential applicants with information needed to establish their own MAT accounts.

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Governor awards $48 million to Department of Education, up to $50 million for higher education

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Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday awarded $48 million of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEERF) to the Alabama State Department of Education in response to challenges related to COVID-19. This allocation will enable schools to enact policies established in the Alabama State Department of Education’s Roadmap to Reopening Schools.

As schools across Alabama are navigating increased challenges related to COVID-19, this initial investment will assist by providing budget stability, enable distance learning for any student that seeks it, and get additional resources to students most in need.

The allocation will be used as follows:

  • $10 million to equip all school buses with WiFi capabilities to increase internet connectivity and help bridge the digital divide
  • $4 million to improve remote learning opportunities by providing digital textbook and library resources for all students
  • $26 million to provide additional academic support to bridge learning and achievement gaps
  • $9 million to support intensive before and after school tutoring resources for learning and remediation in schools

Additionally, Alabama institutions of higher education will be able to submit requests for a combined reimbursement of up to $50 million of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Alabama received approximately $1.9 billion of CARES Act funding to respond to and mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. Alabama Act 2020-199 designated up to $118.3 million of the Coronavirus Relief Fund for any lawful purpose as provided by the United States Congress, the United States Treasury Department, or any other federal entity of competent jurisdiction.

“I am pleased to invest in our state’s greatest asset – our students,” Governor Ivey said. “As we respond and adapt to COVID-19, we must ensure that our local school districts and institutions of higher education receive necessary support and provide our students full access to their educational opportunities. Closing school during the pandemic disproportionately impacts students who are already struggling, and it is our obligation to provide as much stability and access possible in these uncertain times.”

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