Fort Bend County is applying for several grants to help its social services and health and human services departments assist residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
Fort Bend County commissioners unanimously approved three grant applications at a regular April 8 meeting. Once the grants are approved, the court will have to accept the funds at another meeting.
One grant application the court approved was to the Texas Veterans Commission for $50,000 in emergency funding, per meeting documents.
If approved, this would add $50,000 to the county’s existing $200,000 grant to help Fort Bend County veterans pay rent, gas, utilities and day care, said Anna Gonzales, county director of social services.
According to the grant application, a recipient of the assistance could receive as much as $2,200, though the county has proposed increasing the cap to $2,500.
Gonzales said the original $200,000 allows the county to help 193 veterans; the county has already assisted 124. The additional $50,000 will allow social services to provide financial assistance to a total of 235 veterans.
“Since COVID-19 started, we have emailed 5,000 veterans to let them know that we have services available to them,” Gonzales said. “Ten have reached back."
The social services department is meant to be a resource for those falling on hard times to find help from the county and local nonprofits, she said, and added that the department has seen an increase of clients since the coronavirus pandemic.
“A lot of people needing assistance now have never needed it before,” Gonzales said.
Commissioners also approved a request by the county social services department to ratify an application to H-E-B for acceptance of a $100 in multiple gift card donations, per court documents.
The gift cards arrived April 2, Gonzales said. Social services spent the funds to purchase emergency toiletries and household supplies for about 15 people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who benefited included individuals who are 60 and older identified by the department and partnership organizations as needing community support as well as individuals in households under quarantine after a member tested positive for the coronavirus.
Another $436,091 grant application approved by Commissioners Court was to the Texas Health and Human Services, according to county documents. If approved, the funds would pay for additional nurses and professional staff to assist existing staff to test patients and collect data about the coronavirus cases.
According to the grant application, the funds would be used directly for a contract with Angel Staffing, Staffing Solutions or another vendor to be determined.
At the April 8 meeting, the court voted to amend an agreement with Angel Staffing Inc. to increase its scope of services by $150,000 in response to the public health emergency for a total contract amount not to exceed $250,000.
Community Impact Newspaper reached out for comment from the Fort Bend County Health and Human Services department about the grant application, but it did not immediately respond.