The Thomasville City Council recently approved the allocation of Federal Coronavirus Aid & Relief Economic Security Act (CARES) funding to the Community Outreach Training Center (COTC) to address COVID-19 related relief services for citizens of Thomasville. The City of Thomasville will provide the center with $244,900 in funding to assist the residents of Thomasville with programs that will help with the prevention of homelessness and other detrimental situations as a result of the pandemic.
“Our community, like many others, has felt the economic impact of the pandemic. We have many citizens in need of financial assistance, and it was important to the Thomasville City Council to provide assistance opportunities to those most impacted,” said Mayor Greg Hobbs. “CARES funding received by the City from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget has allowed us to allocate funding to an organization that will administer the distribution of funds to Thomasville residents who have experienced a direct impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
City Manager Alan Carson says the purpose of this program is to provide administration of CARES funding for utility, rental, and mortgage assistance to Thomasville residents in distress. “This program will provide assistance aimed at the prevention of homelessness to those impacted by COVID-19,” he said. “In addition to utility, rental, and mortgage assistance, they will have the ability to distribute personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer to low and moderate-income families that qualify. COTC will also provide families with referrals to other agencies that may provide additional assistance for a variety of detrimental situations.”
A Request for Proposal (RFP) developed by the City was conducted in order to identify an organization that could administer the program, which resulted in the receipt of bid proposals from three organizations. “The bids received were evaluated by a committee comprised of two citizens with grant familiarity and a staff member from our Financial Services division,” said Carson. “The committee believed that COTC was the most suited to administer the program that will provide much-needed assistance to our residents.”
According to Carson, the funding to COTC will be made in four disbursements. “The $244,900 approved by Council will be disbursed to COTC in 25% quarterly increments,” he said. “COTC’s first disbursement was allocated at the execution of the contract and the final disbursement will be released after approval of the agency’s Final Program Close-out Report. Our staff will receive quarterly reports that will allow us to monitor COTC’s implementation schedule and verify the usage of appropriated funds.”
Established in 2011, COTC was created to provide professional development and mentorship to low-income families in Southwest Georgia. The agency transitioned to provide employment training and housing services which include: housing counseling, credit building, money management, budgeting, rental counseling, mortgage loan packaging, and utility assistance to those in need. Carson said, “COTC has an established track record of community assistance, providing housing and homeless services to more than 2,000 clients in 2019. Their history of providing diversified services to the community played a major role in them being selected for the administration of the City’s CARES funding.”
COTC’s proposal provides an implementation schedule that included the hiring and training of staff, public outreach, and workshops for the application process. For eligibility, residents of Thomasville requesting assistance must provide proof of the circumstances related to the impact of COVID-19. The screening process of COTC will require applicants to submit documents such as proof of utility disconnection, eviction letter or notice, lease or rental agreement, utility bill, termination notice from employer, or unemployment documentation.
“Our citizens have been widely impacted by the pandemic, and the CARES Act provided us the opportunity to allocate funds to a community partner that can provide the necessary assistance,” said Carson. “We are excited about the positive impact that the COTC can provide to our residents.”
For more information about the City of Thomasville’s CARES funding, visit COCTcares.org or call 229-233-8075 or 229-236-8076. Pre-screening applications and CARES funding applications are being accepted now and they can be filled out online or by making an appointment to receive help in person with COTC staff at their office located at 500 West Washington Street. Appointments are available Monday – Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (walk-ins are not accepted) and residents are asked to wear a mask when visiting the office. For more information on the Community Outreach Training Center or CARES funding, please contact Sharon Edwards at 229-233-8075.