MONTGOMERY – Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded a total of $1 million to help three southwest Alabama counties as they work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Washington County was awarded $300,000, Wilcox County was awarded $200,000 and Escambia County was awarded $550,000. The awards are part of more than $40 million allocated to Alabama under a special Community Development Block Grant program funded from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Gov. Ivey will announce additional grants to other Alabama cities and counties as applications are processed. The grant funds are required to be expended on projects relating to the recovery from or preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus or any future infectious diseases.
“By updating medical facilities and infrastructure, Alabama communities can better assist in COVID-19 recovery and be better prepared for any possible infectious disease outbreaks in the future,” Gov. Ivey said. “Alabama is on the road to recovery, and these grants will assist in that process and help these communities be prepared for any future pandemics.”
Washington County will use funds to increase the capacity of the Washington County Hospital, creating a designated space for those sick with COVID-19, as well as a separate room for healthcare workers who may need additional social distancing after being exposed to the virus.
Wilcox County plans to use funds to renovate a former National Guard Armory to act as the new county Emergency Management Agency/E-911 headquarters.
Escambia County will install new sewer pipes in Brewton and some households just outside of the incorporated area of the city on county land. This will serve an estimated 36 low-to-moderate income households. According to county officials, research about COVID-19 transmittal through sewage means upgrades will alleviate what could be a potential health hazard.
The funds were made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and can be used to support COVID-19 testing and vaccinations; rental, mortgage and utility assistance; assistance to food banks and pantries; job creation and business assistance and related projects to provide pandemic relief.
Alabama counties and entitlement communities receiving the CDBG-COVID funds were required to make an application with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.
“Making these changes and updates will help these three southwest Alabama counties move closer to full recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “ADECA joins Gov. Ivey in assisting them in their efforts to help their communities both now and in the future.”
ADECA administers an array of programs supporting law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, water resource management and recreation development.