News Flash

Summit County Government

Posted on: April 15, 2020

Summit County Contributes $500,000 to FIRC

FIRC food pantry

Funding allocation will ensure nonprofit's ability to support local families through COVID-19 crisis

Contact: Scott Vargo, Summit County Manager, 970-453-3404

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County contributed $500,000 Tuesday to the Family and Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC), a local nonprofit that provides families with support related to food, health insurance enrollment, parenting, mental health navigation and other basic needs. The contribution will ensure that the organization is able to continue its general operations for the duration of the year, despite unprecedented financial pressures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have seen a precipitous rise in the need for food, rent assistance and other needs in our community, and we’ve been reallocating our resources to meet that demand," FIRC Executive Director Brianne Snow said. "This amazingly generous contribution from Summit County will allow us to keep the lights on, keep all our staff onboard and continue serving the individuals and families who need us now more than ever."

In addition, the local public health order has closed the FIRC’s two thrift stores, which generate funding for a number of FIRC programs. The lost revenues and increase in community need has resulted in a considerable financial gap for the organization.

An estimated two-thirds of Summit County’s workforce is currently unemployed, and FIRC is one of the main sources of support for community members facing major financial challenges. FIRC typically provides food assistance to 60-80 families per week; the organization is now serving 60-80 families per day, including more than 1,800 people per week at the FIRC food pantry.

"The FIRC staff is doing heroic work in their response to these challenges, and we need to be sure that they can continue doing it," County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said. "Summit County is proud to be able to provide this lifeline for FIRC’s operations and programs."

Summit County’s $500,000 contribution will fund FIRC operations, including overhead and other programs in accordance with state and federal law.

FIRC’s rental assistance program typically helps about 20 people per month. With funding help from the towns of Frisco, Breckenridge and Silverthorne, the organization expanded the program and received 386 applications in the first three days of offering the service. The organization has also seen an increase in demand for mental health navigation services, as members of the community have been grappling with the spread of illness, job losses and stresses associated with the State of Colorado Stay-At-Home Order.

Summit County’s $500,000 contribution to FIRC in response to the COVID-19 pandemic impacts is in addition to an initial contribution of $10,000 the County made before the Stay-At-Home Order was announced. Summit County also contributes $125,000 to FIRC annually in support of its programs and operations. In addition, the County contracts with FIRC to provide several community programs, including mental health navigation services ($175,000), supportive services for at-risk families ($120,000) and home visitation for new parents ($206,000).

Summit County has worked closely with FIRC during the last several weeks to conduct public outreach related to health-promoting practices, the requirements of state and local public health orders and access to community support services. Summit County is running a $19,000 public education campaign in English and Spanish.

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