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Laramie Interfaith will receive $86,000 from the city’s economic development fund to create a grant partnership, helping provide services to clients the amid COVID-19 pandemic.

The Laramie City Council passed the resolution unanimously, 9-0, during Tuesday night’s weekly meeting.

Laramie Interfaith is a nonprofit organization that gives food, rent and utility help to members of the community in need. There are 63 people (20 households) currently requesting help with rent and utilities, according to Interfaith spokesperson Abby Melbye, and more than half are undergoing financial hardships caused by the ongoing pandemic.

“This money will go towards helping the families that need rental and utilities assistance, as well as towards the homeless population of Laramie that we help put up in motel rooms. These requests will only go up with the colder weather soon approaching,” Melbye said in an email. “We are excited and incredibly grateful for this generous grant. While we know that it will go quickly, it will allow us to provide assistance to more people than we have been able to help in recent months.”

City of Laramie chief operating officer Malea Brown said that the city previously sent in an application to the state for CARES Act funding in July for Interfaith that was subsequently denied.

The money from this grant will be used as a last resort, Brown said, as Interfaith will attempt to find other sources of funding first.

“We thought that maybe transferring this $86,000 from the economic development fund could still help out citizens in having grants,” Brown said.

Mayor Joe Shumway, who also serves as a member on Interfaith’s board, told city council that applications from potential recipients for assistance go before a review board, which then determines how funding will be spent.

The grant funding will not go toward the salaries of Interfaith employees, Shumway said, and will go fully toward assisting clients in need.

“Interfaith has been overwhelmed during this period of time, as have many businesses and other individuals. There is a great need there,” Shumway said. “They don’t have the resources right now to pay for all of those that come in and have requests, but they try to meet as many as they can.”

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