Volume I; issue xv | October 2020
Submitted by the Executive Director's office.

Eastern Carolina Council of Governments (ECCOG) would love to share your news with the Region. Email your stories to eccadmin@eccog.org
COVID-19 Related
Governor Cooper Announces Small Business COVID Relief

Governor Roy Cooper announced the N.C. Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief (MURR) program to offer financial aid to North Carolina’s small businesses whose operations were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The $40 million relief fund can be used for fixed costs such as rent, mortgage, and utility bills.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy – powering our local communities and giving back in so many ways. They deserve our support, and this new initiative can help them weather this tough time,” said Governor Cooper.

Applicants should be able to apply for funds through the program beginning next week. The Department of Commerce will provide free educational webinars for businesses that think they may be eligible for the funds. For the webinar schedule and additional information on the program, visit www.nccommerce.com/murr

For more information on qualifications for program eligibility read the Press Release.
Upcoming Training
'The Show Must Go On' Webinar Series - October 7-November 4
COVID-19 has underscored the importance of crisis planning, operational efficiencies, cash flow modeling, and—above all—agile thinking. Organizations not only need to adapt to the current upheaval, but also anticipate whatever world awaits on the other side of it. 
Join Eastern Carolina COG, Mid-Carolina COG, and WithersRavenel for a series of virtual webinars. These events will aim to help you efficiently and effectively manage some of the toughest challenges and unfunded mandates that lie ahead of local government leaders in the months to come.  
Top 10 Primer: The Role of Local Elected Officials in Public Health & Social Services - October 9
 These two public agencies are critical players in public health and community crises; understanding these roles, especially in emergency situations, is critical for local elected
Fiduciary Responsibilites of Local Elected Officials - October 15
Understanding and responding to the annual audit, maintaining adequate oversight of fund balance, and the role of the Local Government in local government finance.
Economic Resiliency & Recover Post COVID-19 - October 16
Strategies for short-term stabilization and longer-term recover
Development Finance Toolbox - December 8-10
How do local governments use public-private partnerships for development? What finance tools are available to local governments to revitalize Main Street? North Carolina communities can select from a wide array of financing tools in their efforts to attract and grow businesses, improve real estate, and build community assets. In order to select the right approach for your development project, it helps to understand the options. Participants in this course will learn the basics of development finance tools used by North Carolina local governments to achieve their community and economic development goals. The registration fee includes a workshop on Day 1 designed to teach you basics of calculating an estimated return on investment and different ways of thinking about debt and equity, so you can heighten your intuition about worthwhile projects.
ARC webinars - Recovery & Economic Innovation during COVID-19 -
ARC and the State of Ohio have partnered to offer a series of webinars entitled “Economic Innovation + Ingenuity During COVID”. There are weekly webinars available for free on topics as diverse on dealing with substance abuse and COVID-19 to promoting broadband as critical infrastructure in light of COVID-19. Pre-registration is required. To learn more and participate, please go to: https://www.arc.gov/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=703
Grant Opportunities
You may be aware that on September 4, Governor Cooper signed House Bill 1105 into law, allocating more than $32 million for rural broadband expansion from the CARES Act of 2020. The NCDIT Broadband Infrastructure Office (BIO) will award grants from this funding through the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Grant program. 
The application window for this 2020 Special Supplementary round of GREAT opened on Monday, September 14, with applications due October 14. The GREAT program funds private sector broadband providers to deploy last-mile broadband in areas of the state unserved with broadband. 
For this Special Supplementary round, projects in:
  • Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties as well as rural census tracts located in Tier 3 areas are eligible (except for Wake and Mecklenburg counties – due to economic criteria included in the legislation).  
While private sector broadband providers are the only eligible applicants for GREAT, counties can participate in several ways. Counties can:
  • be formal partners within a GREAT grant application, if they have a formal agreement with an applicant relating to assets to be leveraged or matching funds.
  • advocate for broadband providers to apply for areas within their counties.
  • help identify unserved areas. 
Please see the GREAT Grant Mapping Tool for more information on eligible areas:https://nconemap.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=72f01e944bde425ca07523d06a59c232
In prior grant cycles, some counties and councils-of-government have also provided support for grant application development, fiscal support, and mapping. 
Please review the GREAT Guidelines for specific program details. Further information on the program can be found at www.ncbroadband.gov/greatgrant. Local governments or communities with questions can reach out to us at technicalassistance@nc.gov. Applicants with questions should email program-related questions to greatgrant@nc.gov.
Area Development article highlights geographic changes to site selection being brought on by COVID

COVID-19 is shifting site selection. That’s the resounding message of a new article in Area Development which highlights the impact that COVID-19 is having on location decisions and postulates that future selection decisions are likely to include more remote opportunities, and more opportunities for small to mid-sized geographies with strong workforce availability. The report affirms the importance of quality of place, broadband access and workforce development to ensuring communities are ready to capitalize on these future expansions and has implications for importance of regional coordination between workforce and economic development for the years to come. To access the report, please click here

Rural Health Information Hub released social determinants of health toolkit for rural communities
The Rural Health Information Hub recently released a Social Determinants of Health in Rural Communities Toolkit. This toolkit provides information on food access, rural transportation, telehealth, and health promotion. To access the toolkit, please click here.

National Freight Strategic Plan released
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) recently released its first National Freight Strategic Plan. This plan provides a national freight policy, programs initiatives and data that may be useful to transportation and economic development practitioners. To access the report, please click here.
Free Virtual Caregiver Summit - October 22, 2020
The Virtual Summit offers caregivers, family members, and professionals the chance to view educational sessions and participate in live Q&A with many of the speakers. Presentations include Caregiver Technology, Navigating Safely Through the Coronavirus Fear and Beyond, Driving Safety, Dance & Movement for Everyone, How to Pay for Long Term Care, and much more.

Contact hours available for professionals.

ECCAAA Family Caregiver Specialist is proud to be a guest speaker at the 2020 Caregivers Summit.

Greene County's Family Caregiver Support Program
Monthly virtual support group meetings - Online via ZOOM
For adult family members or other informal caregivers age 18 and older providing care to individuals 60 years of age and older; adult family members or other informal caregivers age 18 and older providing care to individuals of any age with Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders.

Contact: Greene County Senior Center at 252-747-5436 or email at sue.smith@greenecountync.gov or sharon.harrison@greenecountync.gov
Craven County's Family Caregiver Support Program - 1st Wednesday of the Month at 1:00 P.M.
Monthly virtual support group meetings - Online via ZOOM
Call In: (929) 205-6099; Meeting ID: 94789111688
All participants welcome.
For more information contact: Nancy Willett at 252-636-0831

Carteret County's Family Caregiver Support Program - Every Thursday
Weekly virtual support group meetings - Online via ZOOM
Call In: (929) 205-6099; Meeting ID: 91673594235
All participants welcome.
For more information contact: Pat Wesson at 252-241-2201 or January Brown at 252-638-3185 ext. 3011
Regional Happenings
October is Residents' Rights Month
Residents’ Rights Month is an annual event designated by the Consumer Voice and is celebrated in October to honor residents living in all long-term care facilities.

This year's theme is “Connection Matters”. The theme emphasizes connections – to family, friends, and the community – as essential components of good health and quality of life for residents. The months of restrictions on visitation in long-term care facilities and the inability of residents, families, and friends to be together during the coronavirus pandemic has emphasized the importance of connection, of relationships, and the impact they have on all of our well-being. 

The 2020 Census will end soon and North Carolina is running out of time to get everyone counted. We need everyone to respond to the 2020 Census – ESPECIALLY if a Census taker visited your door and you were not home.
Everyone can still self-respond at my2020census.gov or 844-330-2020.
Even a small undercount has a huge impact. Every person counted represents at least $18,000 in Census-driven funds for your communities over the next 10 years. This funding supports planning, infrastructure, economic development and community programs.
Responding online or by phone is the safest, easiest, and most accurate way to be counted.
At this time, the North Carolina Census Team is still encouraging all North Carolinians to respond to the Census before September 30 to ensure you are counted for your community. Be sure to visit census.nc.gov for updates to 2020 Census deadlines or operations.
If you have already responded, we thank you for making North Carolina count and ensuring your community gets the funding and representation it needs to shape the future of North Carolinians for the next 10 years.
Senior Nutrition

While most senior centers remain closed, staff have continued to provide meals to older adults through out the region. Instead of coming into the senior center to eat, seniors are picking the meals up or having them delivered. From July 1, 2020 through September 14, 2020, 81,031 meals have been delivered to 16,879
Caregiver Gifts and Supplemental Supply Event

During the month of September Eastern Carolina Council Area Agency on Aging held a contactless product pick up site for regional providers. Providers received cloth masks, incontinence supplies, evidence based training program books, and caregiver COVID support bags.

ECCAAA staff assembled Caregiver COVID bags with caregiver resources, activity sheets, touchless keys, caregiver stress kit, personal journals, and much more to show them that they are making a difference. ECCAAA distributed 185 caregiver bags to local providers to distribute to caregivers that they serve and support. ECCAAA Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) also provided each FCSP county provider with a Joy for All Companion Dog which work with caregivers to calm their loved one’s anxiety, improve communication, increase social engagement, decrease loneliness, and provide a better quality of life! Providers who received their Companion Pet will be working in their counties to educate caregivers and professionals on the benefits of a Joy for All Companion Pet and to provide them a new technological tool to assist in their day to day caregiving role.

  • 185 Caregiver Bages
  • 8 Animatronic Dogs
  • 155 Packs Incontinent Supplies
  • 16 Cases Incontinent Chucks
  • 30 Evidence Based Tarining Books
  • 5,000 Masks
Duke Energy Update from Millie Chalk, Kevin McLaughlin, & Ryan Minto
As Duke Energy gradually resumes standard billing and payment practices in North Carolina, our goal is to work with customers in need to ensure they have the opportunity to enroll in a payment plan that meets their specific situation, and that they have an opportunity to connect with local assistance agencies and funds. 

Beginning Oct. 1, customers behind on their bills will receive notices about their past-due balances. Disconnecting a customer’s service is the very last step in a lengthy process, and it’s a step we want to avoid altogether.

That’s why we are giving all customers who need more time to pay the opportunity to establish an extended payment plan to catch up on any balance that accumulated during the disconnection suspension. No customer on a payment plan who is current on that arrangement will be disconnected. It is important that they contact us as soon as possible to set up the payment arrangement. 

We want customers facing financial hardship to know that we are here to help. Our team is prepared to support customers through these challenging times and provide manageable solutions to keep their lights on. We can be reached at the following number:
  • Duke Energy Progress: 1.800.452.2777
We also encourage customers to consider using the online self-service options to avoid longer wait times.
We recognize the financial impacts from this pandemic, for some, are far from over. If you know someone who needs help managing their Duke Energy bill, please encourage that person to give us a call.  
Next Scheduled Meetings
Executive Committee Meeting
November 12, 2020
3rd Floor Conference Room at ECC