Creating Regional Solutions Since 1971
April 2021
News
As North Carolina’s trends continue to show improvement and vaccine distribution increases with 31.7% of North Carolinians over 18 having received at least one dose of vaccine, Governor Roy Cooper announced today that the state will continue to ease some COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order No. 204 will take effect March 26 at 5 pm is set to expire April 30 at 5 pm. The state’s general mask mandate remains in effect.
  
Executive Order No. 204 has three general categories of occupancy restrictions: up to 100 percent capacity, 75 percent capacity, and 50 percent capacity. All businesses must continue to maintain the 6 feet of distance requirement between patrons and implement other safety protocols as they expand their capacity. 

Executive Order No. 204 will also increase mass gathering limits. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 25 to 50 and the number of people who may gather outdoors will increase from 50 to 100. This Order also fully lifts the restriction on the late-night sale and service of alcoholic beverages on bars, restaurants, and other establishments.

Indoors and Outdoors up to 100% Capacity, Subject to Masks and 6 ft. Social Distancing 
·    Museums and Aquariums
·    Retail Businesses
·    Salons, personal care and grooming businesses, tattoo parlors

Indoors up to 75% and Outdoors up to 100% Capacity, Subject to Masks and 6 ft. Social Distancing 
·    Restaurants 
·    Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries
·    Recreation (e.g., bowling, skating, rock climbing)
·    Fitness and Physical Activity Facilities (e.g., gyms, yoga studios, fitness centers)
·    Pools
·    Amusement Parks

Indoors and Outdoors up to 50% Capacity, Subject to Masks and 6 ft. Social Distancing 
·    Bars
·    Movie Theaters*
·    Gaming Facilities*
·    Meeting, Reception, and Conference Spaces
·    Lounges (including tobacco) and Night Clubs
·    Auditoriums, Arenas, and other venues for live performances
·    Sports Arenas and Fields (includes professional, collegiate, and amateur

*Movie theaters and gaming facilities may operate at up to 75% capacity outdoors.

Activities and settings are lower risk when they involve interacting with fewer people, being outside, keeping masks on the entire time, keeping interactions with people short (under 15 minutes), staying physically distant, and avoiding singing, yelling, and cheering, according to public health officials.
 
State health officials are continuing to monitor the presence of COVID-19 and its more contagious variants in North Carolina, which is why it is important to continue to have a mask mandate and continue to practice safety precautions, including the Three Ws—wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash hands often.
Governor Cooper Proposes Budget to Invest in a Strong, Resilient and Ready North Carolina
 
Governor Roy Cooper released a recommended budget for FY 2021-2023 that will strengthen North Carolina to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and ignite recovery for all North Carolinians. The Governor’s plan recommends significant investments in schools and increased pay for teachers, action to strengthen health care access, and expanded economic opportunities and infrastructure investments.
Governor Cooper Signs Three Executive Orders to Help Struggling North Carolinians
and Boost Economy

Governor Roy Cooper signed three Executive Orders:

  • Executive Order 206 extends North Carolina’s statewide residential eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021 in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s recent extension of the nationwide moratorium through the same date.
  • Executive Order 207 expedites the processing of unemployment insurance claims and is also effective through June 30, 2021.
  • Executive Order 205 extends the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABC Commission)’s authorization to permit the delivery or carry-out of mixed beverages as an alternative to on-site consumption through April 30, 2021.
The American Rescue Plan
With the passage of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) on March 11th, local governments in our region will receive direct assistance from the federal government to help with economic recovery. These funds come with specific guidelines and restrictions. Get the best and most up-to-date information on the ARP and funding through these resources from our local and national partners.
 
3. National Association of Regional Councils: Analysis of the American Rescue Plan
 
Additional Insights

American Rescue Plan & Cities:
NCLM Has Your Answers

With the passage of the American Rescue Plan on March 11, direct assistance will be provided to cities and towns for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In North Carolina, those funds will total more than $1.3 billion. Billions more will be provided to counties and to the state.

These appropriations have intended purposes, restrictions and guidelines. It is a significant amount of money that will help our municipalities not just recover from the pandemic and its economic fallout, but thrive over the next decade.

The League is here to help you through this process.

Starting today and extending years into the future, the League will be your top source of guidance and assistance regarding American Rescue Plan funds.

Our hub for this topic is arp.nclm.org. On this site, you will find:
  • Expected funds for every city and town in North Carolina
  • All necessary legal, Treasury and LGC guidance
  • Summaries of provisions in the law
  • Calendar of events and education sessions on the ARP
  • Ongoing coverage of the topics most important to cities and towns
  • FAQS
  • And more

Over the last 12 months, our top goal has been to achieve direct financial support for our cities and towns. Thanks to you, the members of the League, our voices were heard and that goal was realized.

Now, it is time to rebuild. We’re excited to support you every step of the way.

NC COG Impact Report



COG Communicators from across the state collaborated to compile the data for this statewide impact report. Thanks to all that took part in this project! 

Funding/Grants
2021 Funder-Palooza
Community Development Funding Strategies & Tips

It can be difficult to keep track of open funding sources and ensure your community's priorities or development approaches align with grant program expectations. The 2nd annual Funder-Palooza aims to address that challenge!
 
Join TJCOG and state and federal agencies to discuss open and upcoming community development funding opportunities and learn tips for improving your local applications and leveraging multiple funding sources. Registration required to receive virtual meeting access.

Event will be held Friday, April 16 10:00 until 11:30.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Older Adults Home Modification Grant Program

Application deadline: May 4, 2021
Grant Opportunity: FR-6400-N-69
HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes has announced $30 million in grant funds and training resources to non-federal entities to establish the Older Adults Home Modification Grant Program. The grant program will assist experienced nonprofits, state and local governments, and public housing authorities in programs that make home modifications and limited repairs to meet the needs of low-income older adult homeowners.

The goal of the program is to help these homeowners "age in place" through low-cost, low barrier, high impact home modifications that:
  • Reduce the risk of falls.
  • Improve general safety.
  • Increase accessibility.
  • Improve older adults' functional abilities in their homes.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will make 20 awards of up to $160,000 each for projects that use the EPA Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Model to address environmental and/or public health issues for underserved communities. 
The Application Period for the 2021 AARP Community Challenge is now open!

The AARP Community Challenge provides small grants to fund quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Applications are accepted for projects to improve public spaces, housing, transportation, civic engagement, coronavirus recovery, diversity and inclusion, and more.

Important Dates

  • April 14, 2021: Applications are due by 8:00 pm (ET)
  • June 2021: All applicants will be notified of their status by email
  • July 14, 2021: MOU (memorandum of understanding) and vendor forms to be completed and returned by grantees
  • July 28, 2021 (tentative): Public announcement of selected grantees — work on the projects may begin
  • November 10, 2021: All funded projects must be completed 
  • December 8, 2021: Deadline for after-action reports 

Applicants and others with questions can email CommunityChallenge@AARP.org.
Funding Opportunity: Innovations in Nutrition Programs and Services - Community Research The purpose of this funding opportunity is to verify the effectiveness of innovative Senior Nutrition Program programs and practices created during COVID-19 that positively impact participants and support transitioning to and sustaining congregate meal programs and delivering impactful nutrition education.

Deadline: May 24, 2021.
Funding Opportunity: No Wrong Door Community Infrastructure Grants: Scaling Network Lead Entities. ACL has announced a new funding opportunity to support the development and enhancement of Network Lead Entities (NLEs) which are providing key access functions within a community such as coordination of information and referral, screening, care coordination, care transitions, eligibility and enrollment, and person-centered planning as part of a network of community-based organizations.

Deadline: June 1, 2021.
IEI Announces
2021 BAND-NC Broadband Grants

The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) announces a new round of funding from BAND-NC, a grant program designed to increase the number of people with internet in their homes, with the goal of making the state “first in digital inclusion.”
The effort, in partnership with the Broadband Infrastructure Office at the NC Department of Information Technology, and with principal support from the John M. Belk Endowment, is addressing the digital divide across NC by providing $5,000 mini-grants to communities who want to implement digital inclusion plans, begin a digital inclusion planning process, or who are looking to meet immediate digital needs. Applications due by April 30.
Planning and Development
NC Rural Center Launches Statewide Coalition to Support Small-Business Owners
Across the nation–in rural, urban, and suburban areas alike–small businesses and entrepreneurs create the unique identity of our communities and are drivers of local economic development. Nowhere is this more abundantly clear than in North Carolina, where businesses with between two and 50 employees make up 95 percent of all business entities and account for 44 percent of employment in the state.
 
As we emerge from a year that saw many businesses close their doors permanently following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health of countless other small firms remain in jeopardy. The pandemic has only amplified the serious existing issues that were already facing our state’s small-business owners and entrepreneurs long before the arrival of COVID in 2020.
At the 2021 Rural Summit, the NC Rural Center announced the launch of the North Carolina Small Business Coalition and its accompanying policy agenda, North Carolina’s New Small Business Plan. The policy agenda was crafted by the Rural Center's Small Business Policy Task Force, a bipartisan, statewide panel of small-business owners, nonprofit leaders, and entrepreneurship advocates.
 
The policies outlined in the plan provide a bipartisan roadmap to a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem in North Carolina. As we all know firsthand, everyone benefits when our communities have a vibrant small-business sector. That means that we all have a vested interest in ensuring that all of our state’s entrepreneurs have access to the tools and resources necessary to thrive. 
 
NC’s New Small Business Plan focuses its policy recommendations in four key areas: funding, support, opportunity, and knowledge. Read the full policy plan here. Each of the recommendations in these topic areas seek to address the needs and development of small businesses across the state, with special attention on underserved areas and businesses owned by people of color, veterans, and women. 
 
·   Funding: Equal Access to the Right Kind of Capital Everywhere
·   Support: The Ability for All to Take Risks
·   Opportunity: An Equitable, Level Playing Field and Less Red Tape 
·   Knowledge: The Know-How to Start a Business
 
Now is the time to advocate for and implement long-term and statewide policy solutions to stabilize the economic vitality of our state’s small-businesses. Will you join us? 
EDA accepting applications under
Build to Scale Program 

The US Economic Development Administration is accepting applications under the Build to Scale Program. The program consists of two parts – the Venture Challenge and the Capital Challenge. The Venture Challenge is designed to foster high-growth entrepreneurship, accelerate company growth, and scale proven entrepreneurship support models. The Capital Challenge is designed to increase access to capital in communities where risk capital is in short supply by providing operational support for early-stage investment funds, angel capital networks, or investor training programs.  
 
Applications must be received by April 29, 2021.

To learn more, please go to: https://www.eda.gov/oie/buildtoscale/  
WorkForce Development

Employers Receive Training Assistance

Congrats to Tri-County Industries of Edgecombe County for their 2021 award of Incumbent Worker funding under the Turning Point Workforce Board’s Training Enhancement Grant (TEG) Funding. This funding is used for skills upgrade and averting layoffs by providing necessary training to select staff or teams and making a more skilled and competitive workforce. Tri County Industries works to equip people with disabilities for employment opportunities while providing hands on services and products for several local businesses.

Congrats to Poppies of Nash County for their 2020-2021 award of Incumbent Worker funding under the Turning Point Workforce Board’s Training Enhancement Grant (TEG) funding. This company is part of a larger collaboration between the Employer, NCSU IES, Nash Community College and the Turning Point Workforce Board, working together to provide assistance in a customized training program for over 20 employees. Stay tuned for a final report of this great effort to work together in the Region providing our employees the skills needed to be both competitive and skilled in a growing industry. Poppies, Inc. has 19 locations, spanning 2 continents, providing baked delicacies and frozen desserts among other items.

For more information on this program and making application, contact Carisa Rudd, Business Services Manager 252-443-6175 or crudd@turningpointwdb.org This program is based on funding availability.
AGING
FEMA to Help Pay Funeral Costs for
COVID-19-Related Deaths

WASHINGTON -- In early April, FEMA will begin providing financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020 for deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19) to help ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic. The policy was finalized today, and FEMA is now moving rapidly to implement this funeral assistance program nationwide.

"At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters," said Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people. Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate."

To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance, the policy states:
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020 for a death attributed to COVID-19.
  • If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. FEMA will also consider documentation from other individuals not listed as the applicant and co-applicant who may have incurred funeral expenses as part of the registration for the deceased individual. 
  • An applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals.
  • The COVID-19-related death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
  • This assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.  
  • Funeral assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation.

In the coming weeks, a dedicated 800 number will be established to help individuals who apply. In the meantime, potential applicants are encouraged to start gathering the following documentation:

  • An official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States. The death certificate must indicate the death “may have been caused by” or “was likely the result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution.
  • Funeral expense documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that include the applicant’s name, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses and dates the funeral expenses were incurred.
  • Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. Funeral assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, federal/state/local/tribal/territorial government programs or agencies, or other sources.

For more information about this assistance, visit
NCDHHS has announced a new phone service helpline for family caregivers in North Carolina caring for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The Caregiver Navigator, a service of Project CARE (Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty), is a first port of call for caregivers with unmet needs. Caregivers, professionals and the general public can call the Caregiver Navigator toll-free at 844-728-0191. For more information, call 844-728-0191 or email DHHS.caregiver@dhhs.nc.gov.

The updated guidance was released on March 16, 2021. All licensed long-term care facilities regardless of size must allow visitation to the maximum extent possible following principles outlined in both updated CDC guidance and updated CMS Visitation guidance. These guidelines recognize that expanding visitation has substantial benefits to residents, and that vaccination of residents and staff can mitigate some of the associated risks of COVID-19. 
New Data Brief Highlights Critical Roles of AAAs Serving Rural Communities

A new Data Brief released by n4a, Meeting the Needs of Older Adults Living in Rural Communities: The Roles of Area Agencies on Aging, highlights key data on AAAs serving rural areas. AAA support services are especially critical in rural areas, which have larger proportions of older adults than non-urban areas, and where residents are more likely to live in poverty, have higher rates of chronic conditions and have less access to health care and transportation options.

Using data from the 2019 AAA National Survey, the new Data Brief explores differences and similarities between AAAs serving rural and non-rural areas in structure, budget, workforce and service provision, including home repair and modification, transportation and evidence-based programs.
 
Key findings from the report include that AAAs in rural areas:
  • Are more likely to administer their local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) than AAAs serving non-rural areas;
  • Are more likely to be part of a council of governments or regional planning and development agency than AAAs serving non-rural areas; and
  • Have lower median budgets and fewer median full-time staff than AAAs serving non-rural areas.

Check out the Data Brief to learn more.
‘I Can Breathe Again’: Older Adults Begin to Test Freedom After Covid Vaccinations

Mardell Reed says she wasn’t sure she’d get the vaccine originally — “I was concerned about the process going so fast and drug companies maybe producing something that wasn’t up to par.” But she changed her mind “once we all started hearing from actual scientists rather than politicians.” (HEIDI DE MARCO / KHN)

With a mix of relief and caution, older adults fully vaccinated against covid-19 are moving out into the world and resuming activities put on hold during the pandemic.

Many are making plans to see adult children and hug grandchildren they haven’t visited for months — or longer. Others are getting together with friends indoors, for the first time in a long time.

People are scheduling medical appointments that had been delayed and putting trips to destinations near and far on calendars. Simple things that felt unsafe pre-vaccination now feel possible: petting a neighbor’s dog, going for a walk in the park, stopping at a local hangout for a cup of coffee.

“I feel I can breathe again,” said Barry Dym, 78, of Lexington, Massachusetts, expressing a widely shared sense of freedom.
Workshops/Webinars
Connect and Build Your Workforce with ApprenticeshipNC
Registration is open for our free, virtual annual conference, which is scheduled for April 27 and 28. During it, you will learn how ApprenticeshipNC can help you build your workforce.
Whether you already have an apprenticeship program or are interested in creating one, our presenters will show you how apprenticeship makes it easier for your business or organization to bring on new workers and advance existing employees, build employee loyalty and foster new leadership.
Each day of the conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., leaving you time to take care of other business in the afternoon.
Sessions will focus on demystifying apprenticeship, expanding apprenticeship opportunities in your business, working in partnership with other employers and organizations to sustain your workforce, and more. We'll also hear from a respected North Carolina economist and a national leader in skills development.
Make plans now to attend our virtual annual conference. To register, click here.
Save the Date:
CityVision Virtual Summit

We can't wait to see you at CityVision Virtual Summit! Save the date for April 20-22.
This year, CityVision is offering our members dedicated networking time, educational workshops for economic change, and a full day dedicated to racial equity and its impact on N.C. cities and towns.
Event Highlights

  • Packed-full agenda with 20+ educational sessions to better your city or town.
  • Knowledgeable speakers, including NLC CEO Clarence Anthony and municipal experts from the City of Raleigh, State Auditor’s Office, FBI, higher education institutions, and more!
  • Live Q&A sessions with our speakers to answer all questions involving municipalities.
  • Fully interactive and easy-to-use web platform that allows you to customize your schedule.

All session recordings will be available to you post-event. 
Save the Date!
2021 State Energy Virtual Conference
April 19-22, 2021

The 2021 State Energy Conference of North Carolina will be held virtually this year due to the continuing unprecedented circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic. Our top goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy. You can expect the same great content - 30 sessions and six different tracks - with expert speakers and Q&A opportunities.
In addition, virtual attendees will have access to ALL on-demand and live content throughout the conference for up two weeks after the event. The conference will have a virtual exhibit hall with opportunities to meet with many different vendors and companies to learn more about their offerings.

Registration is currently open and will stay open throughout the conference.
Stay engaged in the discussion about the future of energy in North Carolina. Don't miss this 2021 virtual conference!
Save The Date
Outdoor Economy Conference 2021

So long as it’s safe to do so, we’ll be gathering live and IN PERSON on October 12-15 (with online attendance options as well) for the 2021 Outdoor Economy Conference. We’ve got some awesome new tracks in store for you, other big news and upgrades in the pipeline, and we're excited to announce our core topics and location in early spring. In the meantime, get those dates on the books! 
Local Elected Leaders Academy
Training Opportunities for Local Elected Officials

Legal Competency for Local Elected Officials
April 21,2021
10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. via Zoom
Register here
 
The full list of LELA classes are listed here. If you have questions regarding these programs, email Lisa Sheffield
Federal Coronavirus Resources

State, local, and federal agencies are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Check out coronavirus.gov for updates from the White House's COVID-19 Task Force. Go to cdc.gov for detailed information about COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit covid-sb.org, the official federal resource website for U.S. small businesses affected by COVID-19.

121 W. Nash St. Wilson, NC 27893
252-234-5952