City of Fresno uses millions in funds to help essential workers during pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The City of Fresno has put millions more toward fighting the coronavirus.

The focus now is on helping those essential workers who are uninsured get testing and treatment.

The funding also helps with rent payments, food, and necessities for people like farmworkers who cannot afford to stay home.

The Fresno City Council is partnering with Fresno County by using some of the federal CARES act funding to help them.

"It's been a huge red flag.... Our essential workers are still working through this pandemic and even during the fires we are seeing throughout the community," said Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias.

On Thursday, the city council pitched in $2.7 million to pay for more testing, contact tracing, and quarantine support.

The money will be given to Building Healthy Communities and the Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission who will be working with various community groups.

Some councilmembers were against Building Healthy Communities getting the contract, but ultimately it passed.

"This organization, whether we agree with the politics or not, has a lot of buy-in with the community and they are willing to provide a service that perhaps others cannot," said councilmember Mike Karbassi.

In addition, $1 million is going to the Bautista Medical Group to serve a specific group of workers.

The funding will not only pay for the screening and testing of uninsured essential workers but also fund medication to help alleviate COVID-19 symptoms.

The city also decided to continue the housing relief program until December. Already 9,000 residents and families have enquired about getting help due to a loss of income that's pandemic related.

$4.5 million has been set aside to provide qualified individuals with $1,500 in relief and families with $3,000.
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