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Harris County approves COVID-19 Childcare Assistance Program

Grants will go to the YMCA, the United Way Bright Beginnings and the Collaborative for Children.

HOUSTON — Harris County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to spend $4.7 million from the CARES Act to help families and child care centers hit hard by the pandemic.

The newly-created COVID-19 Childcare Assistance Program will help thousands of residents with child care, after-school programs, and virtual learning. It will also help child care centers offset financial losses and retain staff.

The money will cover expenses over a two- to three-month period.

Grants will go to the YMCA, the United Way Bright Beginnings and the Collaborative for Children.

“I’m thrilled, and it’s not so much about the YMCA getting funding,” said Stephen Ives, president and CEO of YMCA of Greater Houston. “It’s about the community getting funding and the parents getting resources, and the industry of school-aged childcare getting a little bit of a boost, a significant boost. I really commend the commissioners and county judge for taking action.”

Ives said the YMCA will be ready as early as next week to share more details on how families can apply.

“Our priority will be to get money into families’ hands or opportunities into families’ hands as quickly as possible,” he said.

All three organizations receiving grants through the program will handle applications, review eligibility, and decide which families get help.