LOGAN – Lucas Martin, Director of Human Services for the Bear River Association of Governments, spends his days trying to help people in dire situations. If people need help paying rent, finding a place to live or even paying for heating Martin is the guy with the answers.
The BRAG offices located at 170 North Main in Logan is closed due the pandemic, but people can still get the help they need by going to their Facebook page and clicking on links to apply for help. If Facebook isn’t an option, you can call the BRAG office at (435) 752-7242 to have them mail out an application, schedule a time to pick one up, or arrange for a phone appointment.
The organization has programs to help people through these troubling COVID-19 pandemic times. They have several services people can use to ease their financial burdens and can also make referrals to additional services.
Martin said for those families with school-aged children who signed up for free and reduced lunch there is a program that will reimburse families for free and school lunches not used from March to May 2020.
“Families that qualify for Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits can receive $308 per child in benefits for the whole duration of school closures,” he said. “The deadline for application is Aug. 31. Using these funds will not jeopardize the family’s immigration status.”
Just like SNAP benefits, you spend P-EBT benefits at the Cache Valley Gardner’s Market or other qualified farmers markets.
You can apply for the (P-EBT) benefits by going to https://www.pebtutah.org/ , or calling the P-EBT Phone Hotline at 1-866-435-7414.
“We can help families and individuals struggling to pay rent for issues related to the pandemic,” he said. “If someone is at risk of being evicted, they have been quarantined or have missed work they don’t have to wait until it gets out of control to ask for help.”
It is a complicated issue, but BRAG wants to let folks know they can help with rent, but they can’t do house payments. There are some organizations out there that can help with house payments, Martin said.
The rental assist program is for people who have been impacted by COVID-19 in a many ways.
“If their hours at work were reduced due to COVID, they were furloughed, they had to miss time to quarantine, they had to stay home from work because their day care provider had to quarantine, etc. they should apply for the COVID rental assistance,” he said. “We have seen a jump in people applying for help compared to prior years.”
He said BRAG is currently serving 70 more families than they did a year ago at this year that needed help with rent payments.
“The state has also provided additional funding this year for rental assistance,” Martin said. “And the Home Energy Assistant Target (HEAT) program is now a year-round option that can help struggling families.”
No one agency can solve the issues facing people today. BRAG participates in a coalition of people from many local agencies, churches and nonprofits doing so many things that are working to help families during these trouble times. The Bear River COVID-19 Relief Coalition offers many different additional services. To learn more about how the coalition can help, visit their website at https://www.brvoad.org/ .
Bear River Association of Governments (BRAG) was formed in 1971 by Box Elder, Cache, and Rich counties as a voluntary organization of local governments to facilitate intergovernmental cooperation.
The organization was put together to facilitate orderly and harmonious coordination of federal, state, and local programs for the solution of mutual problems of the region.
Communities and organizations who wish to donate to the COVID-19 relief efforts in Box Elder, Cache and Rich counties can do so at http://bearriverfoundation.org/ or by calling 435-713-1448.