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Bozeman allocated $2.1 million to local charities for pandemic-related relief, running the gamut from urgent needs like basic food and housing, to “laughter pop-up events.”

The funds come from the federal CARES Act, which allocated pandemic relief money to states, which then funneled some to local governments. Bozeman received $4.25 million after initially expecting to receive $5.4 million.

Half of the funds are going to local nonprofits. About 20% is going to grants and loans for local businesses, and another 20% is going to city COVID-19 related operations. The city is holding on to the remaining 10% as a rainy day fund.

City Manager Jeff Mihelich said during a city commission meeting Tuesday that the city wanted to address current and future pandemic impacts, recovery efforts and to prepare for potential future pandemics.

“There are a lot of people, a lot of businesses, a lot of stakeholders in our community suffering because of COVID,” City manager Jeff Mihelich said. “By using this money and investing it into our community we should make a lot of progress moving forward.”

Jeff Mihelich said the city was able to fund 48 out of the 53 nonprofits that submitted applications.

Of the $2.1 million for nonprofits, about $650,000 each went to behavioral health and housing needs, $360,000 went to medical care and basic needs and the rest went to other requests.

Money went to support for victims of domestic violence, which has increased nationwide during the pandemic, suicide prevention efforts and direct financial assistance for those in crisis, Mihelich said.

The Bozeman Health Foundation received $325,000 for new emergency rooms dedicated to behavioral health services, and the Human Resource Development Council received nearly $270,000 to hire new staff for street outreach to homeless people and support for hotel and camping vouchers and relocation costs.

Other nonprofits to receive funds include Reach, Inc., Family Promise of Gallatin Valley, Headwaters Community Housing Trust for the Bridger View project, Thrive, Bridger Ski Foundation, Bridgercare and the Gallatin Valley Land Trust.

Some nonprofits the city funded were slightly less critical — including a mobile fitness van for area veterans and a “caravan of laughter pop-up events” and flash performances from a group called Clowns Without Borders.

“I can’t speak for everybody else, but it hasn’t exactly been a fun year, it hasn’t. And some people just need a little something to brighten their day,” Mihelich said.

Bozeman also contracted with a local firm to dole out loans and grants to local businesses, which are under review.

The city used the 20% of funds for its own operations for a few different programs, including providing closed captioning for livestreamed meetings and bolstering the city’s cybersecurity.

Mihelich said the city hasn’t touched the reserve fund yet, but may need it in the future.

“We will experience some revenue loss within the city organization due to COVID … that may actually happen a little bit later over the next nine months to ten months, we don’t know for sure,” Mihelich said.

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Nora Shelly can be reached at nshelly@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2607.

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